Survey Sez ... We know you want it — the results of the Seven Days Sex Survey | Sex + Romance | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Survey Sez ... We know you want it — the results of the Seven Days Sex Survey


Published February 11, 1998 at 4:00 a.m.
Updated November 7, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.

Seven Days surveyees are:

81% heterosexual
6% homosexual
13% bisexual
9% Republican
27% Democrat
19% Progressive
42% Other (3% Didn't answer)

The Questions

I lost my virginity when I was:

Age Men Women
12 2% 6%
13 10% 2%
14 8% 6%
15 10% 19%
16 8% 19%
17 12% 15%
18 10% 13%
19 18% 11%
20 6% 4%
21 6% 3%
22+ 10% 2%

Monogamy, it seems, is a matter of opinion. Fifty-six percent of women respondents describe their relationship as "monogamous," compared to 46 percent of the men — a discrepancy partially accounted for by those men who indicated "my lover and I have an 'open' relationship, but my lover doesn't know it." Yet for all the men who dream of sleeping around, an equal percentage of playboys are looking for a long-term commitment.

Men Women
My lover and I have a monogamous relationship. 46% 56%
My lover and I have an "open" relationship. 13% <8%
My lover and I have an "open" relationship, but my lover doesn't know it. 6% 0%
I am not monogamous, but I would like to be. 11% 4%
I am monogamous, but would rather be sleeping around. 11% 4%
No answer 13% 28%

Cheating is rampant, although we defined "partner" in this case to mean spouse, long-time lover or serious significant other. According to our sample, Republicans mess around more, but get away with it less, while Progressives, when they do stray, are wildly successful.

Men Women
Have cheated on a partner 58% 50%
Got away with it 62% 68%
Rep. Dem. Prog. Other
Have cheated on a partner 88% 70% 47% 30%
Got away with it 57% 68% 78% 58%

Strategies for keeping things spicy after marriage fall into three camps:

  1. Cynical souls who suggest the best way to keep your sex life interesting after marriage is to get divorced now — or never tie the knot in the first place.
  2. "Keep it naughty" advocates who use complications to keep 'em coming. They recommend prostitutes, third parties, and "incorporating friends and pets" into the action. (One even suggested "plenty of fruits and vegetables." Hmmm...)
  3. Successful spouses whose pearls of wisdom sound just like your therapist talking: "Maintain your independence." "Take responsibility for your own needs." "Lots of variety in location, position and fantasy." "Bedroom humor." "Talking dirty." "Being creative." "Keep fit and healthy." Our favorite? "Honoring my wife as the goddess."

  4. The shortest relationship reported was a 20-minute fling — the quick but surely meaningful work of a now-44-year-old Republican male. We don't know whether it was before, during or after his 20-year marriage, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt, since he was honest enough to admit he still worries about "measuring up."

    35-year marriage ranked as longest relationship. Post-marriage sex tips from the 71-year-old Democratic male from Burlington, who likes all positions, and masturbates twice a month: "respect the person."

    Same-sex marriage, if our survey results are any indication, is not the big deal the Legislature has made it out to be. 72% of men, and 84% of women, favor same-sex marriage

    Not surprisingly, people think about sex a lot more than they actually do it. While three fellows, and one woman, boasted thinking about sex nearly "every minute," we're skeptical; don't these people have jobs? And while those who care enough to fill out sex surveys may be a particularly randy group, we still marvel at how frequently the topic rears its ugly head, so to speak, in the course of their day.

    Only 24% of women, but 66% of men, think about sex more than 30 times per week. That would be at least 4.28 times per day. Forty-eight percent of men and 16% of women think about sex 50 times or more per week. You do the math.

    As for masturbation, no big surprises here: Men fly solo more. But in our sample, not a lot more. Republican women are the least likely to touch themselves "down there," Independent ("Other") women the most. Among the men, "Other" and the Democrats handle themselves the most. Altogether, male and female respondents who didn't identify with a political party masturbate the most. Just plain party.

    36% of men masturbate up to 4 times per month

    26% of men masturbate 5-10 times per month

    42% of men masturbate more than 10 times per month

    66% of women masturbate up to 4 times per month

    16% of women masturbate 5-10 times per month

    8% of women masturbate more than 10 times per month

    As for the frequency of actually doing the nasty, we again looked at the responses by gender and political affiliation. Interestingly, the number of men and women, regardless of party, doing it up to 10 times per month is the same (70% each), but significantly more men than women report doing it more than 10 times per month. The question is, with whom?

