Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Variety Spices Up Americans’ Sex Lives, Survey Says

Responses also suggest teens more careful about sex than many adults believe

Excerpts from a Health Day News item

MONDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) — Americans are engaging in a wide range of sexual activities, including oral sex, anal sex, and partnered masturbation in addition to vaginal sex, according to the largest and latest survey of sexual behavior and sexual health in the United States.

The survey also found that adolescents are much more responsible than they’re made out to be, with some 70 percent to 80 percent reporting condom use during their last sexual encounter.

“We found an enormous diversity in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults. They rarely engage in just one sex act when they have sex,” Debra Herbenick, a research scientist and lecturer in the department of applied health science at Indiana University in Bloomington, said at a press briefing held Thursday. “Vaginal intercourse is still the most common sexual act but many sexual events do not involve intercourse. What it means to have sex can vary greatly from one person to the next.” [Full text of the article is at Special Issue: Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University Check your local public or academic library for availability]

While 41 sexual acts were noted in the survey, Americans probably engage in more than those given that some behaviors — such as kissing — were not included in the questionnaire, Herbenick said.

[snip]

Among the main findings:

  • Men and women usually engage in more than one sex act during a single sexual encounter.
  • While 85 percent of men perceived that their partner had had an orgasm the last time they had sex, only 64 percent of women said they actually had climaxed. While men were more likely to orgasm with vaginal intercourse, women generally needed a wider variety of activities.

    “We can’t help but notice the gender gap between male and female orgasms, men being a little bit clueless about their partner having an orgasm or maybe they’re getting bad information,” said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and a member of the Trojan Sexual Health Advisory Council.

  • Condoms are used for one of every four acts of vaginal intercourse by married couples (one in three for single people) and they are used more frequently by black and Hispanic Americans. The lowest rates of condom use are among adults aged 40 and over.
  • Adults and teens reported equally pleasurable sexual experiences whether the male was wearing a condom or not. “Today’s condoms are not those that [older] Americans grew up with,” said Michael Reece, associate professor of applied health science at Indiana University. “We need to update educational efforts.”
  • Contrary to popular belief, the majority of teens are not engaging in sex with another person. For example, 40 percent of males aged 17 reported vaginal intercourse in the past year and only 27 percent had had sex over the last three months.
  • Roughly similar rates of men and women (8 percent and 7 percent, respectively) identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
  • The survey also addressed the “friends with benefits” phenomenon, finding that 13 percent of men and 11 percent of women aged 18 to 59 reported having had sex with a friend at their most recent encounter.
  • Some 30 percent of women reported chronic, ongoing pain associated with sex, much higher than previous estimates, Herbenick said.

Herbenick said the information from the survey can enhance Americans’ sexual health. “Health care will best be served if we attend to the wide range of ways people have sex,” she said.

Janice Flahiff’s thoughts…The reports do not seem to address related issues as consent, role of sex in relationships, unhealthy sex issues as disease and mental conditions, importance of communication in sexual relationships, etc. The articles do not appear to have a holistic approach to sex, but does include aspects that are worth noting for further research and for application to sexual health in personal and public health areas.

October 6, 2010 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items |

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