Friday, June 22, 2007

Sex And Drugs And Average America

By Cernig

There's a new survey out on the sex and drug habits of Average America.
The average American man has sex with seven women during his lifetime, compared to four male sexual partners for the average woman, according to a new federal survey that used high-tech methods to solicit candid answers on sexual activity and illegal drug use.

Men are far more apt to play the field when it comes to sex, the survey found 29 percent of them reported having 15 or more female sexual partners in a lifetime, while only 9 percent of women reported having sex with 15 or more men.

...In previous federal surveys on these topics, participants were asked questions in face-to-face interviews; the CDC believes that caused underreporting of behaviors that might be viewed negatively.

This time, data was gathered from 6,237 adults, aged 20 to 59, in what are called computer-assisted self-interviews a method designed to provide complete privacy and produce more honest answers.
I'm still highly dubious about the accuracy of any data on such subjects - in particular about sex. If there's one thing my life has taught me, it is that people will lie to themselves about their sex life or lack of it just as blithely and frequently as they lie to others. Still, as the ABC article notes, the study will "likely provide ammunition to various parties in the ongoing national debate over sex education, cohabitation and access to birth control." For instance, it seems the abstinence-until-marriage religious conservative lobby is definitely in a minority of opinion.
Many of the conservative groups aligned with the Bush administration on social issues promote the goal of sexual abstinence until marriage. The survey found only about 11 percent of never-married adults had remained chaste...Sixteen percent of adults first had sex before age 15, while 15 percent abstained from sex until at least age 21.

...Seventeen percent of men and 10 percent of women reported having two or more sexual partners in the past year.

Twenty-five percent of women and 17 percent of men reporting having no more than one partner of the other sex in their lifetime.
And drug use? "Twenty-six percent of men and 17 percent of women have tried cocaine or other street drugs (not including marijuana) at some time in their life. Non-Hispanic whites had a higher percentage of ever using cocaine or street drugs (23.5 percent) than blacks (18 percent) or Mexican-Americans (16 percent)." Bang goes another urban myth.

The full PDF of the study is here.

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