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  • Writer's pictureJose Arrieta

An Awkward Truth

Read at your own peril.

For years, I have had a mental earworm, a thought that comes and goes. This earworm has now grown into an extraordinarily strange insect. An insect, I wish I could remove from my mental roster.


Normality is a concept that keeps me up at night and fuels my curiosity. I have read hundreds of books trying to broaden my views on normality. So when Hank Green shared that "the average person has an above number of legs", this thought stuck in my brain. Barely a day passed during the past three years without me thinking of the atrocities landmines have dealt in the lives of countless humans around the world. Indeed, the median person has two legs, which is higher than the average number of legs.


My daughter was born last year. In this fever dream of a year, my hands have changed over a thousand diapers. Indeed, an average baby will use a "total of 8,000 over the course of a baby's diaper-wearing career," three thousand of which are used in the first year alone. This is an impressive fact. A fact that my otherwise environment-friendly brain has spent a good handful of minutes feeling guilty about during the past year.


If you have a healthy brain, you might. have read the past two sections and continued through your day. Alas, I combined them, not in a one-to-one mixture but. a very strange one. To explain this, I need to go over some statistical terms first.

In statistics, we use multiple measures to evaluate the central tendencies of data. The average is calculated by adding all the values and dividing by the number of values. When arranged in ascending order, the median is the middle value in a data set with an even number of values. The median is the average of the two middle numbers. The mode refers to a data set's most frequently occurring value(s). Each measure provides a different perspective on the central point of data distribution.


The thought that my brain put out from thinking about legs, diapers, and statistical measures is the following:

For most of us, in our lifetimes, the person who has touched and cared for our genitals the most often is one of our parents.

This is easy to imagine. A handful of diapers my daughter has worn so far have been set by someone other than my wife and me. This means that combined, my wife and I have touched her genitals almost three thousand times. We have some 5000 times in the next years, after which our time as prepubescent genital touchers will taper off.

By the way, if you are asking: Why do I need to make diaper changes weird? I am sorry, but leave before it gets weirder.


But there is more. Unless we have been having sex with the same partner every day for over a decade, our moms or dads will remain our modal genital touchers. For many of us, this will not change. I say this because: The average Brit has sex a total of 5,778 times before they die." This means that, on average, the median reason why someone touched your genitals was to clean them while you were unable to pee or poo reliably by yourself. Orgasms, or more accurately, the hope for an orgasm, comes a strict second.

If you have multiple long-term partners, found your partner late in life, or got divorced, the chances that your mommy or daddy is not the person who the most often for your genitals are slim. It might be that if you really try, your partner will take their place.


For me, though, my mom will probably forever be the person who cared for my genitals the most often in my life. And for me as a parent and daily diaper changer, it is utterly weird to realize that this will be the case for our daughter for decades and probably a lifetime.

She has something running for her. Feminism. My wife and I have changed a similar number of diapers for each. So my daughter needs to have sex around 4000 times with the same person until she can take this weird crown off our shoulders. God, I hope she does.

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