Monday, July 26, 2010

Now here's a question looking for answers ...

Let me ask you; are Australians so different from Americans when it comes to their sex lives?

This question came up when I read an article on the results from a recent AARP survey about the sexual habits of Americans over the age of 50. AARP is the American Association of Retired Persons, a highly politicized organization open for a nominal annual membership fee to anyone 50 years or older.

In the interest of fairness I’ll admit that once, a couple lifetimes ago, for a brief time I was a member. About six month, as I recall, until I found myself disagreeing with the club’s lobbying efforts on something I didn’t like in Congress. Yes, AARP is almost as powerful as the gun lobby when it comes to working on the Washington, D.C. power structure.

But that has nothing to do with this survey, does it. With a membership base in the multi-millions such questionnaires usually get a huge response. I don’t know how many people answered the survey questions, but that doesn’t really matter either. My reason for sharing what I got from the results is to give you something to think about. Here are my comments on parts of it.

Let me begin by saying I wasn’t able to get the entire survey although I hit the website address a couple times. No worries. I took enough from articles on the results to make this interesting. I hope.

First off, the numbers and percentages when it came to such things as oral sex, sex for men or women over 70, and things like that, will not be part of the discussion. Even the subject of same-sex sex was reported on only briefly. However, a few things that did interest me. One of these was the point that of those responding, more than half were married and only 5% were not but were in a committed relationship. Makes me wonder, do married people like to talk about their sex lives more than others?

Three percent of the respondents marked the single and aren’t dating box and a whopping ten percent of the singletons were actively dating. Again, maybe only married people are having sex. I could make a personal comment on that but I won’t.

Don’t forget, these numbers and percentages are all from the US. It is possible that below the equator things are different.

Going back to the 54% married group, more than half said their partners were “imaginative about sex.” Not having any information about oral sex, s/m, bestiality or really any kind of sex, we don’t know what that means, do we. Imaginative about sex. Maybe this is a good place to explain my belief that whatever it is, it’s only kinky the first time.

Here’s an interesting statistic; even with 30% bragging about their partner being imaginative, 46% said they were less satisfied with their sex life that they were ten years ago. Wow. Well, that goes to prove that the young get and enjoy more sex than us oldies. Again, I won’t give a personal editorial on that fact.

Something else that makes me wonder about those 30% people, and I have to assume they know who they are, more than twice that number said they never discussed their sexual fantasies with their partners. Again, wow. Does that mean everything in bed for these people is just guess work? Or maybe I’m the only person in the world, or the US at least, who has that type of fantasy. Oh, you did know that I am American by birth, didn’t you? Well, let me tell you, even back then, when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I had wondrous sexual fantasies. Did I share them with my wives and/or lady friends? You bet.

But now I am an Aussie and my passport proves it. Do I share now? Not going to say. After all, we’re talking about a survey of US people.
Okay, back to business. Of those taking part in the survey, eight percent of the men and two percent of the women said they have a same-sex partner. It is possibly more, in real life, I don’t know. It is also possible that gay people don’t like to talk about their sex lives.

Anyone reading any of my earlier lectures knows I have a real interest in men, and especially women, who are in or near my age group in so far as their sex lives are concerned. In the US, between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of people in their 50s who say they have sex at least once a week dropped 10% for both sexes. For women the percentage went from 43 to 32 percent. For men it was 49 to 41. Most other age groups reportedly saw a drop in the frequency of sex too, so it wasn’t just that group. Think about it, does your sex life fit this trend?

The AARP survey indicated that people aren’t real happy about it, either. It found that 43% of older Americans say they are satisfied with their sex lives, down 51% in 2004, while the percentage of those who are dissatisfied increased. No numbers on exactly how many, but dissatisfied is dissatisfied.

Why, you wonder. Well, prudishness might be a factor. But then take into account that the number of Americans in the 45 age group believing only married people should have sex years old has plummeted., from 41% in 1999 to 22% in 2009. Americans are, take my word for it, a lot more prudish than Aussies … or on second thought, no they aren’t.

Okay then, what is the root cause? Well, money worries sap sex and with the recent world financial crisis, local unemployment and growing chance of foreclosures in the US, it’s quite likely that everyone up in the big country has money worries

Enough of that, let’s talk a bit about everyone’s permanent sex partner, the one we’re all born with … self-love. For men it’s old Lady Palm and her five daughters. (I heard that description when I was young and na├»ve and never forgot it. It took a long time for me to understand it, but I still remember it.)

Nearly a quarter of all Americans 45 years old said they engage in what was called in the survey “self-stimulation” weekly. That figure was nearly the same as compared to six years ago. It isn’t surprising, to me anyhow, that men are more devotees of this practice than women. I don’t know why I think that but I do.

Among people in their 50s, about 42% of men and 15% of women say they indulge, whether “about once a week” or “more than once a week.” Interesting, don’t you agree? Wonder where you fit in this category.

A little more on the sex lives of those funny Yanks – single Americans in the 45 group who are dating have more sex than their married counterparts. And from all indications, have a better love life all around.

It was shown that 48% of singles with regular partners have sex at least once a week, compared to only 36% of married folks. It’s no surprise, I suppose, that sixty percent say they are satisfied with their sex lives while 52% of their married friends make the same claim. Nineteen percent of the single-but-not-dating crowd said they were sexually satisfied. Now that makes me wonder.

Oh, and how about cheating on your partner. Just under a quarter of the men taking the survey admitted they cheated during a current or recent long-term relationship. For women the number was 11%. When asked about their partners, 12% of both men and women said their partners cheated. That seems to me to indicate that women are a bit more optimistic about their men’s whereabouts at times.

So what damage did all this cheating cause to the relationship? Not much, apparently. About 40% of the respondents reported it had no effect at all while another 30% thought it caused only temporary tension. A mere handful, 6% or less, said it was a fatal blow.

More than half of the females, 60%, said their stepping out had no effect on their relationship. Nine percent of those commented that it made their sex lives worse. Things were a little different among the men, though. Just under a quarter, 24%, say it had no impact on the relationship and 40% indicated it made their sex lives worse. I suppose there’s a lesson in that, but somehow I can’t quite see what it is. Did I ever cheat? Uhmmmm.

So what is this all about that I’m writing about it? Go back to my opening question: are people up there in the states different than your true-blue Aussie when it comes to sex? In the years I’ve been living down here in the Land DownUnder, I have been lucky enough to share a sexual relationship of one sort or another with … well, not a large enough percentage of Australian women for me to know.

Guess I’ll have to work on that, or wait until the AAPR, the Aussie Association of Retired People, conduct a national survey.

Anyone would like to comment on this, or any of my rantings, are more than welcome. I'm just not sure if this is a good idea, opening that door, but let's try it.

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