    Men Women
    Have sex up to 4 times per month 52% 52%
    Have sex 5-10 times per month 18% 18%
    Have sex more than 10 times per month 30% 18%

    Simulated orgasms are still with us in the '90s — mostly a female dramatization, though only 2 percent of women in our sample report they have never climaxed with their partner. We didn't ask what their track record is on their own time. One quick learner felt compelled to tell us she faked it once but never would again. 32% of men have faked an orgasm at least once

    72% of women have faked an orgasm at least once

    Even the politically correct, it turns out, sometimes rely on pornography. Progressives and Democrats, in fact, indulge far more than Republicans, according to our sample. Once again, we are shocked, shocked.

    74% of men use pornography

    16% of women use pornography

    33% of Republicans use pornography

    56% of Democrats use pornography

    58% of Progressives use pornography

    Not all our readers indulge in sex toys, but for those who do, the objects range from standard dildos and vibrators to organic matter like cucumbers, honey, rabbit-fur mittens and cat-o'-nine tails. Our ... gay male respondents are fond of "butt plugs," anal beads and ball stretchers — to which we can only say ouch. The less adventurous opt for body paint, jojoba oil and flavored condoms. On the ritualistic side, someone out there is putting ear candles to creative use. Ditto a Virgin Mary statue, and we'd like an explanation. But all of 'em sure beat a table saw, which was also mentioned.

    Penis size apparently is not the obsession it is purported to be. Neither are big breasts. Unless you're all lying through your teeth.

    15% of men worry that their penis isn't big enough

    2% of women say their partner's penis isn't big enough

    11% of women worry that their breasts aren't big enough

    4% of men say that their partner's breasts aren't big enough

    Once again, Seven Days readers proved themselves a liberal bunch, even the Republicans: 99% of our female respondents, and 90% of the males, said they're pro-choice.

    We put some outrageous choices, or so we'd thought, in our lists of what people had tried and where they'd tried it. But our respondents proved to be sexually adventurous — oral exploits outnumber everything else, even copulation; nearly half of the respondents have tried anal sex.

    I have done the following:

    89% heterosexual sex
    24% homosexual sex
    93% oral sex
    41% anal sex
    17% anonymous sex
    20% group sex
    28% bondage
    7% sadomasochism
    1% bestiality
    40% phone sex
    22% posed for dirty pictures
    4% videotaped myself having sex
    74% one-night stand
    27% used dildos
    19% had sex with someone more than 20 years older
    9% had sex with someone more than 20 years younger
    6% worked in the sex industry

    The Best Aphrodisiacs

    Some of our readers must walk around in an aroused state at all times (turned on by the mere presence of the gender-of-choice) — or at least three times a day (food), or at least three times per week (working out). But many of them find aphrodisiacs just a touch away (caressing, holding hands, sucking on fingers). Women pretty much just have to show. Aging guys may find it encouraging that at least one woman out there is turned on by balding men ("yes, seriously," she stressed) – and she's in her twenties. A certain Burlington restaurant may or may not be pleased to find their name on this list, but if their business picks up we hope they'll remember to thank us. This is a pretty much complete list, but we did leave out a few in case the kiddies are reading.

