This British sex calculator claims to tally your indirect sexual partners

LloydsPharmacy debuts online sex calculator.

Feb 29, 2020, 7:25 pm*

IRL

 

Carrie Nelson

Quick: List the number of sexual partners you’ve had in your lifetime. Now try to list the number of indirect sexual partners you’ve had—meaning all of the people your partners have slept with, and all the people their partners have slept with, and so on.

That second number is much harder to calculate than the first—unless you know all of your past partners very well, it’s probably impossible—but a British website is here to help you estimate that number as accurately as possible.

LloydsPharmacy recently launched Sex Degrees of Separation, an online sex calculator that estimates the number of indirect sex partners someone has had based on their number of lifetime male and female sexual partners.

The calculator’s methodology is based on the “six degrees of separation” principle. “Using this principle we take the number of partners you’ve had and what age they were when you last slept together,” the website explains. “We multiply this by the number of partners they are statistically likely to have had, and by the partners of those partners, and the partners of those partners, (and so on) for six stages, or ‘degrees,’ to estimate how many indirect partners you could have been exposed to sexually.”

The calculations are based on British sexual health data; the 2010 Health Survey for England concluded that British men have a mean of 9.3 lifetime sexual partners and British women have a mean of 4.7 lifetime sexual partners. Testing the calculator with those numbers produces alarmingly high results—close to two million indirect sexual partners for women who have sex with men, and more than three million indirect sexual partners for men who have sex with women.

But before the high numbers calculated by LloydsPharmacy compel you to take a vow of celibacy, keep in mind that the estimates provided are likely inaccurate. “Number of partners in a population doesn’t follow a normal distribution,” sex educator Emily Nagoski told Vocativ. “It follows a roughly scale-free distribution, with most people having just a few partners, and a tiny number of people having hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of partners.”

LloydsPharmacy acknowledges the calculator’s limitations, specifically stating that the calculator is “not a diagnostic tool.” The purpose, it seems, is less to congratulate or shame individuals with their specific numbers but instead to raise awareness about one’s potential risk level for STI exposure. To that end, LloydsPharmacy also provides sexual health resources and free STI risk assessments online.

LloydsPharmacy did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment at press time.

H/T Mic | Photo via Chris Metcalf/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 18, 2015, 8:31 pm