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article imageStudy provides snapshot of American sexual behaviour

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 4, 2010 in Health
Americans are participating in a wide range of sexual activities and there is a male-female gap in the perceptions of orgasm, according to a study just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
About 85 percent of the men surveyed reported that their partner had an orgasm during their most recent sexual encounter, compared to 64 percent of women saying they had one. This difference is considered to be too much to be accounted for by some men having male partners.
"We can't help but notice the gender gap between male and female orgasms, men being a little bit clueless about their partner having an orgasm or maybe they're getting bad information," Bloomberg Businessweek quoted Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, as saying.
The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) was conducted by researchers from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. There were 5,865 people, between the ages of 14 and 94, who took part in the study.
“This survey is one of the most expansive nationally representative studies of sexual behaviour and condom use ever conducted, given the 80-year span of ages,” Michael Reece, director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, said in a news release.
He said the data about sexual behaviour is critically needed by medical and public health professionals.
The study found that condoms are used in one of four acts of vaginal intercourse (1 in 3 for singles), although use was higher among blacks and Hispanics than those who are white and from other racial groups.
Adults over the age of 40 reported the lowest rates of condom use.
“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.” said Reece.
The subjects reported they often engaged in more than one act when they had sex. Intercourse was the most common act, but some people participated in only partnered masturbation or oral sex.
Many of those who do not consider themselves to be gay have taken part in same sex interactions.
While about 7% of adult women and 8% 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.
Dennis Fortenberry, Professor of Pediatrics in the Indiana University School of Medicine, who led the adolescent areas of the research, said they found that many adolescents are “being responsible by abstaining or by using condoms when having sex.”
The study was funded by Church & Dwight Co. Inc., the maker of Trojan® brand products.
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