iPhone sex claims hide digital revelations


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You may have recently read that, according to some sources, iPhone users have sex more often. Well, that’s not exactly the whole story. The stats behind the reports, however, are quite intriguing, and are part of a study that should pique the interest of even the most intelligent geeks out there.

The study was conducted by dating site OK Cupid which recognized the value of its enormous dataset collected regarding its users, and regularly produced interesting figures. In this instance, the company looked at the technical stats that accompany digital photographs used on profile pictures.

The data that’s attracted so much attention is titled “sexual activity by smartphone brand”, but is actually a measure of the number of sexual partners people have had, compared with the type of phone they used to take their profile pic.

Of the three brands covered, the average 30 year old female iPhone user has had twice the number of sexual partners as their Android counterparts (so to speak), with BlackBerry users somewhere in the middle. The striking part of the results is that, taking account of both genders, the iPhone/BlackBerry/Android order remained totally consistent for every age measured (18 through 40).

There’s plenty of debate about why this should be, though there’s little discussion about another notable element of the stats: for the 30-year-olds, all three brands have women listing more previous sexual partners than men. That certainly contradicts most previous reports I’ve seen. Could the discrepancy have more to do with dating sites in general rather than the public as a whole?

Now for the true geeky stuff. The smartphone sex stats are simply a trivia note in a wider study looking at how camera technology affects perceived attractiveness. While it could have been obvious to guess, the study gives a clear message: if you want to look hot, use a camera with interchangeable lenses and steer clear of cameraphones. In particular, an identical twin snapped with a Panasonic Micro 4 is going to get more dates than one using a Motorola phone.

Giving the flash a miss might also help. The average person pictured using a flash is judged as attractive as somebody seven years older who didn’t use a flash. (In the shallow world of online dating, older is worse.)

If you have the technology, a low f/stop also helps. That’s the setting that controls the depth of field, which effectively means the contrast between how clear the subject of the picture appears, and how clear the background is. It seems a narrow depth of field makes the picture appear more intimate.

The time of day a picture is taken doesn’t seem to be a major issue, though late afternoon and the early hours (around 2-3am) get the best responses. Once the figures were adjusted for local time zones and daylight settings, it turns out the peaks of attractiveness come shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset, which is also a time many photographers intentionally use when wanting softer and warmer lighting.





3 Responses to iPhone sex claims hide digital revelations

  1. While I read the article, I do have to say something regarding scientific accuracy. While exif data is present and easily recoverable to construct the tables and get the information to make graphs, don't think it qualifies as science. There is too much discrepancy in what people say vs what the actuality of their lives is. For more on that see the previous okcupid blog post on the subject of lies people tell on dating sites. It's fun data to look at and interesting to read, but really needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

    or maybe I am just bitter because I refuse to get on AT&T for an iphone. :P