COLLEGE GRADUATES HAVE THE BEST JOBS, BUT THEY ALSO HAVE SEX LESS OFTEN THAN AVERAGE AMERICANS. The average adult reports having sex about once a week. But 1 in 5 Americans has been celibate for at least a year, and 1 in 20 engages in sex at least every other day.
American Demographics: Why are we so fascinated with sex?Professor Student: Because sex embellishes most of life. It sells everything from newspapers to toothpaste. The pursuit of it has humbled heads of state, terminated promising careers, and brought fame and shame to lots of ordinary people. Americans may be obsessed with sex. But they are also full of misunderstanding about sexual activity because few representative surveys have asked them about their own sexual habits. Sex has not been the topic of many surveys, so not much is actually known about who does what with whom, and how often.
Even surveys that might include sexual activity miss most of it.
In 1965, the Americans' Use of Time Study asked 2,000 adults to fill out diaries that listed everything they did for a week, and how long they spent doing it. The closest reference to sex came from one man who reported "sleeping with a friend." Sex has been mentioned more often in subsequent waves of this survey, but the reported diary activity averages less than ten minutes a week. Either a lot of activity goes unreported or these respondents are exceptionally lonely.
How do you know these diary estimates are too low?Because more accurate data on the sexual activity of the American public have been collected by social scientists at the University of Chicago. Their most concentrated effort was Sex in America, based on a 1992 study totally dedicated to the topic. That work established that Americans are relatively inactive.