Newswise — BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- What do people really want for Valentine’s Day? Might they secretly desire something intimate for their Valentine’s experience?
The Indiana University scientists who gave us Kinsey Reporter, the mobile app for collecting, reporting and viewing anonymous data on sexual behavior, are turning Valentine’s Day into a laboratory via a timely new holiday survey, and they are looking for answers to those and other questions.
The new survey, available after downloading the free app from the Apple iOS Store or Google Play (for Android), includes basic and broad questions like “What does one's heart most desire for Valentine's Day?” and “What happened on Valentine's Day?” It also gives visitors the opportunity to provide more details about sexual activities, from the desired to the experienced during the holiday.
“Ideally, we’d like to compare this new data between Valentine's Day and the other reports we get throughout the year,” said Stephanie Sanders, interim director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. Researchers with The Kinsey Institute and the IU Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing worked together to develop the app.
Kinsey Reporter allows citizen observers around the world to report on sexual behavior and experiences, and then share, explore and visualize what people report. Data submitted by anonymous citizen scientists is also used for research and shared with the public at the Kinsey Reporter website.
For Valentine’s Day and beyond, scientists would like smartphone users everywhere to contribute observed information on sexual activity, public displays of affection, flirting, even unwanted experiences. These aggregated data can be presented by geographic region via interactive maps, timelines and charts.
“We are getting thousands of reports from around the world -- from at least 45 countries so far -- but the great majority have been from the U.S.,” said Filippo Menczer, director of IU's Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, or CNetS, and a School of Informatics and Computing professor who helped design the app. “And as we’d hoped, we are beginning to observe some interesting patterns in the data.”
The researchers have been able to generate visualizations from accrued data for how sexual activities differ based on relationship status, and more fine-grained analyses are also possible -- the relationship between flirting location and outcome, for example. Some of those “infographics” are available at the Kinsey Reporter Facebook page.
“The reports received by the Kinsey Reporter app until today illustrate how the data can be explored, both by scientists and by users of the app,” Menczer said. “You can observe the relationships among variables, suggesting different clustering of activities, feelings and contexts of reports, and the possible connections among them. People can perform their own analytics of the public data and create their own charts and maps at KinseyReporter.org.”
And as more reports come in, patterns may change and additional analyses -- like by gender or age -- will become possible.