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In and Out 

The 2011 Seven Days Sex Survey Results



Last fall, Men’s Health magazine named Burlington one of America’s most sex-unhappy cities, second only to frigid Portland, Maine. Clearly, the magazine’s editors hadn’t read Seven Days readers’ gleefully filthy responses to our biennial sex survey. Nor had they bothered to peek into the bedrooms of the randy rural residents beyond the Queen City.

Frankly, readers, you shocked us. And that’s not easy to do.


Seven Days' 1499 Survey Respondents Are:

56% female
43% male
0.6% M-F trans
0.7% F-M trans
0.3% unsure/other
4% 19 or younger
45% 20-29
26% 30-39
14% 40-49
9% 50-59
2% 60-69
0.3% 70 or older
78% hetero
12% bisexual
6.5% gay/lesbian
3% unsure/other (pansexual, queer, heteroflexible)
0.2% asexual
44% Democrat
31% independent
9% other (from “anarchist” to “commie” to “ILOVERMONT”)
8.5% Progressive
7% Republican
1% Tea Partier
34% partnered/married and content
26% going steady
17% single and loving it
16% single and sad about it
6% partnered/married and discontent

So, who are you? The majority of our 1499 respondents came from roughly the same demographic as they did two years ago: women in their twenties, often leaning politically to the left. We heard from a lot more bisexuals this year and even reached a sprinkling of Tea Partiers. (Just so you know, those folks reportedly never fake orgasms and love a full bush.)

The biggest surprises? We know the localvore movement is huge in Vermont, but we were amazed to discover that your passion for fresh produce has spread straight to your loins. More than a third of you admit to having sex with a fruit or vegetable. So, which is it? Do you prefer carrots? Watermelon? Daikon radishes? And do you eat them afterward? You’d better believe we’ll ask you about it the next time around.

Some of you seem rather delighted to discover you enjoy “butt stuff,” as one het college student elegantly put it. And we uncovered a peculiar new fetish: masturbating into your coworkers’ wastebaskets. Again and again, this specific desire came up in your stories and responses. We scratched our heads and nudged our trash receptacles farther under our desks.

We should note that this is not a super-scientific survey. For example, math sticklers may notice that the accumulated percentages don’t always add up to 100. That’s because we rounded to the nearest whole number, unless the fraction was exactly half a percentage point or less than zero. We note when less than half of our respondents answered a question. On the other hand, we didn’t make this stuff up.

Really, it’s all about the stories.

So, fasten on those nipple clamps or settle in with your honey, and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget the cucumber.

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In a word, I would describe my first time as:


We get it; it was awkward. You didn’t know where to put it. You came before you could get your clothes off. Sure, it was enlightening, but it was also painful. Many of you say the ordeal was embarrassing (and most of you misspelled the word). Some of you get graphic: sticky, bloody, drafty, gory, clinical, rigid and unlubricated. You had blackouts and brownouts. But it wasn’t all bad. One person had a “sonorous” experience. A few go so far as to call their first lays prophetic, healing or patriotic. Other experiences were imprudent, sneaky or illegal.

A few of you are moved to create your own words: “cumtastic,” “subtastic,” “superbowltastic” and — one of our favorites — “unclimactical.” And, yes, many of you ignore the request to sum up the experience in a single word. A “federal officer” in his forties has this to say: “I remember she had a cold butt.” A fortysomething HR manager says her first time was “degrading, humiliating and fabulous.” She had an orgasm. But no one has as much aplomb as the unemployed, thirtysomething guy who lost his virginity in his early twenties: “Fucked at last! Fucked at last! Lord almighty, fucked at last!”

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I am most turned on by the following body part:

22% eyes
17% ass
16% chest/breasts
16% other
12% mouth/lips
6% genitals
6% hands
4% legs
0.2% feet

If you were hoping to break free of gender stereotypes with this one, tough luck. Looks like women love eyes and men love ass: Thirty percent of women go with the windows to the soul, while 32 percent of men choose the soul’s back door. For the record, the trans crew also voted overwhelmingly for the rear (36 percent).

