Monday 24 January 2011

Sex In America

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior has been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 7, Supplement 5, 2010. A full copy of the survey can be printed from the web site.

This survey covers the sexual experiences and condom-use behaviours of 5,865 adolescents and adults ages 14 to 94.

Some of the results reveal that 1 in 4 acts of vaginal intercourse are condom protected in the U.S. (1 in 3 among singles).

The survey summarises the various sexual activities of people. As the introduction states, we are all curious about what others are doing and the survey gives us some information about that.

The survey indicates that there is enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults now, and adult men and women rarely engage in just one sex act when they have sex. While vaginal intercourse is still the most common sexual behavior reported by adults, many sexual events do not involve intercourse and include only partnered masturbation or oral sex.

There are differences between men and women. While vaginal intercourse is more likely to lead to a man's orgasm, women are more likely to experience orgasm through a variety of acts such as oral sex. There is also a difference in perception: 85 percent of the men said their latest sexual partner had an orgasm, while only 64 percent of the women reported having an orgasm in their most recent sexual event.

Adolescent Sex
A unique feature of the study was the inclusion of adolescent men and women.  Dennis Fortenberry, Professor of Pediatrics in the Indiana University School of Medicine, led the adolescent aspects of the study.

“Many surveys of adolescent sexual behavior create an impression that adolescents are becoming sexually active at younger ages, and that most teens are sexually active,” said Dr. Fortenberry. “Our data show that partnered sexual behaviors are important but by no means pervasive aspects of adolescents’ lives. In fact, many contemporary adolescents are being responsible by abstaining or by using condoms when having sex.” 

Additional Findings
  • There is enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults, with more than 40 combinations of sexual activity described at adults’ most recent sexual event.
  • Many older adults continue to have active pleasurable sex lives, reporting a range of different behaviors and partner types, however adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. Although these individuals may not be as concerned about pregnancy, this suggests the need to enhance education efforts for older individuals regarding STI risks and prevention.
  • About 85% of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64% of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event. (A difference that is too large to be accounted for by some of the men having had male partners at their most recent event.)
  • Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse; women are more likely to orgasm when they engage in a variety of sex acts and when oral sex or vaginal intercourse is included.
  • While about 7% of adult women and 8% of men identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the proportion of individuals in the U.S. who have had same-gender sexual interactions at some point in their lives is higher.
  • At any given point in time, most U.S. adolescents are not engaging in partnered sexual behavior. While 40% of 17 year-old males reported vaginal intercourse in the past year, only 27% reported the same in the past 90 days.
  • Adults using a condom for intercourse were just as likely to rate the sexual extent positively in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm than when having intercourse without one.


Wikipedia: National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior
The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior is a study of human sexual behavior conducted in the United States by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in Bloomington. Articles based on the study were first released in a supplement to the October, 2010 issue of Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior
The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 7, Supplement 5, 2010


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