Sexual intimacy is an essential part of every romantic relationship.
Sex statistics show that our actual sexual behavior differs a bit from common social expectations of how sexual relationships are “supposed to be.”
Overview of statistics on sex in the U.S.:
- The average American has sex about once a week, 54 times a year.
- Women have, on average, 4.3 sexual partners in lifetime, men 6.3 partners.
- About 9 in 10 Americans have sex before marriage.
- 81.6% of women don’t orgasm from vaginal sex alone.
- The average length of an erect penis is 5.16 Inches (13.12 cm).
- About 3 in 10 men in the U.S. don’t use a condom at first sex.
- The average intercourse lasts 5.4 minutes, 7-13 minutes considered “desirable.”
- Approximately 18.3 million adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT.
- The average age of first sexual intercourse in the U.S. is 17 years old.
1. The average American has sex about once a week, 54 times a year.
According to sex frequency statistics by Twenge and Colleagues published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the average American has sex about once a week, 54 times a year. (1)
|53.71 per year||55.96 per year||51.31 per year|
The sex study was based on the nationally representative General Social Survey of 26,620 participants, which is the largest study conducted and available to the public.
The study also uncovered a 14.4% decline in the sexual frequency of Americans between 2000 to 2014.
The results suggest that Americans are having sex less frequently due to:
- An increasing number of individuals without a steady or marital partner.
- A decline in sexual frequency among those with partners.
Previous findings were also confirmed by Ueda and Colleague’s research (2020) intercourse statistics published in the National Library of Medicine. (2)
|Marriage||Sexual inactivity||1-2 times|
The research also found that married couples have significantly more sex than unmarried couples (men 41% more and women 27.1% more).
The happiest couples have sex once a week, the optimal frequency.
According to research by Muise and Colleagues published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, the optimal threshold for sex-related happiness is once a week. (3)
The sexual behavior study found that couples who have sex more than once a week have no higher happiness levels than couples doing it once a week.
The empirical study was based on three studies and 30,645 participants.
2. Women have, on average, 4.3 sexual partners in lifetime, men 6.3 partners.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sexual partners statistics (2021), on average, adult women have 4.3 and men 6.3 opposite-sex sexual partners in a lifetime. (4)
|Ages 25-49||Sexual Partners|
The CDC Advance Data sexual partner study found that 97% of adult men and 98% of adult women have had sexual contact with opposite-sex partners (vaginal, anal, or oral). (5)
About 7% of adult men and 11% of adult women have had sexual contact with same-sex partners (vaginal, anal, or oral).
Women have 57% more same-sex sexual partners than men (7% vs. 11%).
|15 or more||28.3%||12.9%|
The sex partners statistics suggest that men have significantly more lifetime sexual partners than women. (4)
About 28.3% of adult American men have 15 or more sexual lifetime partners, while only 12.9% of adult American women have 15 or more partners.
3. About 9 in 10 Americans have sex before marriage.
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) premarital sex statistics, about 9 in 10 Americans have sex before marriage. (6)
|Premarital Sex||In 2002||In 2015|
The data also uncovered two interesting and notable trends.
Premarital sex among adult men is on a downward trend from 91.3% in 2002 to 89.9% in 2015.
Premarital sex among adult women is on an upward trend from 84.9% in 2022 to 88.8% in 2015.
Majority of the American public views premarital sex as acceptable.
According to Pew Research Center sex before marriage statistics, 65% of the American public views premarital sex as acceptable. (7)
|Premarital sex in a committed relationship||25%||9%||22%||43%|
|Casual sex, not in a relationship||24%||14%||32%||29%|
|Exchanging explicit images||33%||17%||25%||24%|
About half of U.S. adults (48%) say having an open relationship is never acceptable and 20% say it’s rarely acceptable.
Casual sex outside of a committed relationship is generally seen as acceptable (61%).
About 33% of adults say exchanging explicit images of themselves is never acceptable, while 24% view it as always acceptable.
Also, read about our porn statistics.
4. 81.6% of women don’t orgasm from vaginal sex alone.
