Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sex among the married

Whites

Blacks



Remember this scene from "Annie Hall"?


[Alvy and Annie are seeing their therapists at the same time on a split screen]

Alvy Singer's Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie Hall's Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy Singer: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie Hall: [annoyed] Constantly. I'd say three times a week.


You hear all the time about how married couples have sex three times a week. I always thought that sounded a bit high because there is a woman involved. (In the case of "Annie Hall", three times a week sounds high with a man involved who looks like Woody Allen).

Based on more than 11,000 GSS cases, I generated the two graphs above. The top one--whites--shows that 2-3 times a week is modal for couples in their twenties, but "weekly" becomes modal by the time the couple is in their forties. and even when it's modal, it's still well under 50%. And even among twenty-somethings, there's a detectable number who have sex once a month or less.

You can see even more of those types among blacks (lower graph). But, on the other hand, 2-3 times a week is modal until married blacks are retirement age.

I also looked to see if men were giving different stories than women. For whites, the only difference was that elderly men are less willing to admit they never have sex. For blacks, more men of all ages report that they have sex four or more times a week and fewer admit to having sex once a month or less. This could be evidence for male cheating--the question asks about frequency of sex, but does not specify with one's spouse--or just exaggeration.

11 comments:

FeministX said...

Most of my female friends have sex every day. I find this weird- hard to believe almost. I prefer to have sex 2-3 times a day. I don't understand what people do at night before they go to sleep if they are not having sex.

Anonymous said...

Ron said,

"(In the case of "Annie Hall", three times a week sounds high with a man involved who looks like Woody Allen)."

LOL. As a woman, I couldn't agree more.

BTW, sure wish Woody still made movies like "Annie Hall" and "Hannah and Her Sisters," my favorite.

Jokah Macpherson said...

The lesson to take from this is to marry a black person?

Ron Guhname said...

The lesson to take from this is to marry Feminist X.

Dick Cabeza said...

"I don't understand what people do at night before they go to sleep if they are not having sex."

Then there are those like Monty Capuletti: "I don't know how to go to sleep, I just know how to pass out. I mean, what do people do when they're not getting loaded?"

(H/T: Easy Money, 1983. Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci. Writers: P.J. O'Rourke, among others.)

Black Sea said...

"I don't understand what people do at night before they go to sleep if they are not having sex."

They read stories to their kids.

Anonymous said...

Good post. It would be interesting to measure frequency of sex by duration of marriage.

Is the decrease in sex because of aging or the length of the marriage?

Zylonet said...

--"I don't understand what people do at night before they go to sleep if they are not having sex."

They read stories to their kids.--

I have kids and I don't sleep without a release. You put the kids down, then get down with the wife. I think I have fallen asleep fewer than 20 times in the past 20 years without a release.

SFG said...

"The lesson to take from this is to marry Feminist X."

You know she's gay right?

green mamba said...

"I think I have fallen asleep fewer than 20 times in the past 20 years without a release."

I feel like the guy who gives John Cusack a ride in 'The Sure Thing': "I hope you appreciate the magnitude of your impending good fortune".

Except your good fortune is not impending, it's in the past, present and future.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I am a physician, and I have many AA patients in their 60s and 70s, even with serious illnesses and physical limitations, requesting drugs for ED. Whites do but not so often, usually only the healthy ones. Hispanics and Asians, never.