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FAQ: Facts and Statistics

Love and Relationships

  • Median number of opposite-sex partners in lifetime among U.S. men and women aged 25-44 years of age is 6.6 for men and 4.3 for women. NCHS, 2015
  • Percentage of men and women aged 15-44 years of age who have had 15 or more opposite-sex sexual partners in their lifetime is 21.8% for men, and 10.6% for women. NCHS, 2015
  • Over 50% of respondents ages 18-24 indicated that their most recent sexual partner was a casual or dating partner. For all other age groups, the majority of study participants indicated that their most recent sexual partner was a relationship partner. (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Men whose most recent sexual encounter was with a relationship partner reported greater arousal, greater pleasure, fewer problems with erectile function, orgasm, and less pain during the event than men whose last sexual encounter was with a non-relationship partner. (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Men and women both were likely to report sexual satisfaction if they also reported frequent kissing and cuddling, sexual caressing by the partner, higher sexual functioning, and if they had sex more frequently. On the other hand, for men, having had more sex partners in their lifetime was a predictor of less sexual satisfaction. (Heiman et al, 2011, pdf)
  • Frequent kissing or cuddling predicted happiness in the relationship for men, but not for women. Both men and women reported more happiness the longer they had been together. (Heiman et al, 2011, pdf)
  • Sexual dissatisfaction is associated with increased risk of divorce and relationship dissolution. (Karney, 1995).

Sexual Behavior

There is wide variability in what people consider included in “having sex”.

45% of participants considered performing manual-genital stimulation to be “having sex”
71% considered performing oral sex to be “sex”
80.8% considered anal-genital intercourse to be “sex”

Considerations of “sex” also varied depending on whether or not a condom was used, female or male orgasm, and if the respondent was performing or receiving the stimulation.  (Sanders et al, 2010, pdf)

Age and Sexual Activity

  • Average age of first intercourse, by gender, US
    Males 16.8 yrs
    Females 17.2 yrs
    (CDC Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2015)
  • 28% of Americans over age 45 report they had sexual intercourse once a week or more in the last six months, and 40 percent report having intercourse at least once a month. (AARP, 2010)
  • More than one in five Americans over age 45 (22%) say they engage in self-stimulation at least once a week.  (AARP, 2010)
  • Among ages 18-59, older age for men is associated with lower likelihood of his own orgasm; for women it is associated with a higher likelihood of her own orgasm. Age is not associated with the partner's orgasm for either men or women. (NSSHB, 2010.)
  • For women aged 50 and higher, older age is related to a decline in all sexual behaviors: 5% per year of age for penile-vaginal intercourse; 7% per year of age receiving or giving oral sex (NSSHB, 2010).

For teen sexual activity, contraceptive use, teen pregnancy, abortion, and STIs, see
American Teens' Sexual and Reproductive Health, May 2014, AGI http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html

For older adult sexual activity, see NSSHB, 2010, "Sexual Behaviors, Condom Use, and Sexual Health of Americans Over 50: Implications for Sexual Health Promotion for Older Adults.


BDSM
(Bondage, Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism)

  • In a small sample there were no significant differences between BDSM practitioners and the general population on measures of psychopathology, depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychological sadism and masochism. (Connoly 2006)
  • 1.8% of sexually active people (2.2% of men, 1.3% of women) said they had been involved in BDSM in the previous year. (Richters, et al, 2008).

From Kinsey, et al, 1953:

Condom Use

  • 56% of american women and 66% of men report using a condom use for first sex.
  • 72% of females and 78% of male teenagers 15-19 years report condom use at first sex
    (CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/c.htm#consistencycondom
  • 28.1% of men reported that they had lost their erection while putting on a condom at least once during the last three times they used a condoms.
  • Men who reported erection loss with condoms were almost twice as likely to report having removed a condom prematurely during the last three condom uses. (40.8% of men reporting erection loss prematurely removed condoms, compared with 21.3% of men not reporting problems) http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/condomerror.html


Masturbation

  • More than half of women ages 18 to 49 reported masturbating during the previous 90 days. Rates were highest among those 25-29 and progressively lesser in older age groups (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Approximately one-third of women in all relationships in the 60- to 69-year cohort reported recent masturbation (NSSHB, 2010).


Orgasm

  • 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 (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Men are more likely to orgasm when sex includes vaginal intercourse; women are more likely to orgasm when they engage in a variety of sex acts and when oral sex or vaginal intercourse is included (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Among ages 18-59, older age for men is associated with lower likelihood of his own orgasm; for women it is associated with a higher likelihood of her own orgasm. Age is not associated with the partner's orgasm for either men or women (NSSHB, 2010).
  • Women are much more likely to be nearly always or always orgasmic when alone than with a partner. However, among women currently in a partnered relationship, 62% say they are very satisfied with the frequency/consistency of orgasm (Davis, Blank, Hung-Yu, & Bonillas, 1996).
  • It is possible to experience both genital and non-genital orgasm, even for some individuals with spinal cord injuries. (Komisaruk, 2005).


