Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men

In 2015, we conducted a cross-sectional, Internet-based, U.S. nationally representative probability survey of 2,021 adults (975 men, 1,046 women) focused on a broad range of sexual behaviors. Individuals invited to participate were from the GfK KnowledgePanel®. The survey was titled the 2015 Sexual Exploration in America Study and survey completion took about 12 to 15 minutes. The survey was confidential and the researchers never had access to respondents’ identifiers. Respondents reported on demographic items, lifetime and recent sexual behaviors, and the appeal of 50+ sexual behaviors. Most (>80%) reported lifetime masturbation, vaginal sex, and oral sex. Lifetime anal sex was reported by 43% of men (insertive) and 37% of women (receptive). Common lifetime sexual behaviors included wearing sexy lingerie/underwear (75% women, 26% men), sending/receiving digital nude/semi-nude photos (54% women, 65% men), reading erotic stories (57% of participants), public sex (≥43%), role-playing (≥22%), tying/being tied up (≥20%), spanking (≥30%), and watching sexually explicit videos/DVDs (60% women, 82% men). Having engaged in threesomes (10% women, 18% men) and playful whipping (≥13%) were less common. Lifetime group sex, sex parties, taking a sexuality class/workshop, and going to BDSM parties were uncommon (each <8%). More Americans identified behaviors as “appealing” than had engaged in them. Romantic/affectionate behaviors were among those most commonly identified as appealing for both men and women. The appeal of particular behaviors was associated with greater odds that the individual had ever engaged in the behavior. This study contributes to our understanding of more diverse adult sexual behaviors than has previously been captured in U.S. nationally representative probability surveys. Implications for sexuality educators, clinicians, and individuals in the general population are discussed.


Publication Date:
Jul 20 2017
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
ISSN:
1932-6203
Citation:
PLOS ONE
12
7
Note:
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03


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