Many of those who check off “other” offer some variation on “It’s a whole-person thing,” “Who the person is, a kind heart” or the slightly judgmental “I don’t think of women as a collection of body parts.” Great. Neither do we. But there are certain parts of a body of any gender — the intensity of eyes, the roughness of hands, the buoyancy of the perfect rump — that can upstage even the kindest heart.

We omitted some key body bits in the original list. Luckily, we have you to fill in the gaps: You laud the shoulders, back, hips, forearms, teeth, abs, hair, neck, jawline and, of course, face. No one offers such a poetic description of their aesthetic desires, however, as this Progressive, bisexual student in her twenties: “Geometry and movement — also, collarbones.”

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So far, I have had sex with ___ people (oral, anal and vaginal).

0.9% none
5% 1
22% 2-5
19% 6-10
14% 11-15
10% 16-20
11.5% 21-30
5% 31-40
2% 41-50
9.5% more than 50

One thirtysomething, hetero woman writes out her entire list of conquests along the top of her paper survey ballot. The list, 23 flings scratched in pencil, is riddled with question marks and missing last initials: Matthew. Arnie. Bill? No, Bob. That guy in the train station bathroom in France

It’s not always easy to tally your lays. So, who are these people with more than 50 notches on their belts? About two-thirds of them are men, mostly in their thirties and forties. About half are straight — one claims, paradoxically, to be asexual. And get this: About 65 percent of them have had sex with someone else’s current partner in the past year. This is a busy bunch.

What about those people who have had only one partner? Two-thirds are women, mostly in their twenties, so perhaps they’re just beginning to spread their, uh, wild oats. None of them is gay; 11 percent are bisexual.

Finally, notice the spike between the 41-50 and the 50-plus groups. Are people exaggerating? Or did they just lose count?

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I have masturbated...

76% while my partner watched
69% in a car
51% at work
49% while typing with the other hand
43.5% while my dog/cat watched
23% while talking on the phone with someone I know but have no sexual feelings for
14% at the library
13% on a plane
10% in a movie theater

When a twentysomething bisexual pizza chef was about 7, her mom took her to the doctor to ask if there was something wrong with her — she was masturbating too much. “[The doctor] said that if it wasn’t interfering with my social life, I was fine.” Turned out, she was fine. Let’s hope none of your masturbating in public places is messing with your social lives, either.

Or your driving.

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In the past year, I...

49.5% had sex with my ex
39% had sex with someone else’s current partner/spouse
33% cheated on my significant other
24% was cheated on by my significant other
20% had sex with someone whose name I don’t know
17% had sex with a friend’s ex
(About 40 percent of respondents answered.)

Men are the most likely to have had anonymous sex — 30 percent of them did so in the last year, compared with 13 percent of women. Ditto on screwing someone else’s current partner — 44 percent of men, 36 percent of women. Still, it’s the ladies, in this survey’s open-ended sections, who tell the hottest stories of anonymity and adultery.

A twentysomething, bisexual, Republican girl “hooked up with a British guy in the locker room of his hotel. No names, lots of tequila. Trying to find the nearest private place possible.” A happily married, thirtysomething “Republitarian,” who identifies as hetero, says she had sex this year with her ex-boyfriend’s wife. “He was abusing her and we took a little trip to the beach to get away for a few hours,” she writes. “We started fooling around while driving and ended up pulling over at a rest stop to complete the fooling around.”

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I have had an orgasm.

97% true
3% false

Just because you’re having sex doesn’t mean you’re getting off. Women in their twenties make up the majority of those who report they’ve never had an orgasm. But they still have plenty of time to figure it out. Just ask Taylor Momsen.

Still, a handful of women in their thirties and forties also say they’ve never come. Interestingly, most of them are masturbating — in cars and in front of their partners. Three men, too, say they’ve never had an orgasm and that they fake it every time.

