Finally, a refreshingly sex-positive
new study of how Americans do it. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior
(NSSHB) is a sample of 5,865 men and women age 14 to 94 that looked at a combination of 41 sexual activities, as well as condom use and sexual satisfaction, and was just been published in Journal of Sexual Medicine.
And, hallelujah! It offers up some good news -- some of it obvious, some surprising -- about what we do in bed. Below, a handful of highlights we picked out just for you.
1. The Last Time You Did It? Was Gooooood
"The vast majority of women indicated that their most recent experience of sex was highly pleasurable and arousing," said Debby Herbenick, PhD, research scientist at Indiana University and writer of "Because It Feels Good," when we asked for some of the best news for women in their 20s and 30s. "Also, 64 percent reported experiencing an orgasm, which, while not important to everyone, is of course important to many women and is higher than some studies we've seen in the past."
2. We're All "Doin' the Billy Idol"
Masturbation was more frequent among men than women. (Is anyone that surprised by this news?) But among women, those of us age 25–29 are doing it the most often. The authors point to these findings by saying they hope this data is an indication that female masturbation is becoming normalized. Apparently for some of us it is way
normalized. Go team.3. Fifth Base: No Longer the Last Taboo
"More than 20 percent of men age 25–49 and women age 20–39 reported anal sex in the past year." While that doesn't sound like a huge number, they show that one in five of us is getting a little exit action. The study only accounted for anal penetration with a flesh-and-blood penis, so we don't know how many of you were returning the favor for your boyfriends.
4. Condoms Are More Common With Casual Partners
More men and women used condoms when not with a relationship partner. Single adults used condoms 46.7 percent of the last 10 times they had vaginal intercourse, compared with 11.1 percent for married adults. Good news? High rates of condom use amongst adolescents. GOOD JOB, TEENAGERS!
5. We're Talking It Out
Unfortunately, 1 in 3 women reported pain during sex. According to Debby Herbenick, "Some women likely have vulvodynia (a vulvar-pain condition), some probably experienced vaginal dryness related to menopause or while breast-feeding, but probably many of these women experienced pain as a result of typical sex conditions." The good news? Sex-positive experts are more accessible than ever to consult women about their sexual health. Herbenick suggests "choosing sex positions that provide more control over penetration, by communicating with their partner about what feels good or what doesn't feel good, or by using lubricant, a lubricated condom or even a vibrator."
6. There's More to Sex Than Intercourse
Stale jokes about skipping the foreplay aside, the study shows that most of us are engaging in a lot of it. Herbenick agreed that we're moving away from viewing intercourse as the "main event." She said, "Vaginal intercourse is still the most common sexual behavior for most heterosexual women and men, but it's not the only event. Many Americans engage in partnered masturbation, solo masturbation, oral sex and -- to a lesser degree -- anal sex."
Not only that, but many more women reported having an orgasm when they engaged in multiple sex acts than just one. The takeaway? Mix it up in the bedroom. (Even if you do come from intercourse alone, why not add to your sexual repertoire?) The authors also suggest that women who mix things up in the bedroom may be more likely to experience multiple orgasms. We don't know about you, but we're feeling a little ... patriotic.