According to female orgasm statistics by Herbernick and Colleagues (2018) published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 81.6% of women don’t orgasm from vaginal sex alone. (8)
|81.6% of women||36.6% of women||58.8% of women|
About 36.6% of women say clitoral stimulation is necessary for orgasm during intercourse.
The data also found that in 36% of women for whom clitoral stimulation is not needed, their orgasms feel better if their clitoris is stimulated during intercourse.
Another study by Herbernick and Colleagues (2019) found that 58.8% of women have ever faked an orgasm. (9)
The most common reasons for not talking about sex in explicit ways are not wanting to hurt a partner’s feelings (42.4%), not feeling comfortable going into detail (40.2%), and embarrassment (37.7%).
Lesbian women have a higher orgasm rate than straight women.
According to Garcia and Colleague’s orgasm statistics published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, lesbian women have a higher orgasm rate than straight women. (10)
Heterosexual women’s orgasm rate is 65%, while lesbian women orgasm rate is 86%.
The sex research data suggests that only 65% of heterosexual women, 66% of bisexual women, and 86% of lesbian women experience orgasms.
About 88% of bisexual men, 89% of gay men, and 95% of heterosexual men experience orgasms.
The study concluded that women, regardless of sexual orientation, have fewer orgasm experiences than men.
5. The average length of an erect penis is 5.16 Inches (13.12 cm).
According to penis size statistics by Veale and Colleagues published in the British Journal of Urology, the average length of an erect penis is 5.16 Inches (13.12 cm). (11)
The average girth of an erect penis is 4.59 inches (11.66 cm).
|Flaccid Length||Flaccid Girth||Erect Length||Erect Girth|
|3.61 in / 9.16 cm||3.66 in / 9.31 cm||5.16 in / 13.12 cm||4.59 in / 11.66 cm|
The average length of a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches (9.16 cm).
The average girth of a flaccid penis is 3.66 inches (9.31 cm).
The penis size study also found that smaller/larger outliers are rare.
Out of 100 men, only 5 would have a penis larger than 6.3 inches (16 cm) and only five would have a penis smaller than 3.94 inches (10 cm).
6. About 3 in 10 men in the U.S. don’t use a condom at first sex.
According to the latest available Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sex statistics in the U.S. (2019), 33.7% of American men don’t use a condom at first sex. (12)
|33.7% of men||66.3% of men||42.8% of women||57.2% of women|
The data is based on American men and women ages 15 to 44 years old.
About 33.7% of men in the U.S. use a condom at first sex.
Interestingly enough, 42.8% of women don’t use a condom at first sex, while 57.2% of women do.
The most common contraceptive methods are male condoms, pills, and withdrawal.
Despite the varied condom use among men and women at first sex, the most common contraceptive methods are male condoms (95%), pills (79.3%), and withdrawal (64.8%). (12)
|Method of Contraception||Percentage of Women|
|Calendar rhythm method||15.9%|
|Intrauterine device (IUD)||15.0%|
The contraceptive statistics suggest that 99.3% of sexually active women ages 15-44 use a method of contraception.
The least common contraceptive methods among women are emergency contraception (20%), contraceptive patches (10.6%), and intrauterine devices or IUDs (15%).
7. The average intercourse lasts 5.4 minutes, 7-13 minutes considered “desirable.”
According to sex duration statistics by Waldinger and Colleagues published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the median vaginal intercourse lasts 5.4 minutes. (13)
|Real Average||Too Short||Adequate||Desirable||Too long|
|5.4 minutes||1-2 minutes||3-7 minutes||7-13 minutes||10-30 minutes|
The length of sex study measured intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT), which is the time between the start of vaginal intromission and the start of intravaginal ejaculation.
The median IELT (vaginal sex length) decreased significantly with age, from 6.5 minutes (18-30 years group) to 4.3 minutes (group older than 51 years).
According to another sexual endurance study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Canadian and American sex therapists consider 7-13 minutes of intercourse as “desirable.” (14)
Sex therapists also considered intercourse of less than 3 minutes clinically concerning, 3-7 minutes as adequate, and over 10 minutes generally “too long.”
