POLL: American Sex Survey

In a presidential election year, it's tough not to look at political groups, even though differences here likely are standing in for other factors, such as sex, age, marital status and religiosity. With that proviso, Republicans are around 10 points more likely than Democrats to think about sex daily, to be very satisfied with their marriages and sex lives and to wear something sexy to spice things up; and less likely to say they've cheated. In a more directly political context, Republicans are less apt to say premarital sex is OK, and 20 points less likely to say homosexuality is OK for some people.


There's a trove of other data in this survey. One result debunks the notion that parents of young children have sex less often; in fact the opposite is so, probably because parents of young kids are themselves young, and sexually active young adults have sex more often.

"Blondes have more fun" also goes the way of myth, at least sexually speaking: Blondes are no more apt than others to express satisfaction or excitement with their sex lives. Indeed blondes are a little less likely than other women to always have an orgasm, and a little more likely to have faked it.

Americans say they're more likely to have sex late at night (44 percent) than any other time of day. Three-quarters have no preference as to weekend or weekday sex, while 22 percent do say they're more apt to have sex on weekends. ("Twice on Sundays," one respondent quipped.)

About a fifth of adults, 22 percent, sleep in the nude. As noted, men are more than twice as apt as women to do so. People who are less inhibited generally also are more apt to sleep in the buff, including those (disproportionately men) who describe themselves as sexually adventurous, who've had more than 10 sex partners in their lives, who've had sex on a first date, who fantasize and who call their sex lives very exciting.

Asked their sexual orientation, five percent describe themselves as either homosexual or bisexual. As noted, there's a broad difference among groups on whether homosexuality is "OK for some people." Overall 55 percent say it is, including 65 percent of young adults (and 70 percent of young singles), compared with 40 percent of seniors.

Finally, a sex survey can't be complete without a mention of Viagra and similar drugs. Six percent of sexually active Americans say they or their partner take such medications, with its use rising sharply after age 50. Among men 50 and over, 17 percent -- one in six -- get a little help.


This ABC News "Primetime Live" survey was conducted by telephone, by female interviewers only, Aug. 2-9, 2004, among a random national sample of 1,501 adults. The results have a 2.5-point error margin for all respondents; as in any poll, sampling error is higher for subgroups. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

This survey was conducted in one-on-one telephone interviews with a representative sample of adult Americans who agreed to participate in a study of sexual attitudes and behavior. From the point initial respondents were informed of the subject matter, 92 percent went on to complete the entire questionnaire. The demographic composition of the sample closely matches that of ABC News surveys on other subjects, and the data reflect a high level of consistency across questions, and also with previous research.

The poll was conducted after a review of previous surveys, scientific and non-scientific, on sexual attitudes and behaviors. Many of the questions cover areas rarely if ever examined in national random-sample survey research. Some of the best-known surveys on sex -- the Kinsey (1948 and 1953), Masters & Johnson (1966) and Hite (1976) reports -- were not based on representative, random samples of the adult population.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

See previous analyses in our Poll Vault.

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