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Everything you ever wanted to know about sex, researchers at Indiana University have asked. Results of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, probably the most all-inclusive sex study in the last two decades, were recently published in a special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers surveyed nearly 6,000 Americans aged 14-94 about five sexual acts: oral sex, solo masturbation, partnered masturbation, vaginal sex and anal sex. It also looked at condom usage among these groups.
The findings? We’re certainly not the boring, bread-and-butter, missionary position society that our international sex reputation makes us out to be. (In fact, apparently we have sex in 41 different combinations!)
Though most under-the-sheet encounters involve only vaginal intercourse, more than 6 percent of men aged 25-29 used all five techniques during their last sexual encounter, and a whopping 16 percent of women aged 18-24 and 8 percent aged 50-59 used four of the five during their last roll in the hay. (Why, you ask? As many gals know and the study backed up, women are more likely to have an orgasm if they perform more than one technique, including vaginal or oral sex. Eighty-nine percent of women who used the five-technique combo reported having an orgasm, compared to 54 percent of women who used only one technique. Apparently, more is merrier.)
* Men prefer vaginal sex, but can have an orgasm doing just about anything. (Frankly, we didn’t need a study to tell us that!) Men said their partner had an orgasm 85 percent of the time, yet only 64 percent of women said they had an orgasm during their last encounter. We probably didn’t need a study to tell us that one, either.
* Certain sexual techniques, which are probably still illegal in some states, are now common fare. Oral sex is pretty standard; 72 percent of men aged 25-39 have performed oral sex on a woman and 75 percent of women 20- 29 performed oral sex on a man in the last year. Anal sex is also on the rise: approximately 18.5 percent of women aged 18-39 had anal sex in the last year.
* We’re also adding same-sex experimentation to the mix. While only 7 percent of women and 8 percent of men identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, a much higher percentage reported having a same-sex encounter.
* Condom usage was highest for adolescents and lowest for those over 50. One can imagine this is due to the likelihood of being in a monogamous relationship and having a low or no chance of pregnancy over 50, though it’s important to note that one can still catch a sexually transmitted disease.
* Lastly, adults rated sex equally positive in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm whether they used a condom or not. That’s certainly a fact worth using to head up any safe-sex campaign.
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