2009 December 05 Saturday
Smart People Start Having Sex Later

Smart people put more thought into the consequences of their reproductive actions. This is a tragedy for the West. Jason Malloy reports the details.

Depending on the specific age and gender, an adolescent with an IQ of 100 was 1.5 to 5 times more likely to have had intercourse than a teen with a score of 120 or 130. Each additional point of IQ increased the odds of virginity by 2.7% for males and 1.7% for females. But higher IQ had a similar relationship across the entire range of romantic/sexual interactions, decreasing the odds that teens had ever kissed or even held hands with a member of the opposite sex at each age.

While these authors leave off at grade 12th, it would seem plausible to expect that this relationship extends beyond high school. To explore this, plenty of interesting facts come from a 2001 campus sex survey by the joint MIT/Wellesley college magazine Counterpoint (PDF). Looking within and between colleges, IQ appears to delay sexual activity on into young adulthood.

By the age of 19, 80% of US males and 75% of women have lost their virginity, and 87% of college students have had sex. But this number appears to be much lower at elite (i.e. more intelligent) colleges. According to the article, only 56% of Princeton undergraduates have had intercourse. At Harvard 59% of the undergraduates are non-virgins, and at MIT, only a slight majority, 51%, have had intercourse. Further, only 65% of MIT graduate students have had sex.

The student surveys at MIT and Wellesley also compared virginity by academic major.

Studio art majors are easy.

The chart for Wellesley displayed below shows that 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 72% of biology majors were virgins, and 83% of biochem and math majors were virgins! Similarly, at MIT 20% of 'humanities' majors were virgins, but 73% of biology majors. (Apparently those most likely to read Darwin are also the least Darwinian!)

This is the biggest tragedy of the modern age. The people most capable of raising kids and most likely to produce offspring who can generate wealth are the least likely to make babies. Many lines of evidence point toward dysgenic breeding practices.

Ron Guhname recently pointed out another line of evidence for dysgenic breeding. Women with bigger vocabularies have fewer babies.

The first year of the General Social Survey was 1972. I looked at white women ages 50 and over for all surveys conducted in the 70s. The mean number of kids for dull women (Wordsum 0-4) was 3.02. It was 2.22 for smart women (Wordsum 8-10). That's a ratio of 1.36. Looking at this decade, I calculated means for white women ages 45-59. For the unintelligent group, the mean number of kids is 2.38, and it's 1.76 for the bright group. That's a ratio of 1.35.

There is no difference between the two periods. The higher fertility of dull women seen prior to 1970 continues to the same degree today.

I've gradually lost interest in what passes for the mainstream inside-the-beltway policy debate in Washington DC because it rarely constructively addresses the biggest problems facing the Western nations. The relevant evidence has been rendered taboo by the anti-knowledge forces of political correctness. Meanwhile, the West declines. What will some future Edward Gibbon write about our era?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 December 05 04:35 PM  Civilizations Decay

Joe Blow said at December 5, 2009 5:25 PM:

I have never been able to get GNXP to load.. That link doesn't work for me.

Anyways, we're being diluted. You can't mix the science from high IQ individuals with the habits of the dumb. It just allows the dumb to breed. Africa would probably will have a high birthrate without western medicine. But they'd all die.

Luthor Rex said at December 5, 2009 7:44 PM:

Ever since I joined MENSA I've been trying to understand as much about the "gifted" as I can. This point about breeding is something that I'm still not really sure about. If you read the research smarter people generally come with a host of other very desirable traits that would make them high up in the dating market. (Conscientious, better health, taller, better reaction time, etc.) However, my real life observation of the "gifted" is that our mating opportunities are rather limited.

I suspect that part of it is because people with MENSA level or better brains are wired so differently from others that normal people don't / can't understand the internal motivations of the "gifted". Also their is the issue of the IQ gap: mental retardation starts at 70 and goes down, normal is around 100 and gifted is 130+. If you look at those numbers you'll see that gifted people are as far away from normal people as normal people are away from the mentally retarded. My subjective experience of the world backs this up: normal people seem mentally retarded to me. Perhaps the "gifted" are not the top of the mating food chain because we are just too different and normal people can't relate to us? Or maybe it's a combination of the gifted not wanting the normals and the normals not wanting the gifted as mates because both groups are just too different? I'm not really sure.

For my persona life I can agree with what you said about "Smart people put more thought into the consequences of their reproductive actions." I have not met a woman who was both single and who I thought had enough good traits to make a good mate and good mother. Because the normals come off as retarded to me, I just can't see one of them making a good mate. Of course the normals would say I'm just "too intellectual" or "too picky" and I just need to cut loose and have fun. Fucking plebs.