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I fake orgasms:

59% never
39% sometimes
2% always

You want to know who the biggest fakers are? We’re looking at you, Democrats and bisexuals. Roughly 47 percent of our bi respondents say they sometimes pull a Meg Ryan; 3 percent say they always do; the other orientations hover between 37 and 41 percent “sometimes” and zero and 2 percent “always.”

Those on the political right are less likely to fake it — or, at least, to own up to it. Fifty-four percent of Democrats say they never fake, compared with 68 percent of Republicans and 76.5 percent of Tea Partiers.

More than half of our female respondents admit they sometimes come for show, and a good 20 percent of men say the same. Still, a quick look at the age distribution shows that faking it becomes less common as you get older.

It’s a hard act to keep up.

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If I fake orgasms, I do it:

64% to get the whole thing over with
59% to boost my partner’s confidence
33% because I’m too embarrassed to tell my partner he/she doesn’t know how to get me off

Women are much more likely to fake it on behalf of their partner’s ego; men, to get it over with; our very small trans sample, because they’re too embarrassed.

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When it comes to pubic hair, I prefer that my partner:

63% keep that area trimmed and tidy
14.5% have a full bush
10% stay baby-butt smooth with regular Brazilians
8% work a rotation of various pubic stylings
4% have a landing strip
0.7% get vajazzled

Clearly, this is a generational issue. Full bushes are steadily less attractive as the respondents get younger. The exception are the Tea Partiers, who are much more likely to enjoy losing themselves in a mossy crotch.

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My main form of birth control is:

30% condoms
28% the pill or other hormonal treatment
13% menopause
12% other
10% the pull-out method
9% IUD
9% vasectomy

We made one pretty obvious omission here, which many of you pointed out in the “other” field: being gay. Forgive us?

A desk jockey and artist in her thirties writes, rather defensively, “I know my fucking cycle.” Another woman is much kinder about it, suggesting some reading on the subject: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

A “crime fighter” in his forties says he doesn’t have to worry about birth control because he just “jerks off into the trash can at work.” And then there’s the fortysomething, bisexual woman — occupation: “hoe” — who simply writes, “Pray to God.” Good luck with that.

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The sex position that reliably gets me off is ____.

Woof woof. Of all the positions your dirty little minds can conjure up, more than 35 percent of you choose doggy-style — although you’re equally divided on whether to spell it with a “y” or an “ie.” (We’re siding with Snoop Dogg on this one and going with the “y.”)

“I like grabbing onto a nice hot little ass while I plow away,” writes a Progressive, hetero fortysomething, who says his occupation is a secret. A happily married farmer in his twenties takes his lady from behind in front of a mirror. And a college student says he likes doing it “while listening to Doggystyle.” Totally meta, brah.

You also love doing it cowgirl/boy, as well as the reverse and reclined versions. A married business owner in his thirties loves “reverse cowgirl on the edge of the bed, using her arms like reins.” Hot.

Plenty of you tell us your loyalties still lie with “plain ol’ missionary.” You’re kind of apologetic about it, though. “Sorry, but it’s true,” says a single-and-sad-about-it teacher in her twenties. A single, twentysomething gay guy types the word and follows it with a frowny emoticon. “Missionary, believe it or not,” admits a bisexual grad student in her thirties.

You love 69, spooning (someone calls it, adorably, “side dog”), standing, against a wall and scissoring. Many of you dig throwing your legs up over your partner’s shoulders, or, as a gay technical writer in his fifties puts it somewhat technically, “getting plowed.”

A hetero engineer in his thirties links to the Men’s Health Position Master ( and says his favorite is downward dog. Look it up.

For many of you, eye contact matters most. “Anything face to face,” writes a fiftysomething, gay man. A lesbian in her thirties, however, manages to capture the general feel: “I just like to play well with a partner and see where things end up,” she writes. “However, I do like the rear view sometime.”

