"Making love"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Apr 11 00:15:49 UTC 2002

At 5:07 PM -0400 4/10/02, Mark A Mandel wrote:
>On Wed, 10 Apr 2002, Laurence Horn wrote:
>#One of my favorite cites in the current OED entry for "make love" is
>#the last one:
>#1971 Daily Tel. 15 Jan. 17/1 Couples who make love frequently are more likely
>#to have sons than those who do so less often.
>#--to which my first response is "Yes, and they're also more likely to
>#have daughters".
>Without checking the context, how can you be sure that they don't mean
>exactly what they seem to be saying? That is, that the male/female ratio
>in the children of couples who couple often ;-)\ is higher than with
>couples who copulate infrequently?
Actually, I know that's what they intended.  My point is that
strictly speaking my interpretation is (I assume) right--the more
often you make love, the more often you get pregnant, so the
likelihood of conceiving a child (son or daughter) as opposed to not
conceiving at all will increase.  As you say, if the point they
intended to make is right, the ratio of male to female
conceptions/births also rises with frequency of coupling.  The two
claims are perfectly consistent.  (If you don't couple at all, you're
certainly not infinitely more likely to conceive a daughter rather
than a son--indeed, on the one purported such conception, the
opposite result was obtained.)


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