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New survey of sexual practices
October 4, 2010 6:41 AM   Subscribe

A major new survey of sexual practices in the US reveals that the kids are staying safe, but boomers overwhelmingly refusing to wear condoms.

The study showed that among men over 50, 91% did not use a condom when they had sex with a date or casual acquaintance, and 70% didn't even do so when they had sex with someone they just met.

And, condoms or not, dudes still think they are rocking it in bed:

She noted there was a gap in perceptions – 85 percent of the men said their latest sexual partner had an orgasm, while only 64 percent of the women reported having an orgasm in their most recent sexual event.

More here with citations. All links SFW.
posted by Forktine (50 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
85 percent of the men said their latest sexual partner had an orgasm, while only 64 percent of the women reported having an orgasm in their most recent sexual event.

Maybe they're all having sex with the same women.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:44 AM on October 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


This stuff makes me feel inadequate, what the hell 41 different usual things. I can think of maybe eight or ten, and that includes 'things I saw in porn one time'. Unless I'm categorising too broadly and the last five are the same things while wearing bunny ears.
posted by shinybaum at 6:52 AM on October 4, 2010


wait, did the NYT forget to spin this into a "what the hell is wrong with these damned kids?" story?
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:01 AM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


the kids are staying safe

Stage 1 of the insidious radical liberal homosexual agenda: done and done.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:01 AM on October 4, 2010 [18 favorites]


Perhaps sex educators should now devote their attention to Boomers

Rule #1 of journalism since 1982: "devote your attention to the Boomers."
posted by chavenet at 7:09 AM on October 4, 2010 [26 favorites]


But unless they're Hispanic or African American, these older folks are not using condoms nearly as much as teenagers are.

Interesting, I wonder what the percentage breakdowns are.

I'm also wondering what the study is defining as sexual activity and whether it breaks out those differences.
posted by nomadicink at 7:10 AM on October 4, 2010


what the hell 41 different usual things

It's 41 combinations of things. A grilled cheese then fried taters is different than just a grilled cheese.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:10 AM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


But unless they're Hispanic or African American, these older folks are not using condoms nearly as much as teenagers are.

White man's burden to pull out?
posted by nomadicink at 7:11 AM on October 4, 2010


Wow, none of this seems that surprising. It's good to have a new bevy of numbers to pore over though, though I still find it hard to take self-reported surveys about anything sexual too seriously...but it's always fun to examine trends in self-reported surveys about anything sexual over time at least.
posted by ifjuly at 7:15 AM on October 4, 2010


It's 41 combinations of things.

Either my maths is bad or I'm still pretty boring.
posted by shinybaum at 7:19 AM on October 4, 2010


tl;dr. batin'.
posted by SPUTNIK at 7:23 AM on October 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


Boomers would be glad to roll one on, if only someone had gotten around to inventing an organic plant-based, biodegradable condom. In the absence of that, they'll just keep fucking without one and tell themselves they're helping the environment.
posted by felix betachat at 7:48 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


wait, did the NYT forget to spin this into a "what the hell is wrong with these damned kids?" story?

They're just setting up the op-ed from an aging sixties radical about how the damned kids today are afraid to take chances and that's why they've failed to replicate the worldwide and lasting success of the hippie peace movement.
posted by No-sword at 7:56 AM on October 4, 2010


She noted there was a gap in perceptions – 85 percent of the men said their latest sexual partner had an orgasm, while only 64 percent of the women reported having an orgasm in their most recent sexual event.

There are so many things wrong with this sentence that I'm just going to assume it's sloppy writing and not a problem with the survey. Just off the top of my head: Assumes no homosexual activity, implies only one sexual "event" per partner, implies a partner (and only one) is necessary for a woman to experience a sexual "event"...
posted by ODiV at 7:58 AM on October 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: the same things while wearing bunny ears.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:08 AM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think sex should always be an event. I have a red carpet and inevitably some paparazzi.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2010 [7 favorites]


I hate to say it – and frankly I'm as surprised as anybody else – but it's increasingly clear that most of the troubles we've got as a society are down to old white people.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 AM on October 4, 2010 [13 favorites]


"New study shows Boomers are actually the cause of all the problems they themselves complain about; rest of the country desperately works to unfuck the status quo in their wake. Film at 11."
posted by FatherDagon at 8:41 AM on October 4, 2010 [20 favorites]


I think sex should always be an event. I have a red carpet and inevitably some paparazzi.

As your dry cleaner, can I just say that we could do without the red carpet being such an intrinsic part of the event.
posted by djgh at 8:46 AM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Boomers would be glad to roll one on, if only someone had gotten around to inventing an organic plant-based, biodegradable condom.

I realize you're joking, but it should be pointed out that latex is plant-based and biodegradable.
posted by iati at 8:55 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: unfuck the status quo.
posted by jquinby at 9:09 AM on October 4, 2010


They're just setting up the op-ed from an aging sixties radical about how the damned kids today are afraid to take chances and that's why they've failed to replicate the worldwide and lasting success of the hippie peace movement.