Pornography


For a list of studies on pornography, see Social Science Research on Pornography http://byuresearch.org/ssrp/research.html

  • In a survey of adolescent (10-17yrs) internet users found 42% had been exposed to internet pornography in the past year, with 66% of those exposures reported as unwanted. (Wolak, 2007).
  • In a national study, 14% of people reported having used a sexually explicit website ever (Buzzell, 2005).
  • In the same study, 25% of men reported visiting a pornographic site in the previous 30 days; 4% of women reported visiting pornographic sites in the same timeframe. (Buzzell, 2005).


Prostitution/Sex Work

  • 15% of men are estimated to have had sex with a prostitute (Smith 2006)
  • Despite common conceptions of prostitution, only a minority of prostitutes work on the streets (10–30%). While street prostitution receives the majority of legal attention, far more prostitutes work as escorts, call girls, or in massage parlors and brothels. (Weitzer, 2005).
  • From Kinsey, et al, 1948: 69% of white males had at least one experience with a prostitute (Kinsey, Martin, Gebhard, 1948).

Sexual Orientation and Gender

Note: Sexual identity (gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight/hetero) may differ from sexual attraction and sexual behavior.

  • An estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (Gates, 2011)
  • 0.5-1% of the population (US) is estimated to be asexual (no attraction to anyone) (Yule, et al,2014)
    http://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/cjhs.2409
  • In an analysis of national survey results from 2006-2008, the percentage reporting their sexual identity as homosexual ranged from 2% to 4% of males, and about 1% to 2% of females. (Chandra, Mosher, Copen, and Sionean 2011)

For information on the Kinsey Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale - also known as "the Kinsey scale" visit
http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/research/ak-hhscale.html

Same and opposite sex behavior:

  • 95.3% of women and 93.5% of men aged 18–44 report ever having any opposite-sex sexual contact. (NHSR, 2016)
  • Almost three times as many women (17.4%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetime compared with men (6.2%) aged 18–44. (NHSR, 2016)http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr088.pdf
  • Prevalence of Homosexuality http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/bib-homoprev.html#1948kinsey
  • About 4%–6% of males ever had same-sex contact. For females, the percentage who have ever had same-sex contact ranges from about 4% ... to 11%–12%. (Chandra, Mosher, Copen, and Sionean 2011)
  • 19 million Americans (8.2%) report that they have engaged in same sex sexual behavior and nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) report some same sex sexual attraction. (Gates, 2011)
  • In an analysis of national survey results from 2006-2008, the percentage reporting their sexual identity as bisexual is between 1% and 3% of males, and 2% to 5% of females. (Chandra, Mosher, Copen, and Sionean 2011)
  • A 2011 study found that bisexual men exhibited a distinctive arousal pattern separate from heterosexual or homosexual men. Cerny and Janssen, 2011.

Gender: Transgender

  • An estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender (Gates, 2011)
  • A review of 8 transgender studies found rates for male-to-female between 1 in 11,900 to 1 in 45,000 and female-to-male between 1 in 30,400 to 1 in 200,000. (WPATH, 2011).
  • Among male-to-female transgender people (MtF), 27 percent are attracted to men, 35 percent are attracted to women and 38 percent are attracted to men and women. (Bockting, 2008).
  • Among female-to-male transgender people (FtM), 10 percent are attracted to men, 55 percent are attracted to women and 35 percent are attracted to men and women. (Bockting, 2008).
  • 12-27% of children continue to experience gender dysphoria as adults. (Drummond, Bradley, Peterson-Badali, & Zucker, 2008; Wallien & Cohen-Kettenis, 2008)." (cited in WPATH, 2011, 17.)

Coercive Sex

Sexual Assault & Nonconsensual Sexual Contact

  • 272,350 sexual assaults in 2006 in the US: 1 sexual assault every 116 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes. (US Dept of Justice, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2006)
  • Less than 5% of rapes were reported to law enforcement officials. (Fisher, 2000).
  • Rape rates are often drastically high in worn-torn nations. In Rwanda in 1994, it is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 women and girls were raped in less than 100 days (Human Rights Watch, 1996).
  • 11.7 percent of student respondents across 27 universities reported experiencing nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation since they enrolled at their university. (AAU Campus Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, 2015)
  • The incidence of sexual assault and sexual misconduct due to physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation among female undergraduate student respondents was 23.1 percent, including 10.8 percent who experienced penetration. (AAU Campus Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, 2015)
  • One-third (33.1%) of senior females and 39.1 percent of seniors identifying as transgender/genderqueer or non-conforming/questioning report being a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact at least once. (AAU Campus Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, 2015)

For more information, see http://www.aau.edu/uploadedFiles/AAU_Publications/AAU_Reports/Sexual_Assault_Campus_Survey/Executive%20Summary%2012-14-15.pdf

Child Sexual Abuse

The Human Body

Sexual Health

CDC estimates that over one million people are living with HIV in the U.S., with 1 in five of those people unaware of their infection. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/surveillance/incidence.html

Penis Size

According to Gebhard and Johnson (1979), the average erect penis of males in the US is 5-7 inches and the average circumference is 4-6 inches. See Penis Bibliography for more information.