8. Approximately 18.3 million adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT.
According to the latest Gallup Analytics American sexuality statistics (2022), about 7.1% of adults (18.3 million) in the U.S. self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something other than heterosexual. (15, 16)
|Straight||LGBT 2022||LGBT 2012|
|86.3% of Americans||7.1% of Americans||3.5% of Americans|
The sexuality research found that 7.1% of U.S. adults consider themselves to be an LGBT identity, 86.3% say they are straight or heterosexual, and 6.6% of participants do not offer an opinion.
What’s notable is that the percentage of LGBT adults has more than doubled in the last decade, from 3.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2022.
Bisexual identification is most common among LGBT Americans.
Over half of LGBT Americans (57%) or 10.33 million American adults (4%) self-identify as bisexual. (15)
*Percentages total more than 100% because respondents may choose more than one category.
About 2.58 million Americans (1%) identify as lesbian, 3.87 million (1.5%) identify as gay, 1.81 million (0.7%) identify as transgender, and 774 thousand (0.3%) as something else.
9. The average age of first sexual intercourse in the U.S. is 17 years old.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sexual intercourse statistics, the average age of first sexual intercourse in the U.S. is 17 years old. (17)
|First Intercourse||Avg. Age||Ages 15-17||Ages 18-19|
The mean age at first intercourse after menarche for U.S. females aged 15-44 is 17.3 years.
The mean age at first intercourse after menarche for U.S. males aged 15-44 is 17.0 years.
CDC data also suggests that 62.9% of females have their first intercourse at 18-19 years old and 28.1% at 15-17 years old. (18)
And 64.3% of males have their first intercourse at 18-19 years old and 31.5% at 15-17 years old.
- Twenge, Jean & Sherman, Ryne & Wells, Brooke. (2017). Declines in Sexual Frequency among American Adults, 1989–2014. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 46. 10.1007/s10508-017-0953-1. Link
- Ueda P, Mercer CH, Ghaznavi C, Herbenick D. Trends in Frequency of Sexual Activity and Number of Sexual Partners Among Adults Aged 18 to 44 Years in the US, 2000-2018. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(6):e203833. Published 2020 Jun 1. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3833. Link
- Muise, A., Schimmack, U., & Impett, E. A. (2016). Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(4), 295–302. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – N Listing. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2005. Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15–44 Years of Age, United States. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – P Listing. Link
- Pew Research Center. 2020. Public attitudes about today’s dating landscape. Link
- Debby Herbenick, Tsung-Chieh (Jane) Fu, Jennifer Arter, Stephanie A. Sanders & Brian Dodge (2018) Women’s Experiences With Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44:2, 201-212, DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530. Link
- Herbenick, D., Eastman-Mueller, H., Fu, Tc. et al. Women’s Sexual Satisfaction, Communication, and Reasons for (No Longer) Faking Orgasm: Findings from a U.S. Probability Sample. Arch Sex Behav 48, 2461–2472 (2019). Link
- Garcia, J.R., Lloyd, E.A., Wallen, K. and Fisher, H.E. (2014), Orgasm Occurrence by Sexual Orientation. J Sex Med, 11: 2645-2652. Link
- Veale, D., Miles, S., Bramley, S., Muir, G. and Hodsoll, J. (2015), Nomograms for flaccid/erect penis length and circumference. BJU Int, 115: 978-986. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – C Listing. Link
- Waldinger MD, Quinn P, Dilleen M, Mundayat R, Schweitzer DH, Boolell M. A multinational population survey of intravaginal ejaculation latency time. J Sex Med. 2005 Jul;2(4):492-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2005.00070.x. PMID: 16422843. Link
- Eric W. Corty, PhD, Jenay M. Guardiani, BS. 2005. Canadian and American Sex Therapists’ Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculatory Latencies: How Long Should Intercourse Last? Link
- Gallup Analytics. 2022. LGBT Identification in the U.S. Ticks Up to 7.1%. Link
- United States Census Bureau. 2021. New Vintage 2021 Population Estimates Available for the Nation, States, and Puerto Rico. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – S Listing. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth – T Listing. Link