Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Orientation Among Adults Aged 18–44 in the United States

An NCHS report provides national estimates of sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation among women and men aged 18–44 in the United States, based on the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth.

Findings:

  • Regarding opposite-sex sexual behavior, 94.2% of women and 92% of men aged 18–44 had ever had vaginal intercourse.
  • 86.2% of women and 87.4% of men had ever had oral sex; and 35.9% of women and 42.3% of men had ever had
    anal sex.
  • Almost three times as many women (17.4%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetime compared with men (6.2%) aged 18–44.
  • Feelings of attraction “only to the opposite sex” were more common for men (92.1%) compared with women
    (81%) aged 18–44. Among those aged 18–44, 92.3% of women and 95.1% of men said they were “heterosexual or straight”; 1.3% of women and 1.9% of men said they were “homosexual, gay, or lesbian”; 5.5% of women and 2.0% of men said they were bisexual; and 0.9% of women and 1% of men said “don’t know” or “refused” (i.e., “did not report”) on sexual orientation.
  • Sexual attraction and sexual orientation correlate closely but not completely with reports of sexual behavior. Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual orientation vary by age, marital or cohabiting status, education, and race and Hispanic origin.
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