11 Surprising Facts About America's Sexual Behavior

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11 Surprising Facts About America's Sexual Behavior
Interesting results from a sex survey of nearly 6,000 people at the University of Indiana.

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.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
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