Bubba said at December 6, 2009 12:12 AM:

Having sex does not always result in making babies. Does Tiger Woods's sex drive exist as a way to spread his DNA? Well it may be spreading his DNA, but not in the way nature intended. So far none of the seven women who claim to have had affairs with him have had any children by him.

Additionally I'd wager that one reason MIT students may be more likely to still be virgins is that MIT is disproportionately male. The college dormitory is where many of those 18 year-olds are losing their virginity, and at MIT the chances of meeting a woman in the dorm is less likely.

Students at the Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University are probably more likely to be virgins - but they also go on to have more children, on average, than most American women.

Mthson said at December 6, 2009 2:04 AM:

Luthor Rex, I think it's possible to break the code of human sociality and use it to your advantage for networking or whatever your goal in that situation is. Most humans are very soft and not calculating, so do what you can to make them associate good feelings with you... then everybody wins.

coldequation said at December 6, 2009 6:15 AM:

If 35% of MIT grad students haven't had sex, it's because nobody wants to have sex with them, not because of their IQ-related foresight. There really aren't many consequences to having sex if you're careful.

Dave Gore said at December 6, 2009 8:27 AM:

Another way to spread "smart" genes is for high-IQ men to marry normal women who are willing to bear and raise lots of children. Of course, it would be better for such men to marry women who are both smart and fecund, but high-IQ women are usually unwilling to devote much of their lives to children.

JerkDogg said at December 6, 2009 8:52 AM:

Woods' sex drive (and the drive of the women who pursue him) are straight up evolutionary psychology. He's a high status man (though if he wasn't famous he'd be considered a dorky Erkel) and all men crave a variety of women (sometimes serially, sometimes in parallel); high-status men are able to execute on it. Women love high status men but are more "serial" in their universal polyandrous desires for obvious evolutionary reasons (i.e. they get stuck with the kids). Few people will admit to such desires and how powerful they are but not having them is as rare as being gay. People who criticize celebrity infidelity are hypocrites. Women just haven't procreated with Tiger yet because they want not just his DNA but also for him to "commit" somehow.

At BYU a large portion of the student body already is married with children. It's not uncommon to see baby strollers everywhere on campus. Women don't want to have sex with the MIT guys because most of them are nerds and are incapable of generating "chemistry" with a woman. Many are ugly and those that are passable looks-wise have anxious personalities that women's emotional brains will perceive as needy, weak, and pathetic. Nerds slouch and don't display confidence while still being social. Women (pretty much ALL women) would much rather go for the wild jet-fighter wannabe types in ROTC at state U that have a personality and are still sort-of smart.

Luthor Rex said at December 6, 2009 10:57 AM:

"Luthor Rex, I think it's possible to break the code of human sociality and use it to your advantage for networking or whatever your goal in that situation is. Most humans are very soft and not calculating, so do what you can to make them associate good feelings with you... then everybody wins."

Yes most humans are soft, and overall I do agree with your strategy. However, in the case of mating it's not that simple: a woman with a 'normal' mind cannot satisfy me. I know, I've tried. They just can't give me what I need. I need the kind of intensity that is common among the gifted coming back at me in the woman I'm with, among other things. Now, I could use the "good feelings" strategy to be a player and tap a lot of ass -- I've seen this in action so I know you're right that it would work.

"Women don't want to have sex with the MIT guys because most of them are nerds and are incapable of generating "chemistry" with a woman."

Yes, women are attracted to displays of masculinity and nerds don't display this trait so women are not attracted to them. I can't speak for every man with a 130+ IQ, but I can say this about myself: I didn't embrace my masculinity until later in life. I did this because the examples of masculinity I saw around me both looked and felt fake. It wasn't until I was older and met men who were both high IQ and very masculine that I saw role models of masculinity that I could both respect and want to emulate.

I think that all high IQ men who do not display their masculinity would benefit from older mentors who could earn their respect and show them that "being a man" doesn't mean painting your face and screaming 'woo hoo' at a football game. Typically, mainstream masculinity embraces a lot of obvious bullshit and fake-ness. Geoffry Miller's new book "Spent" doesn't deal directly with masculinity but it does have a lot of good information about how both men and women use fitness faking displays in our social lives. I think that higher IQ men see this fitness faking and reject masculinity because the mainstream version of masculinity involves a lot of obvious fitness faking bullshit.

I know that part of my own mating issues stems from women's inability to see through such obvious bullshit. How can I respect those so easily fooled? It's obvious to me that most "manly men" are actually just great big fakes. The Matrix has them.

