Have you ever had this sort of conversation?
You: “Yeah, the weather is pretty crummy today, but it should clear up later in the week…”
Other person: “Yes, but tell me more sex facts.”
Some people aren’t much for small talk
All the time, right? Thing is, most people don’t really know what to say here. All they know are their own experiences and what they read in Cosmo magazine.
“First thing to know: There are between 1 and 125 sex moves.”
Luckily, there is a legitimate field of science dedicated to sex, including who has it, when they have it, how often they have it, and how many people they have it with. It’s called sexology, because these people don’t waste time coming up with names.
Their journals are R-rated
Now, let’s be clear about something right away. This is a serious site. We will therefore not be resorting to petty jokes or puns when discussing this topic. We know the ins and outs of research, and know how hard it can be to carry out long studies to probe the depths of academic insight while satisfying the curiosity of the general public inthecourse of upholding scientific integrity. We will therefore treat this column with the respect such a sensitive topic deserves.
It’s the only way to make readers receptive to the material
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about sex in a classy and dignified way.
First question: how much sex are people having?
In reality, most couples have sex 1-2 a week. This number is higher when people first get into relationships, but generally settles into this range, once reality sets in. On the plus side, though, this is generally all you need for a happy relationship. Couples who have sex more than this don’t report being any happier with their relationship than those who do it once or twice a week.
Presumably because they miss too many episodes of Coronation Street
What about single people? On average, they’re having sex less than once a week, so let’s all have another laugh at the single people of the world. There is huge variation in that number, though, so your nearest third wheel could be having sex anywhere from less than once a week to ∞
Ah, but perhaps you’re interested in quality over quantity (i.e., if you’re orgasming or not). Turns out men are on top here, with ~85% of gay and straight men reporting orgasms every time they have sex (78% for bisexual men), but these numbers fall to 62% for straight women and 58% for bisexual women. The number actually goes up to 75% for lesbian women, the theory being that women know what women want better than men do.
And here I thought it was “Mel Gibson”
People are also having sex for different reasons. In this article titled “Why humans have sex”, people reported 237 reasons for having sex, although strangely none of them were “because someone let me.”
“Wha..what other reason could there be?”
In reality, people ranged from “mundane” physical reasons (wanting physical pleasure) to emotional (wanting to feel closer to someone) to vengeful (wanting to get back at a cheating partner). We assume that last one refers to having sex with someone other than your partner.
“Ha! This sex will teach you to cheat on me!”
Speaking of which, it turns out sex isn’t always good, wholesome, clean fun between two loving partners. Or it might be, but not always with two loving partners who don’t have a more societally acknowledged partner at home. Estimates say probably around 20% of married people have an affair.
That number may have dropped recently, though
Lastly, let’s end on a high note. Or a low note, I guess it depends. Have you ever wondered how your “number” stacks up against the average? In a study of 33 000 Americans, the average number of reported sex partners among millennials seems to be around 8, which is less than the 11 that Baby Boomers report, and the 10 than Gen X’ers have. It’s hard to say for sure, though, because these studies are based on self-report, and people are prone to exaggeration about such topics. You can actually head over to Slate.com to see how you personally match up with the average from your age bracket.
Although it’s prone to exaggeration, too
Really, though, we’re just scratching the surface of sex research. Want more sex facts?
Then look elsewhere. We’re already on government watch lists.
You can go to Dr. Justin Lehmiller’s website to find out everything you ever wanted to know about sex, romance, and everything in between. For example, did you know the average penis length is 5.57 inches? Or that women can experience premature orgasms too? His website will answer all the questions you have ever had about sex. And many, many others that you didn’t have.