The Right Coast

January 14, 2005
And you thought graph theory was boring
By Tom Smith

According to Wikipedia:

. . . a suprising result, mathematical models predict that the sexual network graph for the entire human race appears to have a single giant component that indirectly links almost all people who have had more than one sexual partner, and a great many of those who have had only one sexual partner (if their one sexual partner was themselves part of the giant component). Most people who are not part of the giant component are either virgins, or couples who have never had sex with anyone except each other.

In other words, if you have had sex with more than one person, in a series of steps (you had sex with X, who had sex with Y, who had sex with Z) you could link yourself to anyone else in the world who has had sex with more than one person. And, because of the small world phenomenon, it would take many fewer steps than you might think. More like, oh, 20 steps than 200, and maybe a lot fewer. (I believe the 'six degrees' you always hear about is somewhat exagerated.) Before you get too excited, this works because of sexual hubs and hubettes, who have sex with many, many people, very much like how you get to Pittsburg via Chicago.