Premarital sex and relationships

The Economist magazine recently published a summary of a study examining whether postponing sex until marriage improved such relationship qualities as: satisfaction with the relationship, perceived stability, communication and quality of sex, each on a scale of 1 to 5. Here is a plot of the results, ordered by the overall effect (assuming an equal number of men and women).

economist graphic

Insights (based solely on Economist article)

Original table

economist table


The data were copied from the published table into an R script which did the following:

  1. Generate a simple "data matrix" of values by factor, gender and timing.
  2. Compute the overall effect (assuming equal numbers of gender).
  3. Produce a "dotplot trellis graphic" ordered by the magnitude of the effect.
  4. The appropriate datagraphic for these data would be a box-and-whisker plot, but this is probably too sophisticated even for the Economist's educated readership.