Sex: Americans Like Variety, Not Condoms

A national survey reveals what everyone in the U.S. is doing between the sheets

Vanilla sex in the U.S.? Not so much. We’ve got at least half of the Kama Sutra down, according to one of the largest national sex studies ever conducted, courtesy of researchers at Indiana University. In their most recent sexual escapade, Americans practiced more than 40 combinations of sexual acts in the bedroom.

The survey tracked the sexual health and behaviors of 5,865 adolescents and adults between the ages of 14 and 94. What -- 95-year-olds aren’t still kicking it between the sheets? The results were published in a special -- some might say titillating -- issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"People are often curious about others' sex lives," said Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, in a written statement. "They want to know how often men and women in different age groups have sex, the types of sex they engage in, and whether they are enjoying it.”

Um, yeah we do! So without further adieu, here are some of our favorite things the survey revealed:

The wham, bam, thank you, ma’am type of sexual encounters are not as common as sitcom jokes would have us believe. Adult men and women rarely engage in just one sexual act when they get intimate. In their last encounter alone, people reported over 40 different sexual combinations. For instance, 40 percent of men and women between the ages of 25 and 59 reported engaging in anal sex during their lifetime.

Unfortunately, that still doesn’t mean everyone was fully satisfied. Only 64 percent of women reported having had an orgasm during their last romp between the sheets. Perhaps somewhat expectedly, the survey found that many men were in the dark about this; 85 percent of men reported that their partner climaxed during their last sexual session -- showing that either women are better than ever at faking it, guys are too clueless to care, or both partners just aren’t comfortable discussing their sexual needs.

While 8 percent of men identify as gay or bisexual, almost 11 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 24 said they engaged in same-gender anal sex. Even though same-sex acts among straight men are more common than female-on-female action among straight women, have you heard a man sing, “I kissed a guy and I liked it”?

As for safe sex, adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. Since the survey’s findings also show that condoms are used twice as often with casual sex partners as with relationship partners, one might simply assume that America’s youth are more likely than their parents to be engaging in casual sex. But, alas, the study actually found that among sexually active 14- to 17-year-olds, 80 percent of boys and 69 percent of girls surveyed used a condom the last time they engaged in sexual intercourse, compared with less than 50 percent of adults in casual relations. Women were, by far, worse than men in using condoms regularly.

And finally, in case you didn’t know this: All guys masturbate. Unless they’re under the age of 16 or over the age of 70, all men in the study reported pleasuring themselves at least once in the past year. Only 40 percent of women reported masturbating within the past year, though, which means we’re as likely to get ourselves off in a single year as we are to engage in anal sex throughout our entire life.

What do you find most interesting or telling about the sex survey? Chime in below.

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