Wow, to be a paid researcher in America to study the sexual behaviors of Americans. Now that’s an enticing job. Where do I sign up?
Apparently I’d pop on over to Indiana University, as that’s where the latest batch of researchers come from who have something to say about sex in America.
As a part of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, researchers surveyed a national, representative sample of 5,865 people ages 14 to 94. They recently published some of their initial findings in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
So without further ado, here are 11 surprising facts about sex in America from that survey.
1. Condom use is pretty uncommon.
Only 1 in 4 acts of sexual intercourse are protected by a condom. Condoms are, of course, the most reliable method to avoid sexually transmitted diseases while having sex.
2. Yet condom use is just as pleasurable.
Contrary to popular wisdom, people surveyed said that their sexual pleasure was just as intense with condom use as it was without. This included arousal, pleasure and achieving orgasm.
3. Americans like variety.
The researchers detailed over 40 different combinations of sexual activity when participants were asked to describe their most recent sexual encounter.
4. Men orgasm from regular intercourse most often; women, on the other hand, require more of a variety of sexual acts — which may include oral or vaginal intercourse — in order to orgasm.
While men enjoy sexual variety as much as women, they don’t need it in order to enjoy an orgasm. Women appear to benefit more from such variety in order to make the likelihood of an orgasm greater.
5. Men don’t have a clue when it comes to their partner’s orgasm.
While 85 percent of men reported their partner had an orgasm during their most recent sexual activity, only 64 percent of women reported having had an orgasm. The difference of over 20 percent isn’t accounted for simply because of same-sex relationships.
It suggests men overestimate their partner’s sexual experience, or that women are leading men to believe they orgasmed in order to end the sexual activity earlier.
6. Most teenagers aren’t doing it as often as you might think.
Only 27 percent of teens surveyed said they had intercourse in the past 3 months.
7. More of us try out a gay, lesbian or bisexual activity once in our lives than you might think.
The survey found that 8 percent of men and 7 percent of women identified themselves as either gay, lesbian or bisexual. But this percentage was much lower than the proportion of individuals who had said “Yes” to a question about whether they’ve ever had same-gender sexual activity in their lives. Many people may experiment with such activities, but stick to what feels best for them in the end.
8. You don’t have to be young to enjoy sex.
Older adults report enjoying and engaging in sexual activity nearly as much as younger adults. In fact, the survey found that men in their 50s are having more sex than teenage males.
9. Men give oral sex as much as they receive it.
Contrary to popular wisdom again, men — especially older men — give as much oral sex to women as women give to men. While the difference is greatest in the 20 to 24 year old range (with only 55 percent of men saying they’ve given it in the past year, compared to 74 percent of women), the tables turn as we age. In the 30 to 39 age range, 69 percent of men report having given a woman oral sex, while only 59 percent of women have.
In other age ranges, the differences are far less greater, with only a few percentage points differentiating the two groups.
10. Both men and women masturbate.
The vast majority of people at all age groups masturbate. Yes, men regularly out-masturbate women, with over 80 percent of 20 to 29 year old men reporting masturbating in the past year. But women are no slackers either, with 64 to 72 percent of women in the same age range reporting masturbating in the past year.
11. We all like to brag.
Similar to point #5, more people in the survey said they received oral sex than those who said they gave oral sex. If everyone was telling the truth, these numbers should be within a few percentage points of one another.
Instead, we see many discrepancies. For instance, 70 percent of women claimed to have received oral sex from a man in the 20 to 24 age group, but only 55 percent of men admitted to having given oral to a woman. Sixty-two percent of men aged 40 to 49 claimed they received oral, but only 53 percent of women said they gave it.
Apparently saying you’ve received oral sex is still more attractive than saying you’ve given it.