'Hotbeds of Sex': Texas on Top, Maine at Bottom

Hotbeds of Sex: Texas on Top, Maine at Bottom

American sex. Desire rises in the Lone Star State but goes limp in the cold surf of Maine, at least according to a survey of 100 U.S. cities in the October issue of Men's Health magazine.

Austin came in at No. 1, and Dallas at No. 2, but five other Texas cities -- Arlington, Houston, Lubbock, Fort Worth and San Antonio -- made the top 15. El Paso was No. 27.

"Wow. I mean, 'Wow,' said 23-year-old Tessa Thibodeau, an employee at the University of Texas in Austin, amazed. "Maybe [Texans] aren't in the Bible Belt after all."

The survey determined the bedroom barometers by using census birth rates, sales of sex toys and condoms, and rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

Other sexy cities that made the top 10 were Columbus, Ohio; Durham, N.C.; Denver; Indianapolis; Oklahoma City and Bakersfield, Calif.

Portland, Me., and Burlington, Vt., on the other hand, came in last, at Nos. 100 and 99, respectively.

Other unsexy cities were Manchester, N.H. (96); Charleston, W.Va. (97); Yonkers, N.Y. (98); Manchester, N.H. (97); and St. Petersburg, Fla. (95).

But in Texas, where the summer heat tops 100 degrees, the bedroom exudes its fair share of sweat.

When Men's Health announced the survey results this week, the Austin American-Statesmen called its hometown the "Capital of Copulation."

"As Texans know, size does matter," the newspaper bragged. "We do note that a lot of the cities on the list are college towns. Maybe there's a correlation? Go figure. Either way, the heat is on in Texas, but you already knew that."

Austin, which takes top honors, or dishonors, depending on how you look at it, is the Live Music Capital and houses the University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the country.

"If you have a college this size, you're bound to get a bunch of hot girls," said Kyle Goldstein, a 23-year-old film major. "I mean, it's Texas. You're bound to have all those cute little Southern blond girls running around."

The ranking "could mean we are just the sleaziest city in the country," said Mark Teschauer, a first-year graduate student. "But it could also be a reflection on the city's progressive culture. People are more open-minded here."

Each year, hundreds of thousands of scantily clad men and women flock to Barton Springs to lie on the banks and soak in the cool waters, and the night life on Austin's popular Sixth Street may be the reason the city gets dubbed the "King of Promiscuity."

Being the "king of sex" means high condom sales, but also high rates of STDs.

"Sure, it's a positive to see that we are being smart about sex," said Andrew Schnitker, a senior broadcast major. "But nobody wants to be the city with the most STDs. That's not exactly something to be proud of. It probably shouldn't go in our tourism brochures."

Men's Health: Survey Is 'Serious'

Matt Marion, deputy editor of Men's Health, said he had confidence in the accuracy of the survey's results. He would not disclose which statistics from each city weighed more heavily.

"If you knew the amount of work that went into it, and the number crunching, you would take it seriously," he said. "It's great to get people talking about sex. Communication and sex go together and everyone wins."

But why did two cities known for promiscuous excess, Sin City Las Vegas and Gotham City New York, rank 70th and 73rd?

"People have been asking that," said Marion. "This doesn't mean that New York and Las Vegas aren't having plenty of sex. It just means other cities are having a heck of a lot more."

The same likely applies to New England, too, where four of the six northeastern states brought up the rear.

At rock bottom was Portland, Maine, where amid lighthouses and lobster rolls, winter temperatures stay below freezing for seven months of the year, and the water rarely rises above 54 degrees.

"It doesn't surprise me that Portland ranks dead last on the sexiest cities survey," said Scott Wasser, 57, and vice president and executive editor of the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram. "This, after all, is a place where people wear ski coats on the beach."

He had hoped the city would do better when a local group announced it was going to stage a topless parade downtown.

"There wasn't a single wolf-whistle or proposition from the crowd for any of the guys in the parade," he said.

New England's puritan past may have something to do with its lowest ranking.

"Maybe we are good at keeping secrets," said Candace Karu, 57, a lifestyle commentator for the Cabot Creamery, famous for its cheese. "We do keep things very close to the vest."

She said Mainers tend to be older and less active than Americans in warmer climates like Texas'.

"When you are healthy and happy with your body, it's easier to feel sexy," said Karu. "Because of the severe weather and traditions, we tend not to be as healthy."

Foods like mashed potatoes, baked beans and a fatty Yankee pot roast with gravy "make us feel warm and comforted, while the nor'easter is blowing, and there is 3 feet of snow," said Karu. "It's easy to sit down by the fire, watch TV and not work out."

And apparently not hitting the hay.

Even though Portland is birthplace to horror writer Stephen King, and bratpacker Judd Nelson, and our jaw-clenched former president George H.W. Bush summers just south in Kennebunkport, some of the city's native sons are lookers.

"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey, one-time named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," was born just north of Lewiston. And what about all those strapping lobster men?

Courtney McMennamin, who works at the Greater Portland Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau, said she is "shocked" her hometown hit rock bottom.

"There's a lot that's sexy about Portland," said McMennamin, who is organizing a romantic Harvest on the Harbor event with premier food and wine in October. "It's very vibrant, has a great dining scene and wonderful shopping. There's lots to do and it's a scenic place to visit."

And when it gets cold, "You have to cuddle closer," she said.

With those lobster men? "If that's what you like," she said with a laugh.

ABCNews' On Campus reporter Melanie Torre contributed to this report.

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