JerkDogg said at December 6, 2009 1:34 PM:


I was both high IQ and a manly man growing up. It can be done. When I was in college when I was pledge master I taught the nerds how to "scam" i.e. pick up chicks. There were a lot of shy guys that had a lot of problems and I helped them out a lot even though they seemed to resent it a bit at the time. I created a lot of games and hazing rituals centered around identifying young men with assertiveness problems and correcting them. So I have a great deal of insight into the nerd syndrome that creates self-reinforcing psychological habits that cause involuntary male celibacy. If I didn't do this I think otherwise they would have been shit on all their lives by women... if they interacted with them at all.

Luthor Rex said at December 6, 2009 8:11 PM:

"I was both high IQ and a manly man growing up. It can be done."

Oh I know it CAN be done, but a lot of high IQ guys don't do it for various reason. It seems to me that this is obviously one of the big stumbling blocks they have. That and they don't read Roissy.

Luthor Rex said at December 6, 2009 8:26 PM:

Wish I hadn't hit "post" so quickly.

There is another problem I see that is generally not addressed when smart guys don't have girlfriends. Most 'normal' women simply cannot satisfy the deeper craving of an emotional or intellectual connection with a smart guy. Sure dumping my load into a pretty young girl might be nice or whatever, but the satisfaction is shallow at best (if there really is any satisfaction) when what you really need is a pretty girl who also has a 'soul'.

To be frank: I can't relate to the men who are satisfied with only the body. Basically it's a form of masturbation while using another person's body. Yes I realize that most men are happy with it, but I suspect I'm not the only smart guy who says to himself "if only they had souls too!".

So while I have made a project of making myself better with age and embracing my masculinity in a Pook-like fashion, I find that while I improve I am leaving those around me behind. I took that old black man's advice and now I judge women by the content of their character rather than the hotness of their ass.

It's easy to say "sour grapes" when a smart guy doesn't have a woman, but we miss a lot of what is actually going on by assuming that the women available are actually relationship-worthy.

Ray Sawhill said at December 6, 2009 10:04 PM:

Nerds should start hanging out with the arty girls. Problem solved.

Mthson said at December 6, 2009 10:14 PM:

"...assuming that the women available are actually relationship-worthy."

It's not for everyone, but I advocate getting your satisfaction primarily from your career, and secondarily from human relationships. That being said, there are a lot of smart, highly successful women out there who are an inspiration to a lot of people. The ladder goes all the way up to women who are e.g. Silicon Valley CEOs and Wallstreet hotshots. There are plenty of women who are fans of books like Outliers and Atlas Shrugged. That's hot.

Some readers who are young might consider dating above their age... I find women with more professional experience than myself to be more interesting and better connected.

Commenter MaryJ's defenses of a marriage based on intimacy and loyalty won me over, though, so I think if we're trying to instead base relationships on intellectual debating, we probably have the wrong approach.

Wolf-Dog said at December 6, 2009 10:55 PM:

Probably high IQ people have more sexual energy than others, because dopamine levels are often higher when the IQ is higher. Thus the only reason the high IQ MIT students have less sex WHILE they are students must be because their upbringing is such that they believe with absolute certainty that unless they have established their careers as engineers, doctors, scientists, businessmen, etc, they have no right to have a woman. Also there is very high academic pressure in many of the elite science schools, and such students do not have the easy schedule of the art students. Otherwise it is not true that MIT students are physically unattractive fat nerds with pimples, on the contrary, many of them are very athletic, due to the fact that in order to do well academically with such high pressure levels, the body must be very healthy and the metabolic level must be very high. The brain is a VERY greedy consumer of glucose and oxygen, and given the curriculum of MIT (or similar top science schools), you need to have very superior health just to do the difficult homework problems. It is certainly possible that in less competitive schools, the nerds are physically less fit, but at the top schools like MIT, the students are very fit. It is a myth that geniuses are physically unfit.

mike said at December 6, 2009 11:34 PM:

"There are plenty of women who are fans of books like Outliers and Atlas Shrugged."

My God. To equate those books, which couldn't be more opposite... apparently it's true the DoD has created an interface that allows jellyfish to communicate over the Internet.

Mthson said at December 7, 2009 12:32 AM:

Mike, these are books that many read to cultivate their ambitions and increase their level of ability.

Marky Mark said at December 7, 2009 2:22 PM:

It seems to me that the nerds at MIT and jocks at state school almost certainly differ more than just in their socialisation. Their genetic make-ups maketh the man which is why the stereotypes have been stable over time. Just as many jocks don't wander around campus daydreaming in abstract thought many MIT guys due to their make-up aren't obsessed with banging every chick they see (not that they don't want girlfriends). Asking either to change via books or instruction is perhaps too much.

