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The Largest National Study on Sexual Behavior

October 8, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — A recent study pulls down the covers on contemporary American’s sexual behaviors.  The findings — with reference to 5,865 adolescent and adults ages 14 to 94 — include a description of more than 40 combinations of sexual acts that people perform when the lights go out, patterns of condom use by adolescence and adults, and the percentage of Americans participating in same-sex encounters.

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), one of the most inclusive studies on sexual behavior in roughly two decades, was conducted by researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion (CSHP) in Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER).

“This survey is one of the most expansive nationally representative studies of sexual behavior and condom use ever conducted, given the 80-year span of ages,” which Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, was quoted as saying.  “These data about sexual behaviors and condom use in contemporary America are critically needed by medical and public health professionals who are on the front lines addressing issues such as HIV, sexually transmissible infections and unintended pregnancy.”
The initial findings of the survey show that one of four acts of vaginal intercourse are condom protected in the United States (one in three among singles).

“These data, when compared to other studies in the recent past, suggest that although condom use has increased among some groups, efforts to promote the use of condoms to sexually active individuals should remain a public health priority,” Reece added.

“People are often curious about others’ sex lives,” which Debby Herbenick, associate director of the CSHP, was quoted as saying. “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 or experiencing sexual difficulties. Our data provide answers to these common sex questions and demonstrate how sex has changed in the nearly 20 years since the last study of its kind.”

The study helps promote awareness apropos patterns of condom use across different stages of people’s relationships and across ages for both the public and professionals alike.  Herbenick added that these “findings show that condoms are used twice as often with casual sexual partners as with relationship partners, a trend that is consistent for both men and women across age groups that span 50 years.”

Furthermore, there is vast variability in the sexual repertoires of the U.S. adults now, and adult men and women seldom engage in merely one sexual act when they have sex.  When it comes to sex, responsibility is just as important as pleasure is.  Condom use was reported being highest among African-Americans as well as Hispanic-Americans, compared to Caucasians and other racial groups.

“Many surveys of adolescent sexual behavior create an impression that adolescents are becoming sexually active at younger ages, and that most teens are sexually active,” which Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., professor of pediatrics in the IU School of Medicine, was quoted as saying.  “Our data show that partnered sexual behaviors are important but by no means pervasive aspects of adolescents’ lives.  In fact, many contemporary adolescents are being responsible by abstaining or by using condoms when having sex.”

Additional key findings highlighted in the collection of papers include:

“¢ There is enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults, with more than 40 combinations of sexual activity described at adults’ most recent sexual event.

“¢ Many older adults continue to have active pleasurable sex lives, reporting a range of different behaviors and partner types; however adults over the age of 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. Although these individuals may not be as concerned about pregnancy, this suggests the need to enhance education efforts for older individuals regarding STI risks and prevention.

“¢ About 85 percent of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64 percent 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.)

“¢ While about 7 percent of adult women and 8 percent 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.

“¢ At any given point in time, most U.S. adolescents are not engaging in partnered sexual behavior. While 40 percent of 17 year-old males reported vaginal intercourse in the past year, only 27 percent reported the same in the past 90 days.

“¢ Adults using a condom for intercourse were just as likely to rate the sexual extent positively in terms of arousal, pleasure and orgasm than when having intercourse without one.

SOURCE: The Journal of Sexual Medicine, October 2010




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