SOURCE: The Stranger
As founders of the Seattle-based data science and machine-learning consulting firm Nolis LLC, we analyze information for corporate clients all the time. But we’ve never had a project like this.
When we got a chance to analyze The Stranger‘s sex survey data, we were ecstatic. What treasures would we find by using cutting-edge machine-learning techniques on stuff people don’t usually talk about? What happens when you merge AI and sexual variability? What kinds of trends emerge?
We live in divisive times, and another thing that clearly divides people is what turns them on. We set out to narrow down people’s kinky interests into four basic groups—and to do so, we employed a powerful data-science approach called clustering. A method of unsupervised machine learning, clustering uses an algorithm to reveal new information from the data rather than relying on a human analyst’s opinion or agenda. We plotted people in a 32-dimensional space where every dimension represented a different kink, from spanking to blindfolds to bondage to fisting. The k-means clustering algorithm then combed the data and separated people into distinct groups based on how close they were by distance within the 32-dimensional graph.
With clustering, it’s essential for an expert to then interpret the groups. The nature of four main groups found by k-means appeared obvious to us, so we named them.
The largest of the groups we’re calling the Squares, because folks in this group prefer vanilla sex—nothing more intense than a playful tush pat (and there’s only a 24 percent chance they enjoy that). The Squares constitute slightly more than a third of all respondents (36.3 percent).
The second-largest group we named the Spankers (24.9 percent of respondents), mostly because we wanted to keep up the alliteration (but “the BDSM crowd” works, too). Spankers have a more than 50 percent chance of being interested in spanking, bondage (being tied up or doing the tying), Domination/submission, and blindfolds.
The third-largest group we call the Show-Offs (20.2 percent of respondents). They enjoy voyeurism, exhibitionism, and group sex. It’s worth emphasizing that the Spankers (BDSM, etc.) and the Show-Offs (voyeurism, etc.) are distinct groups—meaning few people whipping it out in public also want to whip someone (or be whipped) in the bedroom. Show-Offs are also more into double penetration than Spankers, which makes sense, what with all the group sex Show-Offs are having.
The fourth and dirtiest group of respondents (18.5 percent) we’re calling the Kitchen Sinks, because they’re into everything. They want the works. Not only are they heavily into BDSM, voyeurism, Dom/sub, double penetration, and blindfolds, but they also have a more than 50 percent chance of being into pain and rape/intruder role-play, and a nearly 50 percent chance of being into asphyxiation and fisting.