"Hippie peace movement"? What is this, 1972?

What it would really be: an op-ed from Maureen Dowd translating the findings into a metaphor for the failure of Democrats to get their groove on; or an op-ed from Thomas Friedman worrying why we haven't yet adopted some other country's technocratic solutions to birth control, yet another indication of how much like Rome in 400 AD we are; or an op-ed from David Brooks about condomlessness as boomer recreational privilege writ large, and more evidence of the fundamental out-of-the-box thinking that is lacking among today's youth, making sure to work in some snappy quotes from Richard Florida on how this all relates to the creative class.
posted by blucevalo at 9:10 AM on October 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


41 different usual things.

Trivially, I can think of 5 elements (hand, mouth, penis, anus, vagina) that can combine in 20 unique ways. Even discounting certain combinations as non-sexual (hand, hand) or improbable (anus, anus), combinatorics leads to a staggeringly high number with only a few elements. Adding in "dildo" as an element, or separating "clitoris" from "vagina" will add more sexual categories.

The article was unclear whether positions counted, because then we can expand penile-vaginal intercourse alone into quite a few different acts.
posted by explosion at 9:20 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: improbable (anus, anus)
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:25 AM on October 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


I have a red carpet

Yes, but does the carpet match the drapes?
posted by hippybear at 9:28 AM on October 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Note, this sex survey was paid for by Trojan condoms. Because every time the US Health Department wants to do a survey on sexual health, some jackass conservative group stops it.

I'm most gratified by the bit about while only about 7 percent of men and of women identified themselves as “other than heterosexual,” a much higher percentage reported having had sex with a member of the same sex. It should be OK to get your freak on without it being a whole identity question.

The ABC News coverage also notes that about 60% of men said they'd masturbated in the past month. I have to assume at this point people answered the question honestly. So really, only 60%?
posted by Nelson at 9:36 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The other 40% were too busy masturbating to answer the question.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nelson: “I'm most gratified by the bit about while only about 7 percent of men and of women identified themselves as “other than heterosexual,” a much higher percentage reported having had sex with a member of the same sex. It should be OK to get your freak on without it being a whole identity question.”

Yes, but – maybe it's the curmudgeon in me, but the thing I noticed about that is that it was very starkly different across male and female groups; it's still a lot more socially acceptable to cop to a same-sex experience if you're a woman. Particularly, according to this study, if you're in the male 40-and-over group, which is apparently scared to death to admit they've had sexual experiences with other guys.

Given that in my personal estimate at least half of guys at least experiment with this in junior high school (I sure as hell did, and it's not just gay guys that experiment) I have to think that the tiny numbers of guys willing to admit this has a lot to do with fear and shame about it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:50 AM on October 4, 2010


most of the troubles we've got as a society are down to old white people

FTFY.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:53 AM on October 4, 2010


Boomers would be glad to roll one on, if only someone had gotten around to inventing an organic plant-based, biodegradable condom. In the absence of that, they'll just keep fucking without one and tell themselves they're helping the environment.

Man what boomers are you talking about who care about the environment?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Civil_Disobedient: the study says that older Hispanics and African-Americans use condoms at rates similar to those of the kids. So, yes: this is old white people we're talking about here, no?
posted by koeselitz at 10:02 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a thought: most Lady Boomers are, by now, in some stage of menopause. Using a condom probably seems less serious when pregnancy is totally off the table as an option.

Just sayin', different age groups have different concerns w/r/t safer sex. Condoms are still totally necessary for preventing the spread of STIs, but I'm sure if you did a similar study with the pill you'd find that no Boomers are taking that either. They group up in an age where STIs weren't the concern that they are now, so it makes sense that as pregnancy gets removed from the great smorgasbord of Unwanted Stuff That Can Result from Unprotected Sex, they wouldn't be as adherent to condom usage as a group of people who came of age during the AIDS crisis.
posted by sonika at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2010


Under the heading of THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE, I imagine we also ought to consider another assumption this study makes: that people over 40 are only having sex with each other, and not with the 25-and-under crowd.
posted by koeselitz at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


One the other hand, about 30% of women report some pain at their last sex act, compared with about 5% of men.

I'm mildly surprised no one's mentioned this yet. This sucks.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:31 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dad, we need to talk.

Before you go out on your big date tonight, uh, look, I uh, know it's embarrassing to talk to me about this but, uh... Do have uh, ya know, protection? Yeah? And do you know how to use it? Good, good.

Look, if you have any questions about this stuff, any at all, don't be afraid to ask me, OK?

That's what I'm here for. I love ya, big guy!
posted by chillmost at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fucking boomers.
posted by dragoon at 10:59 AM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


so it makes sense that as pregnancy gets removed from the great smorgasbord of Unwanted Stuff That Can Result from Unprotected Sex, they wouldn't be as adherent to condom usage as a group of people who came of age during the AIDS crisis.