For a discussion of the facts and myths about penis enlargement, please visit the Male Sex Questions section of our Kinsey Confidential website.


Suggested resources:

Search for more research related to sexuality through PubMed

For original Kinsey data, see Selections from the 1947 and 1953 "Kinsey Reports".

Kinsey Institute current research

References and further reading:

AARP Sex, Romance and Relationships: AARP Survey of Midlife and Older Americans (2010) http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/general/srr_09.pdf

Figures from the clinical work of Dr. Walter Bockting, reported in an interview, May 24, 2008. Rosenblum, Gail. (2008). Myths and facts about transgender issues. Star Tribune: May 24, 2008.

Buzzell, T (2005). Demographic characteristics of persons using pornography in three technological contexts. Sexuality & Culture, 9(1), pp. 28-48.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Fact Sheet: Reported STDs in the United States. 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/std-trends-508.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014. 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/surv-2014-print.pdf

Chandra A, Mosher WD, Copen C, Sionean C. (2011)Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. National health statistics reports; no 36. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Connoly, P. (2006). Psychological functioning of bondage/domination/sado-masochism practitioners. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 18(1).

Contraceptive Use in the United States. 2015. Guttmacher Institute. New York: AGI. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

Davis, C.M., Blank, J., Hung-Yu, L., & Bonillas, Consuelo (1996). Characteristics of vibrator use among women. Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 33(4), 313-320.

Gates, Gary, (2011) Williams Institute Report "How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?"

Get "In the Know": 20 Questions About Pregnancy, Contraception and Abortion. (2005). Alan Guttmacher Institute. http://agi-usa.org/in-the-know/index.html.

Human Rights Watch. Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath. 1996. http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/Rwanda.htm

Karney, B. R. and T. N. Bradbury (1995). "The longitudinal course of marital quality and stability: A review of theory, methods, and research " Psychological Bulletin 118(1): 3-34.

Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W., Martin, C. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. 1948. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

Kinsey, A., Pomeroy, W., Martin, C., and Gebhard, P. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. 1953. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

Komisaruk, B., & Whipple, B. (2005). Functional MRI of the brain during orgasm in women. Annual review of sex research, 16, 62-86. http://psychology.rutgers.edu/~brk/published051106.pdf

Kost, K., & Henshaw, S. (2014). U.S. teenage pregnancies, births and abortions, 2010: National trends by age, race and ethnicity: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2015 from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends10.pdf

National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, Centre for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University. Journal of Sexual Medicine, Vol. 7, Supplement 5.

Peterson, ZD, Janssen, E, Goodrich, D, and Heiman, JR. 2014. Physiological reactivity in a community sample of sexually aggressive young men: A test of competing hypotheses. Aggressive Behavior. 40(2): 152-164.

Richters, et al (2008) J Sex Med. Jul;5(7):1660-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18331257

Sanders et al (2010). Misclassification bias: diversity in conceptualizations about having 'had sex.' Sexual Health 7(1): 31–34. DOI:10.1071/SH09068. http://kinsey.indiana.edu/publications/PDF/had%20sex%20study.pdf

Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women. National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000.http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles1/nij/183781.txt

Treas, J & Gieden, D (2000). Sexual infidelity among married and cohabiting Americans. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62(1), pp. 48-60.

Trussell J (2011) Contraceptive failure in the United States, Contraception, 2011, 83(5):397–404.

UNICEF. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change, 2013.

U.S. Department of Justice. (2014). National Crime Victimization Survey.

Ventura, SJ, Abma, JC, Mosher, WD, & Henshaw, S. (2004). Estimated pregnancy rates for the United States, 1990-2000: An Update. National Vital Statistics Reports, 52 (23). www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf

Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004;36(1):6-10. www.cdc.gov/std/stats/trends2004.htm

Weitzer, R. (2005). New directions in research on prostitution. Crime, Law and Social Change, 43, 211-235. http://www.springerlink.com/content/p46r4txv88040p82/

Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., & Finkelhor, D. (2007). Unwanted and wanted exposure to online pornography in a national sample of youth internet users. Pediatrics, 119(2). http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/119/2/247

World Health Organization. Female genital mutilation -- new knowledge spurs optimism. Progress in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research 2006, 72.

World Health Organization. Sexual health—a new focus for WHO. Progress in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research 2004, 67.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health. (2011). Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People7th Version: 12-13.

Morag A. Yule, Lori A. Brotto, Boris B. Gorzalka. (2014). Sexual fantasy and masturbation among asexual individuals. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2409


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