By The Sexy G
A dynamic, comprehensive national survey of the sexual behavior of Americans filled a 130 page issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study, National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) conducted by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, Bloomington, was quite revealing for many reasons.The survey interviewed 5,865 adolescents and adults, ages 14 to 94. *(SEE ASTERISK BELOW FOR RESEARCHERS OF THIS STUDY)
This study was sponsored by Church & Dwight Co., the manufacturers of Trojan condoms. Condoms figured prominently in the study, but it seems not to have played any part in the outcome of the survey which was conducted online. The idea was that an anonymous survey would elicit a more honest reply to the intimate sexual questions asked, than would occur if the interviews were done face-to-face. My point in all this is that when reading these surveys we should try to address the results that don’t quite connect.
Below is an abbreviated version of the list of findings. I selected those that I thought were most relevant for this audience. Then, of course, I’ll put my 2 cents in after each of the outcomes listed:
“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.”
It was suggested that there could be many more combinations since the study didn’t cover all possibilities. WOW! Where have I been?
This brings me to the question – why are so many men and women complaining they can’t get their partners to deviate from the mission position, won’t get into oral sex, and refuse to experiment? These are among some of the reasons men give for watching porn. And there might be some validity to that since porn viewing is increasing at an enormous rate.
Come on people, sex and money are the places where people might tend to tell the biggest whoppers. I’m certainly not implying any problems with the study. I’m positive it was conducted most conscientiously with the best scientific models. I’m also sure the study shows very valid and, for the most part, honest answers. But between the lines, we see what presents as the deep-rooted problems we, as a society, don’t seem to be dealing with. For instance, look at the following statistic:
“About 85% of men report that their partners achieved 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. (A difference that is too large to be accounted for by some of the men having had male partners at their most recent event.)”
What is wrong with these skewed numbers? Are women faking it? Are men assuming a woman had an orgasm when she didn’t because when it’s over for him, it’s over? Are women not asking for the kinds of sex that works better for them? Are gals intimidated by society’s implication that sexually assertive women are looked at askance – in other words, kind of slutty? Perhaps some women are unaware of their own needs. If a woman doesn’t or can’t convey to her partner what works better for her, he might not understand what is wrong.
I picture (purely imagined) some men using blow-up dolls that have a perpetual plastic smile on their lips, and when asked, “Was it good for you?” a recording lets out a big, contented sigh. Maybe these dolls need to be trained to smoke afterward. They can be given a smokeless cigarette. One wouldn’t want to harm or burn a life-like doll that may have cost $5000.00 to $8000.00.
Let’s take a look at another finding:
“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.”
BOING! It’s seems a most matter-of-fact finding, couched in somewhat academic words. Yet, the statement is pivotal. I interpret that statement to mean that men tend to climax quicker in vaginal intercourse. For women, more acts are called for to reach the same result. Let me think about this. Aha. Why don’t we just say that women need more foreplay? What a surprise. We’ve known this for how long? When sex is mutually satisfactory, a comfortable feeling seeps out beyond the bedroom. It’s so basic.
There is another potential damaging implication in reading the results of a sexual survey. We might use them as a comparison to our own level of sexual prowess. And if we do that will we feel diminished as to our own abilities? It can possibly give us a sense of inferiority. We must be wary of allowing that to happen. Each of us must try to face the reality for ourselves, delve deeper and open up communication with your partner.
These are some issues that have repeatedly run through my columns which, I believe, are so important to all aspects of relationships. When people are forthright and open with their partners, each listening to the other, there is less stress, higher levels of contentment and pleasure. It brings an atmosphere of being eager to please one another. Maybe paying attention to the needs of each other will decrease the number of frigid women and frustrated men. Partners need get on the same track. It’s a “tough” job but someone has to do it. Now get to work and think of all the fun you’ll both have reaching your goal.
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*Michael Reece, Ph.D, Debby Herbenick, Ph.D, Dennis Fortenberry, MD – co-authors: Stephanie Sanders of The Kensey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the Departmetn of Gender Studies at IU, Vanessa Schick, Brian Dodge, and Susan Middlestadt of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at IU. The study was funded by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., maiker of Trojan®brand health products.