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More same-sex activity or more honesty about it? | Hunter of Justice

More same-sex activity or more honesty about it?

by on October 5, 2010  •  In Culture, Social science

Two new independent reports published this week both point to either increases in same-sex activity in the U.S. or greater willingness to self identify as gay or bisexual or both.

A national sex survey conducted by Indiana University found that approximately 7% percent of the population identifies as non-heterosexual, with 40% of the men and a big majority of the women in that group self-describing as bisexual.  

The breakdown for men was

Adults: 4.2% gay and 2.6% bisexual

Adolescents: 1.8% gay and 1.7% bisexual

The breakdown for women was

Adults: 0.9% gay and 3.6% bisexual

Adolescents: 0.2% gay and 8.4% bisexual

Additionally, the Williams Institute released data from the Census showing a bigger increase in the number of same-sex couples than the overall rate of growth in the population. The number of same-sex couples increased 3% from 2008 to 2009, while the population as a whole increased 1%.

The Indiana data came from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, conducted by researchers from the University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, which conducted a survey about the sexual experiences and condom use of 5,865 adolescents (ages 14 to 17) and adults (ages 18 to 94).

Other findings included:

  • A much higher percentage than the numbers above have engaged in sexual activity with someone of the same sex at least once. For example, 15% of men aged 50-59 have received oral sex from another man at some point.
  • More than half of women and men ages 18 to 49 had engaged in oral sex in the past year.
  • About 85 percent of men reported that their partner had an orgasm during their most recent sexual encounter, but only 64 percent of women report having had one. (Researchers said the difference is too great to attribute to men having had their last encounter with another man.)
  • Racial minorities and young people were more likely than others to use condoms.

The much higher rate of bisexuality than is usually acknowledged, as well as the contrast in the data about same-sex sexual activity between these studies and About 85 percent of men reported that their partner had an orgasm during their most recent sexual encounter, but only 64 percent of women report having had one. Researchers said the difference is too great to attribute to men having had their last encounter with another man. Data from the UK, illustrates yet again the need for more better data about sexuality.

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