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The most ambitious sex position I’ve tried is ____.


“Sex isn’t about gymnastics,” scolds a meteorologist in his fifties. He should try telling that to the rest of you.

Whether you’re pinning your honey against the shower wall, lifting your partner in the air or perching precariously on a ledge, fucking while at least one of you is standing is your list topper. “Picture doggie in the air,” writes a bisexual homemaker in her thirties. “I’m on my elbows and my partner has my legs wrapped around their waist, holding my pelvis, thrusting me.”

Coming in second is the reverse cowgirl/boy. A twentysomething, het manager guy describes the scene thusly: “Me seated in a gondola at Stowe, her on top in reverse cowgirl, trying to bounce up and down with ski boots on.” That must have been quite a view.

Many of you name 69 as your most ambitious position (some of those were standing versions with one partner doing a headstand). A fortysomething, gay man did it on a staircase. You’ve done “superman doggie,” whatever that is, and various inverted positions: the upside-down train, horse and whirlygig. You mention the wheelbarrow, and a few tried it on a swing.

You’re familiar with the special acrobatics required to screw in a car. A het carpenter in his forties says his partner rode him while he drove 65 miles an hour on I-89 in a snowstorm. Makes for a good story, even if it isn’t true.

You love boning on the edges of things: beds, couches, chairs, bathtubs, kitchen stoves, windows, cliffs — a thirtysomething, lesbian cook did it “doggystyle over the edge of a sleigh bed with a strap-on.”

But, although you boast of romps on a diving board and atop a city bus, your ambitious pursuits often humble you by causing cramps, bruises and black eyes. A het chef in her twenties tried anal while balanced on a sink — until it broke right off the wall.

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In the past year I:

82% sexted someone
34.5% had sex with someone I met through a website
10% found the love of my life through a personals website
7% exposed myself on Chatroulette
5% uploaded a video of myself masturbating or having sex to an amateur porn website
(About half of respondents answered.)

Sexting isn’t just for the kids anymore. Looks like plenty of you through the age of 60 have discovered the unique thrill of snapping a quick nudie shot or shooting a naughty text to the object of your desire. One of our fortysomething, het women “took a pic while naked in bed of my breasts and texted it to my partner, who was downstairs,” she writes.

Just make sure it doesn’t end up on the Internet — unless you’re into that kind of thing.

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I watch porn:

11% never
35% once in a great while
15% once a month
25% once a week
15% every day
0.2% all day long

Looks like Progressives are more likely to have a daily appetite for porn. The genders break down as one would expect: Most men consume it once a week, most women once in a great while. Happily partnered, straight women make up the bulk of the “never” category. Who’s watching smut all day long? Oh, you know, single dudes in their thirties.

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I enjoy the following types of porn:

70% woman on woman
37% interracial
35% gang bang
33% MILF
26% BDSM
25% man on man
23% bareback
19% other
16% animated
14% bukkake
11% plus size
10% hairy
8% pegging
8% transsexual
8% watersports
2% small penis
1% albino
0.9% menstrual

Given the array of filthy options we presented, it’s astounding to discover there are still more subgenres of porn! Besides “normal” porn — which many of you write in without elaborating on what exactly that means — you like written erotica, women masturbating, age play, cuckold scenes, tittyfucking and redheads. A gay teacher in his thirties likes to watch “two guys with really different penis sizes,” while a fiftysomething het hydrologist opts for “tasteful nudes.”

And what list would be complete without a single fiftysomething het guy’s “zombies, vampires and bloody nipples”?

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My favorite thing about porn is:

Instant gratification. Most of you porn lovers agree that its single best feature is the ease with which you can access it. Oh, yeah, and it’s free. (Does anyone still pay for it? We should have asked.) “I watch it on the same machine I pay my bills and fill out sex surveys on,” notes a fortysomething, happily married, gay man.

