Sex By Numbers

What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour

David Spiegelhalter

Whatever society we live in, and however open-minded we like to think we are, when it comes to our sex lives we all like to keep a few secrets. But this makes the jobs of sexologists — professionals who study sexual behaviour — pretty difficult.
Luckily, David Spiegelhalter, Professor of Risk at Cambridge University, is here to unravel the web of exaggerations, misdirections and downright lies that surround sex in modern society. Drawing on the Natsal survey, the widest survey of sexual behaviour since the Kinsey Report, he answers crucial questions such as what are we all doing? How often? And how has it changed?

Accompanying a major Wellcome exhibition on the same subject, Sex by Numbers is an informed and entertaining look at the most enduring of human obsessions, from one-night stands to the seven-year itch.

First published by Profile Books (UK) in 2015.


“Teems with eyebrow-raising numbers, which have been verified by the strongest statistical tools in academia’s arsenal”.
BBC Focus

“Rewarding … David Spiegelhalter manages to make the figures side of sex stats seem as interesting as the sexual, which is quite a feat … This is a clever, hugely readable book, sometimes titillating and occasionally astounding”.
Sunday Times

“Yes. Yes. Yessssss. Finally: a book on statistics that the public will buy and want to read … Full of gems … Spiegelhalter has worked hard at this book. It would have been easy to have pulled out halfway through and done a quick and dirty job, but he is tenacious and goes at it for longer and harder than the average statistician … A caring and careful book. In fact, I’d be tempted to recommend it to teenagers wanting to ask those embarrassing questions”.
Times Higher Education

“Eye-opening … wryly enjoyable … A book about statistics, even sexual statistics, may sound pretty dull. Spiegelhalter has managed to make his both lively and informative”.
The Sunday Business Post

“Fascinating stuff”.

“Eye-popping stuff … Spiegelhalter’s writing is erudite but witty, honest and personal. And the wonderful footnotes alone are worth the cover price”.
Financial Times

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