In some ways the girls are a more interesting. For a girl not to have had sex in most instances she will have had to made a conscious decision to continually turn down male advances over the years. In today's culture that is quite a girl. Why is she like this? Religious? Asian culture? Do super smart women have a better understanding of male psychology (madonna/whore)? Is she asexual? Does virginity in a woman still have 'mate value'? (i suspect it has more than people are willing to let on).

turkeymanspeaks said at December 7, 2009 5:16 PM:

Mthson has it right: "so I think if we're trying to instead base relationships on intellectual debating, we probably have the wrong approach". I find it doesn't work so well romantically speaking trying to connect with a woman intellectually (not to state the obvious). That's a sort of bummer for a cerebral/intellectual type. I accepted long ago that I the odds of finding a woman that could match me in intellectual curiosity and ability are slim to none.

OTOH, there are other ways to connect with women. There is a sweetness to emotional intimacy with a woman that I find difficult to imagine when single.

Teacher said at December 7, 2009 8:02 PM:

The difference in rates of sexual experience between average man and intelligent men rests upon the notions of brawn vs brains. Intelligent men are meek with women compared to average men; this even when the intelligent man is a dynamo in other areas of life. I have lived it, seen it and now observe it while working this year as a teacher. The more intellectually advanced students are significantly behind in their physical development compared to average students. In fact, I have found the difference to be shocking.

Luthor Rex said at December 7, 2009 9:39 PM:

Here is a pretty good essay about why nerds are unpopular: http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html

suicidesquid said at December 26, 2009 4:22 AM:

I am a high-IQ male who got involved with an artsy girl at the tender age of 17, I have since been involved with several more, and never have I looked back. Artists of all disciplines have a more refined aesthetic sense, so I think they are better able to present themselves in an attractive way, whether or not they have strictly physically attractive traits. They are also more intellectually stimulating in conversation, whether or not they have an astronomical IQ.

Nerd men need to devote some of their time to learning about indie music, social justice causes, decoupage, feminism, and fashion. If they do, they will expand their interests, and meet and bond with more women through the magic of common interest.

At 25, I am married to a beautiful, dynamic, well-read, smart, talented, university educated animator. She enriches my life every day to the point that we're considering SAVING THE WESTERN WORLD by making babies.

no i don't said at December 29, 2009 1:31 PM:

Smart People Start Having Sex Later??? ha, ha, ha,

Well i must be really stupid because i'm going to have sex in NO LATER than 15 minutes...

She's A Rebel* said at January 16, 2010 7:08 PM:

I highly doubt this is the case.

Seeing as these results gathered are from a study NOT representative of any other nation other than America!

I believe had this study been conducted on a larger geographical scale, the results would have varied quite drastically.

I myself had my IQ tested at the age of 7 initially, which came back as 133, and I have since had another test, which was a GENUINE Mensa IQ test, and my IQ this time was 146, which, if you care to look it up, is considered genius or almost genius. I'm now 19, and I am also now attending the University of Glasgow, which is one of the top 100 universities in the world. My degree? A batchelor's degree in Anatomy and I am in the Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences. So in American terms, I guess this would be the equivalent of a Biology Major.
Oh, and did I happen to mention that I lost my virginity at 15?

So in the 4 years since losing my virginity, I have managed to pass my exams, with very good passes, and gain entrance into University. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I know plenty of people who are in the same boat.

I resent that people have nothing better to do than come up with radical statements like these, when the proper experimental conditions and factors needed to obtain an accurate finding, are not taken into account.

Re-conduct this experiment on a global scale and see whether you get the same results.

Bob Badour said at January 16, 2010 8:04 PM:

Your doubt does little to challenge the validity of the study.

Congratulations on your IQ test. As far as I know, my IQ has never been measured; although, I do vaguely recall some special test in kindergarten. I have always wondered what would drive a smart person to want one. Do you really get together with people to compare who has the biggest swinging IQ?

I do not follow psychometry as much as Randall does. I have never heard anyone suggest before, however, that mensa has any sort of lock on quality as far as measuring g.

I see Glasgow ranks 79th but I would not call that "elite". The schools in the study referenced by Randall rank #1, #8 and #9 in the world.

The school I attended ranks 29th. Even ranking 50 schools ahead of Glasgow, I was in many ways disappointed by my undergraduate studies, and I sincerely hope you find the quality of your education exceeds your expectations.

Disappointment notwithstanding, I found my school very cosmopolitan. White Canadians were very much a minority in my classes. The folks I have met from truly elite schools suggest to me these schools are even more cosmopolitan. They make a point of seeking the best students without regard to where they come from. Since they already have an international sampling of students, I fail to see what one would gain by increasing geographical area.

Since you are young yet, get back to us when you have enough statistics under your belt to understand the statistical significance of your virginity loss anecdote and just exactly how much your being in the half or so who have had sex refutes the study. If you were a chaste liberal arts graduate, your anecdote might contribute a little more.

If you can find a copy, I highly recommend Gilovich's How We Know What Isn't So.

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