Six Sexy Facts From The National Sex Study

One of the biggest sex studies in twenty years says teenage boys are surprisingly responsible, and anal is catching on. These and four more sexy, sexy facts, after the jump.

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, conducted by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, examined the sex lives of 5,865 people ages 14 to 94. You can download the full results here, or enjoy our quickie version:

Ladies masturbate, but dudes masturbate more.

Masturbation peaked among 25-29-year-olds, with 84% of dudes and 72% of women reporting it in the past year. In every other age group, the gender gaps in this area were bigger (16-17-year-old boys are way ahead of girls in the jacking department, leading me to wonder if girls in this age group might be embarrassed to report their bean-flicking habits). According to a paper by Debby Herbenick and colleagues, "the data demonstrate that, for all age cohorts, recent (past month and past year) masturbation was strikingly more prevalent among men than women."

Anal and oral are getting more popular.

Herbenick et al write,

Compared with the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS), in this present study more men and women have engaged in oral sex and a significantly greater proportion have engaged in anal sex. The larger proportions of those who had engaged in anal sex were not limited to the youngest cohorts. Most participants in all adult (18+) age groups had engaged in oral sex with the exception of females in the 70+ age group, of whom slightly less than half had done so. Anal sex was reported by sizable proportions of adults ages 20 to 49 and twice the proportion of 18- to 19-year-old females reported lifetime receptive anal sex (20.0%) as the proportion of 18- to19-year-old males who reported lifetime insertive anal sex (9.7%).

Translation: young women are doing anal with older dudes.

Not everyone who has sex with a same-sex partner identifies as gay.

Says the survey summary,

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.

For instance, 14.9% of 50-59-year-old men reported having received a blowjob from a dude at some point in their lives, and 10.8% of 20-24-year-old guys reported receptive anal sex. Maybe some people are just uncomfortable identifying as gay or bisexual, or maybe they simply find the available categories too restrictive for their sexual experience. Regardless, this underscores the need for sexual health information that focuses on activities rather than identification.

Teenage boys may be more responsible than grownups.

Almost 80% of 14-17-year-old boys used a condom the last time they had vaginal intercourse, compared to just 58% of girls in that age group. Maybe that's (again) because girls are doing it with older guys, who are way worse at condom use. Of 18-24-year-old dudes, just 45% wrapped it up the last time they stuck it in — that figure falls to 21.3% for 35-44-year-olds and just 5.1% for guys over 61. This could be partly because older people are more likely to be in relationships, and single people are more likely to use condoms (1 in 3 P-in-V sexings by singles are condom-protected, compared with 1 in 4 overall). Also, guys whose partners are post-menopausal don't need condoms for birth control. But old people can get STIs too, and despite all the hand-wringing about teen sex, maybe teenage boys could actually teach the rest of us a thing or two about sexual health.

People of color are more likely to use condoms than white people.

A paper by Michael Reece and colleagues says,

For both past 10 and most recent intercourse events, black and Hispanic men on the whole reported more condom use than white men, and black women and women of "other" races, across all ages, reported more condom use than white and Hispanic women.

This could be partly because "black or Hispanic adults were generally more likely to describe themselves as single and accordingly to report that their partner at most recent sexual event was a casual partner when compared with white adults" (see above). Or it could have to do with the fact that "Particularly over the past decade, significant public health efforts (including those that encourage more consistent condom use) have been focused on black and Hispanic communities." Maybe sex ed actually works?

Guys overestimate women's orgasms.

Here's the part of the survey most likely to make it into comedy monologues:

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.)

Interestingly, according to a paper by Schick et al, "a higher percentage of women reported having an orgasm during their last sexual encounter when their partner was a nonrelationship partner (81% of women) as compared with a relationship partner (58% of women)." So although women are supposed to get off on romance and commitment, maybe they actually prefer fucking the mailman.

National Survey Of Sexual Health And Behavior (NSSHB) [Official Site]

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