You love the swiftness with which porn makes you wet and hard. “It gets me off faster than my boyfriend does (which is not at all),” says a twentysomething student in a steady het relationship. Ouch. A single-and-sad-about-it teacher in her twenties says she likes “picking up some tips [from] something that’s more real than movie ‘love scenes.’”

The voyeurism is also a big selling point. “Hearing men cum,” writes a freelancer in her twenties. “My partner doesn’t make much noise and I love hearing the sounds of orgasm.” And, of course, anonymity is key. Writes an unhappily married carpenter in his twenties, somewhat tragically, “You can turn it off when you’re done.”

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The worst thing about porn is:

“The sleaze factor,” writes a fortysomething, hetero woman with a steady beau, and many of you agree: Porn can make you feel dirty (and not in a good way), inadequate and guilty. After all, you note, the industry tends to be exploitive and degrading to women. You don’t like the violence or the nasty cumshots.

Plus, the scenes — even in amateur porn — often seem staged and fake. You bitch about the cheesy music, the bad storylines and acting, even the poor production quality. You don’t like ugly people starring in your porn, but you also hate when the actors are too good looking. What really gets to you, though, are the fake orgasms, especially when they come from women you know aren’t enjoying themselves.

“It really irritates me and turns me off when I’m watching porn and the guy is making no effort to stimulate the woman,” writes a twentysomething, M-F nonprofit professional. “When you can tell that someone hates what’s going on,” writes a single gay guy in his thirties. A twentysomething, hetero female who works the front desk of a hotel hates “watching a girl get fingered by another girl with wicked long manicured nails.” Yowza!

Also, as many of you point out, porn is addictive. And that anonymity and voyeurism you love? They have a downside in the form of loneliness. A twentysomething, bisexual stay-at-home mom laments simply, “I don’t get to join in!”

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I cannot live without my:

58% vibrator
34% other
20% dildo
10% butt plug
9% cock ring
5.5% anal beads
5% nipple clamps
2% artificial vagina
(About a third of respondents answered.)

Many who filled in the “other” category boast that you “don’t need any of these,” that you just need the “real deal penis (man attached),” or that you needn’t look farther than your own hand — and computer. A Progressive, het teen says all she needs is her electric toothbrush. And a bisexual, fortysomething, unhappily married man shares, “Clothespins, soiled panties stored in a Ziploc bag.”

Still, plenty of you love your toys, with or without a partner. A fortysomething guy says he used not one but three dildos on his wife simultaneously — happily married, indeed. A single grad student in her twenties found a way to ride out her sexual dry spell: “I have discreetly worn nipple clamps to work for my own pleasure.”

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I have had:

51% HPV
31% chlamydia
27% crabs
20% herpes
6.5% gonorrhea
3% syphilis
(Only twenty percent of respondents answered.)

These numbers speak for themselves. Be safe out there!

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I have:

78.5% had sex in a public place
70% had anal sex
44% had sex multiple times in one day with different partners
38.5% had sex with more than one person at the same time
15% peed on someone or been peed on
9% paid for sex
6% pegged someone or been pegged
3% taken a class or seen a sex worker to improve my skills
1% pooped on someone or been pooped on

You sure do love getting freaky. ’Nuff said.

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I perform oral sex:

55% as often as possible
43.5% occasionally
2% never

If you’re looking for a little head, look no further than the men in our survey. More than 65 percent say they leap at every opportunity to go down on their partner; 51 percent of women say the same.

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When I perform oral sex on a partner, it’s usually:

93% because I love making my partner feel good
71% because it turns me on
19% because my partner begs me for it
13% to butter up my partner so I can get something out of her/him
4% to make up for something mean I said
1% because I can keep my virginity that way

When it comes to oral sex, the gay/lesbian crowd seems to have the purest intentions. They’re much more likely to go down on a partner because it turns both them and their partner on.