I would also think that older people skewed towards monogamous long-term relationships, and the % with vasectomies/tubal ligations and/or those being okay with making babies would go up as well, compared to teens & twenty-somethings.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:00 AM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


the study says that older Hispanics and African-Americans use condoms at rates similar to those of the kids. So, yes: this is old white people we're talking about here, no?

Everyone is either Hispanic, black, or white in your universe? :)
posted by wildcrdj at 11:17 AM on October 4, 2010


Everyone is either Hispanic, black, or white in your universe?

Well clearly Asians aren't having sex or there would be billions of them!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:22 AM on October 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


Well, demographic-wise, and US-wise, yes. Heh. Obviously there are other minority groups, but Hispanic and African-American are the significant ones. All I meant was: if non- Hispanic or -African-American older people aren't using condoms, we can't exactly blame it on the Hmong.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 AM on October 4, 2010


I think the problem is that people are wearing condoms to prevent pregnancy rather than STDs, when they should really wear them to prvent both. Boomers are more likely to be infertile due to age or surgery, and they're also more likely to be on the pill than teens, since teens need access to a doctor to get the 'script. Meanwhile, condoms are readily available without a prescription, effective, cheap, and offered at some schools for free.

Another issue is that it's easier for people to hide an STD than a pregnancy. And thanks to the political debate over Roe vs. Wade, even terminated pregnancies have a huge spot in the zeitgeist. So STDs do not enter the public consciousness as much as unintended pregnancy.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:18 PM on October 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Telegraph: America is five times more queer than the UK (a news article that only briefly talks about limitations of the UK's ONS study).
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:26 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


So really, only 60%?

It's really early in the month, yet.
posted by Danf at 1:51 PM on October 4, 2010


This obviously has to do with habits learned early in one's sex life. Boomers came of age, as it were, pre-AIDS, pre-herpes, etc. They never got in the habit of using condoms and unless they were gay, bi, poor, minority and/or IV drug users, they typically didn't see numerous friends die of AIDS. And, truthfully, although the risk of herpes is definitely there, the actual risk of HIV for middle class white American hetero non-IVDU's is extremely low.

The current younger generation, OTOH, has never experienced a world without high awareness of incurable STD's. They were raised to use condoms and with constant messages about unprotected sex = death. Since their early experiences as a result often involved condoms, they got into that habit in a way that earlier generations didn't.

Given that early experiences tend to be formative and established behaviors-- particularly sexual ones-- are difficult to change even if you have a real incentive (gay men did not have an easy time of it), this result is hardly surprising.
posted by Maias at 3:35 PM on October 4, 2010


The current younger generation, OTOH, has never experienced a world without high awareness of incurable STD's. They were raised to use condoms and with constant messages about unprotected sex = death. Since their early experiences as a result often involved condoms, they got into that habit in a way that earlier generations didn't.

That sounds good, but check out the NYTimes' graph of the demographic data, and note the precipitous drop-off in condom use after age 18. The teenagers seem to be doing ok, but once they go off to college or move out on their own, things loosen up a bit.
posted by Forktine at 5:52 PM on October 4, 2010


All the boomers who survived all the crazy stuff that they did back in the 60's & 70's are probably indestructible now.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 5:54 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forktine writes "That sounds good, but check out the NYTimes' graph of the demographic data, and note the precipitous drop-off in condom use after age 18. The teenagers seem to be doing ok, but once they go off to college or move out on their own, things loosen up a bit."

Unless one controls for monogamous couples using other methods (or intentionally not using any method for that matter) that chart is pretty meaningless.
posted by Mitheral at 6:25 PM on October 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unless one controls for monogamous couples using other methods (or intentionally not using any method for that matter) that chart is pretty meaningless.

The bars contain both "With casual partner" and "With spouse or relationship partner," which is pretty much what you are saying. Yes, "spouse" and "monogamous partner" are not always exactly the same thing, but they are probably about as close as you are going to get in a survey like this. The point being, even when you control for that, use drops precipitously, which is really interesting.
posted by Forktine at 6:35 PM on October 4, 2010


Like any article about sex, it's rife with insensitivity to kink, riddled with oversimplifications, it has terrible use of statistics, and it's kind of insulting to all the parties involved. yawn
posted by tehloki at 4:30 AM on October 5, 2010


Forktine: “That sounds good, but check out the NYTimes' graph of the demographic data, and note the precipitous drop-off in condom use after age 18. The teenagers seem to be doing ok, but once they go off to college or move out on their own, things loosen up a bit.”

I noticed that, too. Actually it made a lot of sense to me; maybe I'm wrong, but I have a feeling it correlates with actual regular sexual activity. Before kids become sexually active on a regular basis, they insist they'll always use condoms; after they become active, they are more realistic about it. But there are four or five assumptions I'm making there, not least of which is that most people aren't sexually active on a regular basis until after 18.
posted by koeselitz at 8:31 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


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