Sometimes, it's just about sex.
Usually not: The vast majority of Americans are monogamous and happy about it, expressing satisfaction with their sex lives and a broad preference for emotional commitment in sexual relationships. Most by far prefer marriage to the single life.
|Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.|
But there's more to sex in America in 2004 than that 1950s picture suggests. A groundbreaking ABC News "Primetime Live" survey finds a range of eye-popping sexual activities, fantasies and attitudes in this country, confirming some conventional wisdom, exploding some myths -- and venturing where few scientific surveys have gone before.
Among the results: Fifty-seven percent of Americans have had sex outdoors or in a public place. Half talk with their partners about their sexual fantasies. Forty-two percent call themselves sexually adventurous. Twenty-nine percent have had sex on a first date, and about as many have had an "unexpected sexual encounter with someone new." Fifteen percent of men -- and three in 10 single men age 30 and older -- have paid for sex. About half of women say they've faked an orgasm.
Americans' Sexual Behavior
|Faked orgasm (women)||48|
|Paid for sex (men)||15|
|Paid for sex (single men, 30+)||30|
Two-thirds of sexually active Americans sometimes "wear something sexy" to enhance their sex lives, and 30 percent say they and their partner have watched sexually explicit videos. One in five -- around 40 million people -- say they've looked at porn Web sites. As many, men and women about equally, have had "rebound" sex to get over a failed relationship.
In some cases, where activity is less common, fantasy takes over. Among people who are married or living in a committed relationship (or formerly married), 16 percent have cheated on their partner (nearly twice as many men as women) -- while more, 30 percent, have fantasized about it. Fourteen percent of adults (and twice as many single men) have had sex in a threesome, while an additional 21 percent have fantasized about that. Twelve percent have had sex at their workplace, and it's been a fantasy for one in 10 more.
Fantasy and Activity
|Did it||Fantasized about it|
|Sex at work||12||10|
There are other signs of yearning: Among the 55 percent who describe their sexual activity as "traditional," about three in 10 would like to be more adventurous. And more -- four in 10, especially men -- would like more adventurousness in their partners.
The survey also finds huge differences in sexual attitudes between men and women. It underscores the wages of sin: Divorced or separated men are twice as likely to have been unfaithful in their marriage. And it demolishes the notion that singles are swinging: Even among young singles (under 30), nearly half aren't dating at all, and among those who are dating, eight in 10 are dating one person exclusively. Monogamy, again, rules the roost.