  • Intelligent conversation 
  • Smell of a woman 
  • Undressing 
  • Lots of touching in candlelight 
  • Bubble baths by candlelight 
  • Porn videos 
  • Looking at and talking to women 
  • Shackles; aggression in the right context 
  • Listening to "Pictures at an Exhibition" 
  • Chocolate 
  • Strawberries 
  • Dr. McGillicuddy's 
  • A bare, flat stomach 
  • Prolonged abstinence 
  • Caressing 
  • Tight Clothes 
  • Art 
  • Being alone 
  • Massage 
  • Large women in lingerie 
  • Being slowly undressed by someone while kissing 
  • Backrubs by firelight 
  • Belly-button ring 
  • Skin-tight, one-piece velour swimsuit 
  • When my lover takes his time 
  • Kissing 
  • Sadomasochism 
  • Ginseng 
  • Sushi 
  • Marijuana 
  • Orchids 
  • Dave Matthews Band 
  • Knowing I can make lots of noise 
  • Clean-smelling partner 
  • Juicy female 
  • Toned body 
  • Wild nature 
  • Dancing in the kitchen 
  • Bald or balding men 
  • Being dominated 
  • Dancing to "Lets Get It On" by Marvin Gaye 
  • Reading erotica 
  • Thinking about my lover 
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Moaning 
  • An unexpected advance 
  • A sexy compliment 
  • Lesbian videos 
  • Cute boxer shorts 
  • A good margarita 
  • Talking dirty 
  • Someone stroking my back and butt while groaning in my ear 
  • When partner dances nude 
  • Condiments (hot fudge, mustard or pesto) 
  • Friction against my breasts from my clothes 
  • Traveling 
  • Nice hands, arms & smile on a man 
  • Chunky Monkey 
  • A woman's perfume 
  • Miniskirts 
  • The scent of pine 
  • Smell of a man's neck 
  • Lathering in a shower 
  • Having him describe what he wants to do to me 
  • Women who are blond 
  • Having my partner read to me before sex 
  • Big breasts 
  • Big penis 
  • Hairy private areas 
  • Wet, sloppy kisses 
  • Men's cologne 
  • Food
    Watching a women eat a banana or ice cream cone 
  • High heels and nylons 
  • Blindfolds – if you trust your partner 
  • My breasts 
  • Kissing odd parts of my body 
  • Hairy chest, leather, trucks 
  • A deep voice 
  • Words of love and coconut oil
  • Orange sections with all the skin peeled off 
  • Music 
  • Hiking 
  • Turtleneck sweaters and long underwear 
  • Seductiveness 
  • Watching my partner masturbate 
  • Glass of wine 
  • Industrial dance music 
  • Sushi
  • Ice cubes 
  • Nibbling 
  • Canteloupe 
  • The smell of an uncircumcised man 
  • A good fight 
  • Catholic school/cheerleader outfit 
  • The possibility of being discovered 
  • My girlfriend naked 
  • Being held down 
  • Woman in tight corset and black stockings 
  • My lover in his boxers 
  • A guy's teeth 
  • Rough talk and gentle hands 
  • Talkin' dirty 
  • Fantasy 
  • Holding hands 
  • Being completely taken by my partner 
  • Beautiful eyes 
  • Teasing 
  • Summer rainstorms 
  • Sensitive, communicative, good lover 
  • Animé movies 
  • Tight jeans 
  • My mind 
  • Alcohol 
  • Oysters 
  • Poppers 
  • Clannad 
  • Trattoria Delia 
  • Teddies, thongs, lingerie, sexy nighties 
  • Sucking on fingers 
  • Working out 
  • Everything! 

  • Location, location, location. Scene changes keeps life interesting. The "woods" ranked right up there in rural Vermont. Other hot spots mentioned were bard and hayloft, ski lift and walk-in refrigerator. 

    I have had sex:

    85% in a car

    28% in a boat

    7% in a plane

    73% in a bathtub

    39% in their parent's bed

    2% in the therapist's office

    1% in a coffin

    10% in church

    27% in a public restroom

    5% on a swingset

    15% in a schoolroom

    23% in a foreign country

    74% in the woods

    38% on a mountain top

    32% in a hot tub

    When it comes to the number of lovers our readers have had (so for), nearly half fall into the 5-to-20 category. Only four claimed more than 100. One lusty lad claimed more than 1000 (yeah, right). But who's counting?

    Men Women
    Have had fewer than 5 lovers 9% 10%
    Have had 5-20 lovers 24% 24%
    Have had 21-50 lovers 16% 7%
    Have had 51-100 lovers 6% 3%

    It is not easy to describe favorite lovemaking positions, which is why the Kama Sutra was illustrated. One respondent sent drawings with her position preferences. But most people described variations on missionary, woman on top and doggy style, as in "supine" "ride 'em cowboy" and "woof — are we men predictable or what?" Actually, just as many women as men chose the "style of the dog," challenging the notion that eye contact is essential. Intriguing other (and non-illustrated) options included "executive," "spider," "short stop" and "the frog." But we particularly like "the next one."

    Honesty may be the best policy, but not everyone pays the premium. Four percent — of men and women — have told a partner they were "protected" when they were not. And we'd just like to say: Shame on you.

    42% of men and

    8% of women have lied to get sex from someone

    Twice as many women as men report suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. 10% of men, and 21% of women, have suffered from herpes or STDs

    Condoms win out among birth-control options. Readers prefer:

    28% birth control pills

    0% morning-after pills

    37% condom

    11% diaphragm

    14% pulling out

    10% nothing

    Only 6 percent of the respondents still live on the edge – at least with regard to safe sex.

    47% always have safe sex

    47% sometimes have safe sex

    6% never have safe sex

    When it comes to pleasure, straight women spend more time thinking about themselves than straight men do. Homosexual men and women claim to be focused entirely on their partners.

    Men Women
    When I have sex I am mostly thinking about my own pleasure 4% 28%
    When I have sex I am thinking mostly about my lovers pleasure 80% 38%


    When I have sex I am mostly thinking about my own pleasure 0%
    When I have sex I am thinking mostly about my lovers pleasure 100%


    When 1 have sex I am mostly thinking about my own pleasure 27%
    When I have sex I am thinking mostly about my lover's pleasure 43%
    Didn't answer 30%

    The best thing about sex is:

    There are almost as many answers to this question as there are couples copulating. However, Seven Days readers probably join the rest of humanity in determining that the very best thing about sex is an orgasm. Duh, Secondarily, variations on cuddling, snuggling, being close, touch, warmth, etc. Some of out respondents cited pleasures before 9"pulling off her panties and seeing the goodies") and after the Big O, while the more cosmic among us noted altered stated of consciousness. A couple of practical types lauded "stress relief" and "burning calories" as advantages of a roll in the hay. But we especially like the vivid response, "wrestling."

