Show me the DATA!

I realize it’s been a few weeks, but I’m FINALLY getting a look at all the responses that poured in in response to this post. I’m a good little scientist, and we all have to look carefully at our data. Not all the comments were on here, a bunch of them were over on BoingBoing and Stumpleupon, but I gathered together all that I could in the interests of a high n, the opportunity to look at more variables, and a higher probability of significance.
So the big answer to the question is HERE: DOES masturbation work to clear out your nasal congestion?! Does nasal congestion significantly impede your quality of life? Inquiring minds MUST KNOW!

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure how to DEAL with this data. It’s all just a matter of “yes” or “no”, so I don’t have any real variability with which to play. Can someone out there who is well versed in data manipulation help out a poor grad student with very little stats education? I guess all I can come up with is percentages, but can’t I play with statistical significance?
But what I can do is let you know what I got, and graph it up for you all pretty. I weeded out the people making snarky comments (that would be most, and many were pretty awesome), and got a total n of 37 people who actually “tested” whether or not masturbation (or sex, I counted both) cleared out their noses. Obviously this is not a controlled environment, so take the results with your usual dose of hearty skepticism.
Final results: 27 out of 37 (72.9% of respondents) said that getting off cleared their noses. Subjects generally noted that the results were short term, from a few minutes to a half an hour at most. One subject complained of sneezing, and one related an amusing anecdote about how he pantomimed to his girlfriend that he needed sex to clear up his nose, and then breathed energetically during orgams to let her know it worked. I can only wonder how she took that.
9 out of 37 (24.3% of respondents) reported that getting off had no effect on their nasal congestion whatsoever and claimed the whole thing was hooey.
Breaking it down by sex (in those cases where I could clearly tell whether the commenter was male or female): total known males were 12, and 9 out of 12 (75%) claimed it worked, the other 25% claimed it didn’t. You probably notice that the results here appear to be similar to the general population above.
For women, only 6 respondents labelled themselves as clearly female, and all six claimed it worked for them. Granted, I was not asking for breakdowns by sex, so most females responded with phrases like “it works for women, too”. So I wouldn’t take the data for females are being representative. Future studies definitely needed here.
And that’s what I got! 75% of the time, it works 100% of the time! 75% of the population is a pretty good result, and even though it’s a tiny sampling, it never hurts to try! And though this data may be paltry, it’s sure better than the data the original author provided: none at all.
Under future studies, I would like to look at effects in women, and whether clitoral vs vaginal orgasm changes whether or not they get nasal relief. I would also like to check how much nasal congestion people suffer before, its cause (whether from sinusitis, colds, allergies, etc), and pre- and post- scores of how much relief they actually get. Not to mention the question of whether or not nasal congestion seriously impedes the quality of life for many people (well, ok, it impedes mine. I love my allergy meds.) Also, further down the line, it would be interesting to see whether masturbation or sexual intercourse is more effective at relieving nasal congestion.
So, how ’bout it?! I bet this could totally be my next grant…

5 Responses

  1. I missread: “I bet this could totally be my next grunt…”

  2. Got any reliable means of congesting the nose? I mean, purely in the interests of science.

  3. You’re doing qualitative data analysis involving categories, so a Chi Square analysis would be appropriate.
    To do the analysis, there are two basic things to consider: observed frequency (Of;the n observed for each category); and the expected frequency (Ef;the n expected for each category).
    Is there a theoretically expected n for each category? If not, let’s say it’s 50% chance for illustrative purposes.
    To assess whether the yes/no observations are statistical significant, the contingency table may look like this:
    ef(Y):18.5 (1/2 of total n)
    Of(N): 9
    ef(N): 18.5
    To assess statistical significance for gender:
    Of(M): 9
    Ef(M): 6 (1/2 of total male n)
    Of(F): 6
    Ef(F): 3 (1/2 of total female n)
    The example of a contingency table provided in the link gives you a good idea of how to test the statistical significance of the yes/no and m/f variables simultaneously (i.e., if there is a gender difference in the number of yes and no responses provided).

  4. Tony, you are my stats man. I’ll get cracking and see what I can do. I don’t suppose Excel can run a Chi Square? Otherwise I somehow have to figure out how to do one in GraphPad Prizm…

  5. See if one of these Chi-Square calculators will work.

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