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Facebook and the small bed phenomenon

November 8, 2011

Read the STD-free ending at nerve.com

It was with no less than six beers and no more than six sexually connected friends a Facebook group called the Six Degrees of Sexeration was created to show just how small—and in turn, large—our sexual circles are.

Facebook users, young and old alike, are posting pictures, comments and links that make it all-too-clear who’s knockin’ boots with who. Add the fact that whether one’s sexually active in a small town or a big city it doesn’t take long to realize everyone’s loins are covered with everyone else’s sex cooties. The Hungarian writer Karinthy seems to have been onto something with his six degrees of separation hypothesis, where every person in the world is connected to every other person by a six-person chain of acquaintance, yet at times it seems everyone is connected by a chain of sexual partners no greater than six.

Okay, that’s a stretch, every man, woman, trans and child would need an average of 43.74 sexual partners for it to be statistically possible for all 7 billion of us to be connected by no more than six. That’s the kind of number most women would never admit to and most men would gladly lie about attaining—yeah, you would think we’d have gotten over the bullshit gender dynamics by now, but we have to deal with a bunch of The Game reading idiots who feel emasculated by our supposed feminist society. As it stands, the average number of sexual partners for adults in the United States is around five and six.

The entry to this group would be limited to the Facebook friends we’ve slept with, but we felt the possibilities of growth were exponential. My friend was afraid her conservative Old World family might disown her with such a public display of promiscuity. My other friend said as a respectable chemist he wouldn’t want his name listed as a creator, so it was left to me, unemployed journalist turned commercial fisherman, to create the group with my account.

Sitting in front of the chemist’s wide-screen HDTV with a Bluetooth keyboard, a mouse and bottles of beer in hand we created the group. If we were to do this we had to go all the way, so we forced each other to invite every one of our friends we’ve slept with, regardless of the natural awkwardness it would cause. Hi, we haven’t spoken in years, but join this group to let the world know you’ve had sex with one us! We did not go as far as becoming Facebook friends with past lovers solely to invite them to the group.

Going through my list I quickly realized there were many more of my Facebook friends I’d like to have sex with than I’ve actually done the deed with. A few weeks prior I realized my newsfeed was cluttered with the inane on goings of people I didn’t really care to stay in touch with, so I deleted a few hundred friends, included a handful of would-be invitees. I deleted my ex-girlfriend out of spite a while back when I saw her status changed from “Single” to “In A Relationship”—sigh. In the end, I didn’t have all that many people to invite.

The two others followed suit, and we waited for our brainchild to grow and grow. More than a year later our group stands at the massive number of 11—so much for exponential growth. We thought the idea would spread like wildfire though our sex-positive San Francisco Bay Area circles and beyond with grand delusions of being the biggest Facebook group ever.  Technically, I believe, possible. The larger the group would grow the more anonymity one would have in joining, with their names being lost in the vast numbers of the group’s rolls. We’d find out interesting things like, holy shit, we’re sexually connected to Julian Assange, and it could be because of that condom-busting bastard I got VD! Kidding. We’d see clearly we have the sex cooties of people we find rather disgusting and appalling, like the creepy dude who always tries to bring home the drunkest lady at the bar after last call.

When it really exploded we’d get the chemist to mortgage his house to invest in Trojan, Durex and LifeStyles, KY, sex toy manufacturers and Maytag. We’d hedge our bets by starting Bible camps for adults to preach abstinence and chastity in the spirit of the great Saint Augustine who gave up the carnal pleasures of his youth for pious chastity. But that was 2010 where even respectable chemists with PhD’s are often underwater on their homes, so the moneymaking schemes would never work.

We quickly tried a little marketing to our invitees, asking them to join the group and then invite their other former lovers, saying it was a great sociological experiment. And imagine that didn’t really work so well. The only feedback I got was a text message from my mom asking me if my Facebook account got hacked by Russian spam bots. I said no. Taken aback my mom asked me why I would send her an invite to such a group. I then had to explain the difference between a newsfeed blurb that announced I created a new group and an actual invitation. A beautiful French girl who broke my heart years back posted as her status “Why are people so fucking retarded,” shortly after the invite. Eh, I never had a chance of getting back with her anyway—c’est dommage.

The Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender and Reproduction at the University of Indiana supplies sobering information that would make almost anyone prefer ignorance of their sexual web. Two surveys claim that one in three people will have contracted a Sexually Transmitted Infection other than HIV by the age of 24 and more than one in five Americans are infected with an STI. That doesn’t bode well when combined with another study that found condom usage amongst single adults is less than 50 percent of the time.

If we were to assume that our Facebook lovers are average, then they’ve slept with about five people, and one in those five had a STI. If as single adults they’re average in their condom use, then they only use them half the time. That makes it a ten percent likelihood they’ve had unprotected sex with someone who has an STI. And if 20 percent of the population has one, that means an STI is only contracted 50 percent of the time when there is unprotected sex with an infected partner. Wanna roll the dice?

Either way, condoms, lots of condoms, dental dams, lube and saran wrap. It’s a filthy world and it’s not solely the cause of capitalists and their paid-off regulators—although it mostly is. The safest thing to do would be to settle down with someone, both get tested and then enjoy the fruit of our bodies without fear of warts, rashes, burning urethras, immune killing viruses and future liver transplants.

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