    The worst thing about sex Is:

    Again, there are almost as many answers... Well, actually, an overwhelming number of you are troubled by "the wet spot" and "cleaning up." (Hey, bring a towel.) Lots of other smart alecs responded with variations on "when it's over." We have nothing but sympathy for the young woman who revealed that sex is "sometimes too long and boring" (although she's the same impatient 18-year-old who thinks the best thing about sex is "when the person first enters you"), and wonder if she's referring to the fellow who reported a "stiff neck and tired tongue." As for the woman who finds herself "waking up next to some beast" and the man who "feeling bad (Catholic influence)," we suggest: Get a life. We agree, though, that "having a partner who does not share your sex drive," "feeling used and disrespected" and, worst, "yeast infections" are serious bummers. Our favorite response? "As if!"

    What was your most memorable sexual experience?

    Whoa, nellie. Some of the extensive essays we received on this one made even us blush. Not to mention made us painfully aware that some people are having a lot more fun than we are. Some responses read ike the sexual fantasies in porn mafs ("young girls, riding crops, handcuffs, hot tub...", while others describe hot stuff at home or in the office. A notable turn-on was travel/exotic locales (sex in a swing in Belize, nude beach on Knossos.) All you have to do to have great sex, it seems, is leave the country. Or just go out in it: The great outdoors, anywhere, seems to inspires love–making as well. Which relates to the second recurring theme among the respones: the risk of "getting caught." Sex at mom and dad's house – while they're in the house – or on mom and dad's yacht, were cited, as well as common public locations. The next time you're driving down Shelburne Road , or swimming at Huntington Gorge, or on the gondola at Stowe, or in the Burlington City Hall, for instance, just try and not think that someone has done it there. The third theme was multiplication – threesomes seem to be the most popular. But we'd like to congratulate the woman who reported, "The first time in my boyfriend's mouth, I saw God."

    If you could have sex with one politician/public figure, who would it be?

    Public display of affection? More men and women want to have sex with Howard Dean than any other politician or public figure in Vermont. He's got the love of the people, alright. The doc got 29 votes from constituents, one of whom mused in the margin, "Ho Ho hee hee." Senator Elizabeth Ready was the runner-up with 12 votes. Bernie Sanders scores 11, but inspired almost as many "anyone but Bernie" responses, too. Fred Tuttle took fourth place, ahead of Ben & Jerry, the ice cream sex sandwich, and weatherwoman Sharon Meyers. Sera Congi, Ed Flanagan, John Patrick Tracy, Madeleine Kunin and Doug Racine also inspired a little political passion. Two respondents mentioned Peter Shumlin – his nose, actually. Even Judge William Sessions had an admirer. But the "yucks" also made a strong showing. One respondent pondered, "Fuck the government. Wouldn't that be fun?"

    If you could have sex with one Vermont personality in the arts scene, who would it be?

    The culture club is sort of incestuous. Let's just say Seven Days co-publisher Pamela Polston is winning more than just journalism awards these days. Zola Turn is also turning heads, judging from the numbers who want to have sex with the whole group in general, and guitarist Alize Austin in perticular. Phish finished second in the rock 'n' roll in the the hay category, followed by deejay/singer Craig Mitchell, WiperHouse and Jusagroove, Seven respondents want to have sex with Seven Days cartoonist Dug Nap, er, Duane. Firehouse Gallery curator Pascal Spengemann and actor Rusty DeWees cam in with four and five votes, respectively. Art is subjective, of course, which may explain a lone vote for the panflute player on Church Street. Speaking of chilly prospects, Robert Frost also scored.

    If you could have sex with one fictional person, who would it be?

    Fictional love is a tough concept, especially when you're lusting for real. In general , heterosexual women prefer Jack Dawsons, James Bond, Don Juans and other romantic figures – although Mr. Ed also made his way in there. Straight men, on the other hand, seem to fall hard for cartoon chicks: Blondie, Marge Simpson, Veronica from "Archie," Boopsie from "Doonesbury," Jessica Rabbit, Daisy Mae – even Olive Oyl got a mention. The Little Mermaid did, too, despite her anatomical challenged. One notable exception – a lesbian vote for Lois in "Dykes to Watch Out For."