the real law of averages: the best sex offends people

This is a nerd polemic against “normal.” People want to know that they are normal – and they want to know how to have the best sex. You absolutely can not have both. You have to pick: normal (i.e., average, typical, ordinary) OR the best (i.e., exceptional, extraordinary, rare… abnormal).

Non-sex example to illustrate: a coupla weeks ago, The Guardian Science Podcast disclosed the World’s Funniest Joke. Ready? Here it is:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do!”

The operator says, “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

There’s a silence and then a shot is heard.

Back on the phone, the guy says, “Okay, now what?”


Not that funny, right? And yet when hundreds of people were asked to rate loads of jokes on a scale of 1 to 5, this is the joke that had the highest average “funny” rating. What the hell?

Welcome to the wonderful world of statistical averages. What you find when you look for the highest average of anything is… well… average.

(Understand statistics in 12 minutes.)

It happens with jokes. It happens with politicians. It happens with beauty. It happens with spaghetti sauce, coffee, and diet cola, as Malcolm Gladwell explains.

It happens, yes, in sex. “Average” sex is hideously dull, it’s sex that no one really wants… but no one’s particularly bothered by. “Meh” sex.

Average (that is to say, “statistically normal”) anything is likely to be bland, compromised, and, ya know, largely unobjectionable. Some people will LOVE it. Some people will HATE it. Most people… won’t mind.

Your favorite joke? There’s likely someone in the world who would find it offensive. There’s probably someone else who would just totally not get it.

(My favorite joke: “What’s red and invisible? No tomatoes.” I’m giggling wildly as I type this.)

Similarly, the best sex – the best sex for you, I mean – is probably sex that other people would object to. Sex that horrifies some people. Sex that other people just won’t understand. Sex that singes the panties off others, others like you.

I know people are worried about doing it “right,” but there are no judges, no score cards, and no medals to be won. No one will deduct points if you fumble the dismount, like in Harry’s dream.

Please world, think carefully before you ask me about “normal” and “best.” Normal is boring and best is whatever sex you engage in with confidence and joy.

No one ever asks me how to have mediocre sex. I know that’s not what you want. Go ahead and have sex that would offend others. Put your tongue in dark, mysterious places. Fuck the bell curve.