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New Survey on Sex in U.S., Biggest Since 1994

October 12, 2010

A special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine offers the most comprehensive national sexual behavior survey in more than a decade, researchers say.

The new data are based on a survey of a national probability sample of 5,865 people ages 14-94. Researchers with Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion interviewed participants online with the help of Knowledge Networks from March to May 2009. Condom-maker Church & Dwight funded the study, called the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, but its authors said the research integrity and data were unaffected.

Adolescent males reported condom use during 79.1 percent of the past 10 vaginal intercourse events, and adolescent females reported 58.1 percent for penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI). Condom use reported by men generally, however, was just 21.5 percent for previous 10 PVI, and an even lower 18.4 percent for all women. Among all men, condom use was 25.8 percent during the past 10 anal sex events, compared with 13.2 percent for women generally. Condom use during most recent anal intercourse was reported by 26.5 percent for insertive men, 44.1 percent of receptive men and 10.8 percent for receptive women.

The self-reported rate of condom use was generally highest for unmarried adults, while condom-protected PVI was greater among younger people, blacks and Hispanics, and those having PVI with a non-relationship partner. Statistically adjusted for these differences, condom use was significantly associated with fewer previous intercourse experiences with the partner and not using other forms of contraception. The lowest condom use rate was reported by men over 50.

"There's been a major shift among young people in the role condoms have in their sexual lives," said Dr. Dennis Fortenberry, a pediatrics professor and lead author of the study's section on teen sex.

Just 2 percent of adolescent boys had experienced sex in the past year, but that jumps to 40 percent among 17-year-olds. About 7 percent of adult women and 8 percent of adult men identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, though the proportion with same-sex experience at some point in their lives was higher.

For additional information, the full survey data are published in a series in Journal of Sexual Medicine (2010;7(s5):255-373).

Back to other news for October 2010

Excerpted from:
Associated Press
10.04.2010; David Crary

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