how much sex are you having?

June 23, 2007 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

as a rule of thumb I’m usually against telling your partner just how many people you’ve been with. it inevitably leads to a problem – she’s been with too many, he’s been with too few, neither of them want to imagine their beloved with anyone else, etc. not to mention who is totally honest about their number anyways? which is exactly the qualm i have with a new study done by the National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
the study found that, on average, men sleep with 7 people over their lifetime, women just 4.
the federal study says that because it collected the data from 6,237 adults, aged 20 to 59, “using high-tech methods to solicit candid answers” (i.e., computer-assisted self-interviews) these are probably the most accurate numbers out there on americans’ sex lives.
other numbers of note:
* 29 percent of men and 9 percent of women report having 15 or more heterosexual partners in a lifetime
* 16 percent of adults first had sex before age 15
* 15 percent abstained from sex until at least age 21
* 25 percent of women and 17 percent of men reported having sex with just one person in their lifetime
* 11 percent of Americans were virgins before they got married
while i applaud any effort to find out this kind of information and i see merit in it’s usefulness (whether its generating more support for sex education, shedding further light on the importance of STD prevention or increasing funding towards birth control distribution or ‘planned parenthood-esque’ organizations) i still can’t help but believe that even anonymous self-reporting will have it’s liars, especially when dishing this sorta dirt to the federal government.
perhaps what i’m getting at is that information regarding people’s sex lives is so seeped in societal and cultural biases and beliefs that it often elicits such shame and anxiety that there are few people who will even admit to themselves just how many sexual partners they have had. not to mention someone who is 59 could easily forget a partner when examining their behavior over a lifetime. further what definition of sex is being applied here? does sex include sexual activities such as oral sex (ala Bill Clinton) or anal sex? when i was a virgin several men used to like to recommend anal sex as a way for me to retain my virginal status – luckily i was smart enough to know better – but i’m sure there are more than a few people who have engaged in that and still believed they were not having actual sex.
and perhaps i’m also coming out of the closet as a big old slut here (or, as i like to refer to it, just a sexually charged woman) but who are these women who only sleep with 4 people their entire lives?!?!
even my most tame friends, who are by the way in their early 20s and with a lot of sex before them, can count a handful.
my point – while it’s good to be informed you have to take this information with a grain of salt.
am i off the mark here, but, do you think these numbers seem accurate?

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Entry filed under: sex, sexual health news.

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