Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth

Natl Health Stat Report. 2011 Mar 3;(36):1-36.

Abstract

Objective: This report presents national estimates of several measures of sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity among males and females aged 15-44 years in the United States, based on the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). These data are relevant to demographic and public health concerns, including fertility and sexually transmitted infections among teenagers and adults. Data from the 2006-2008 NSFG are compared with data from the 2002 NSFG and other national surveys.

Methods: Data for 2006-2008 were collected through in-person interviews with a national sample of 13,495 males and females in the household population of the United States. The measures presented in this report were collected using audio computer-assisted self interviewing (ACASI), in which the respondent enters his or her own answers into the computer without telling them to an interviewer. The overall response rate for the 2006-2008 NSFG was 75%.

Results: Sexual behaviors among males and females aged 15-44 based on the 2006-2008 NSFG were generally similar to those reported based on the 2002 NSFG. Among adults aged 25-44, about 98% of women and 97% of men ever had vaginal intercourse, 89% of women and 90% of men ever had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, and 36% of women and 44% of men ever had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner. Twice as many women aged 25-44 (12%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetimes compared with men (5.8%). Among teenagers aged 15-19, 7% of females and 9% of males have had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, but no vaginal intercourse. Sexual attraction and identity correlates closely but not completely with reports of sexual behavior. Sexual behaviors, attraction, and identity vary by age, marital or cohabiting status, education, and race and Hispanic origin.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Surveys
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult