How Many Couples Wait Until Marriage to Have Sex?

Russell Wilson and Ciara (Wenner Media)

Russell Wilson and Ciara (Wenner Media)

Last month, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson proposed to singer Ciara. While this narrative isn’t uncommon (professional athlete gets with professional singer), one thing about their courtship has stuck out: Wilson and Ciara (I’d use her last name here if she used it herself) abstained from sex during their courtship. And they were loud and clear about it.

You may think this example is an outlier. So how many couples wait until marriage to have sex?

A 2006 study by the Guttmacher Institute took data from the National Survey of Family Growth from 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002. Around 40K+ subjects ages 15-44 were asked about their sex lives. In 2002, around 95% reported having premarital sex (shocker <– sarcasm right here.) So that’d be around 5% who reported staying virgins til marriage. But this is all self-reported data, so I can’t tell if answers were blinded or not. (Respondents might lie if their answers aren’t blinded.)

This is a upswing from back in the day, but not a total shock. Dr. Alfred Kinsey tackled this same question in his seminal works, 1948’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” and 1953’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.” He found that 67-98% of men had had premarital sex, “depending on socioeconomic level” (I would love to know what that means!), with 68% losing it before turning 18. Women fell into a 50-50 split of whether they’d had premarital sex or not. (This kind of turns the prudish ’50s narrative on its ass, doesn’t it?)

Even thought we have some data, it’s difficult to predict the numbers of virgins-til-marriage completely accurately if the numbers are all self-reported. Some might not self-report accurately due to shame or any number of factors. That being said, nothing wrong with their decision to wait.

 

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How Many People Identify as Asexual?

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

Along the spectrum of sexuality sits asexuality. (Actually for Alfred Kinsey, he put the concept outside his famous Kinsey Scale, marking it with an “X.”) Those who identify as asexual do not feel sexual desire and/or want sexual intercourse (though they may still have romantic feelings).

Asexuality and its nuances have been misunderstood for decades, as have those who self-identify with the term. So how many people identify as asexual?

It’s hard to say. Like many sexual statistics, it’s all self-reported. But there have been a few studies done.

 

Kinsey estimated that asexuals numbered around 1.5% of the adult male population in the later 1940s to early 1950s. But he didn’t mention female asexuals, and we don’t know how thorough his methodology was.

Elsewhere, a 2004 British study analyzed data and found that around 1.1% of Brits claimed the label. A recent article on “Wired” named estimates ranging from .6% to 5.5%.

There’s no definitive way to tell. But hopefully more data will be uncovered as research into asexuality grows.

#ThrowbackThursday: Dr. Alfred Kinsey Lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949

Dr. Alfred Kinsey lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949 (The Guardian)

Dr. Alfred Kinsey lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949 (The Guardian)

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, known to be one of the (if not the) father of modern sexology, lectured to a packed house at the University of California, Berkeley in 1949. This lecture capped off a big decade for him: He began by teaching a class on marriage (attended mostly by women) in which he espoused his beliefs on sexual frankness and equality for both genders. In 1947, he founded the Institute for Sex Research (now called The Kinsey Institute) at Indiana University. The following year, he wrote the breakthrough work “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.”

I couldn’t find any further information on this image. But look how many people are there to hear him speak! I’m sure it helped that his book had sold 200K+ within the first two months of its release. He was truly a rockstar, and I wonder what it would’ve been like to hear him speak.

Sleeping Naked: The Numbers

Couple Sleeping (sadly, not naked)

Couple Sleeping (sadly, not naked)

Lately, there’s been some talk about the health benefits of sleeping naked, especially for women: body confidence, airing out your downstairs, etc. A recent study found that only 8% of Americans sleep naked, while over 74% keep clothed.

Seems pretty low, doesn’t it? Almost too low.

Alfred Kinsey covered this topic within his own studies. He found that over 41% of men reported sleeping naked (within a sample size of 5.3K) and half of married women (out of a sample size of 5.49K). (From what I could see, there wasn’t any differentiation between single and married men.)

Kinsey’s number seems a bit more reasonable. I find it hard to believe that sleeping-nude stats have actually declined within the last few decades. My reasoning is that since it’s a topic out in the open now, there’d be more people open to doing so and admitting to it.

 

Anal Sex: Married Men, 1950s and Now

What what in the butt.

What what in the butt.

In 1953, Kinsey found that 11% of men had had anal sex within marriage, out of a sample of 5.3K men. (This sample is described “younger white adults with some college education,” so obviously we’re only getting a narrow, appropriately 1950s-esque, slice of the population.)

The male population clocked in at 74.8M (67.1M white males) in 1950. The 2010 Census counted the male population as 151M, a 101%+ growth over 60 years. If that 11% still holds, that means over 16.610M of today’s male population have had anal sex.

Of course, this isn’t a completely pure, apples-to-apples comparison (more like apples-to-pears), so I’d like to come back to this if/when I find more information.

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Alfred Kinsey’s “Time” Cover

Alfred Kinsey, 1953.

Alfred Kinsey, 1953.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the father of sexology research, was featured on the cover of “Time” magazine for the Aug. 24, 1953 issue.

His book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” was published that year, and was the second of two Kinsey Reports.