... but that's not what's being reported. Nobody's looking at these survey results and reporting, "Oh no! Women are multiplying at a startling rate," or "Holy shit, you guys, straight men are just boning the living daylights out of each other!" They're all using it to draw the most cliched conclusion you possibly can. Guys are cads, women are prudes.
You see, by virtue of the fact that sex has to occur between two people, it's mathematically impossible for men to average more sexual partners than women. For every promiscuous man out there, there has to be a promiscuous woman willing to sleep with him. So, when you take a national average of heterosexual sexual partners, as all of these studies have done, the number of partners for men has to exactly equal the number of partners for women.
So, by process of deduction, the only possible explanation is that men exaggerate and/or women understate. Even the original CDC study acknowledges this as a possibility, but it's one line buried within a 36-page document before they go ahead and stick by their conclusion.
A study by psychologists at Ohio State explains the intuitive: Women may feel a social pressure to under-report the number of partners they've had. In their study, researchers found that women were more likely to lie if they believed that their answers might be seen by others, instead offering numbers that they believed to be more socially acceptable (that is, lower than their true number of partners).
This also represents his dream of having five dicks.
As noted by one of the researchers, "We live in a culture that really does expect a different pattern of sexual behavior from women than it does from men."
To this, we add, "Well, duh."
So, go ahead and fornicate with whomever you want, and be confident in the knowledge that the person you're sleeping with has had just as many sex partners as you. Well ... on average, anyway.
Dennis Hong blogs here and doles out dating advice here.