Who’s keeping their virginity with a blow-job-only policy? Mostly het women in their twenties, independents and Tea Partiers.

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Anal sex is:

42% kind of fun every once in a while
20% gross
19% too painful to be an option
13% a regular offering on my sexual menu
7% great, as long as the person on the bottom has just showered/done an anal douche
1% the only way I get off

One het, fortysomething couple — who filled out a single paper survey as a team — has anal sex every Sunday night, “to brace ourselves for the workweek.” Unusual, considering the definite discrepancy between men’s and women’s views of rear entry.

Men are a lot more eager to offer regular anal sex — 18 percent of them say so, to women’s 9 percent. Women more often find it gross and painful, especially those in their twenties.

If you’re in that category, you may want to skip over some of the embarrassing sexual moments. If there’s one thing we learned from this survey, it’s that when you’re messing around with butt sex, there’s always the possibility of “cum-covered turds.”

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An open relationship:

47% sounds great but never works out
29% is cheating in disguise
19% only works if you set a lot of rules
6% is the key to happiness

Progressives are more likely to be hopeful about open relationships, as long as rules and boundaries are set, while Republicans are much more likely to feel it’s cheating in disguise. Who believes it’s the key to happiness? Mostly married men in their twenties.

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When I have sex, I fantasize about someone other than my partner:

47% occasionally
37% never
13% only when I’m bored
3% every time

Republicans are a definitive bunch. Just as they’re the most likely to say they never fake orgasms, so they’re also the most likely to claim they never let their minds drift during the act — say, to Jon Hamm and his five o’clock shadow, slamming someone against the wall in the dimly lit corridor of a hotel bar.

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If I knew my partner were fantasizing about someone else while we were having sex, I would feel:

“Like cutting his dick off with a dull spoon,” writes a happily married childcare professional in her twenties. Nearly 60 percent of those who answer this question respond negatively — though not all with as much violence. You write that the discovery would make you feel insecure, inadequate, used, jealous, insulted, sad or betrayed. Many say it would be a deal breaker. “Leave her … quick,” writes a hetero teen. Perhaps acceptance comes with age and experience? A happily married, bisexual teacher in her twenties says, “Maybe annoyed, until I forget about it. Which is bound to happen, because he’s a damn good lay.”

And then there are the 12 percent who say they would see opportunity in the revelation. “Let’s talk about it and use it to get us going!” writes a married, fiftysomething Republican who works in defense. These folks say they’d be intrigued and titillated and want to hear more. A married, bisexual psychologist says she would feel inspired to “step it up a notch.” And a fiftysomething tech guy, also married, writes, “free to pound her harder!” A lesbian writer in her thirties finds the bright side, albeit in a self-deprecating way: “Happy that she was distracted from my overgrown bush.”

The other nearly 30 percent don’t feel strongly one way or the other. “Who cares? I got some,” writes a hetero, Republican restaurant manager. It’s human nature to fantasize, others say (except, of course, for those who answered “never” in the previous question). Many of you would probably feel relieved you’re not the only one doing it.

A Republican, twentysomething writer, single and itching for a girlfriend, echoes many respondents’ sentiments when he points out that it depends on who the object of the fantasy is. “If it was someone I knew, I’d be a little jealous,” he writes. “If it were Jon Hamm, I would understand.” (So would we.) And a single guy with a research job offers words that seem wise for his twentysomething years: “It depends on who my partner is, and whether we’ve laughed about it before.”

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I tell my partner about my fantasies while we’re having sex:

57% sometimes
38.5% never
4.5% always

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I sometimes have fantasies that wouldn’t be ethical to act on.

53.5% true
46.5% false

Tea Partiers are less likely to agree with this statement — only 37.5 percent. Men agree quite a bit more than women — 62 and 47 percent, respectively. Looks like when you get older, you start lusting after more forbidden fruit — or at least admitting it: Seventy-five percent of seventysomethings say “true,” while only 46 percent of twentysomethings do.

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I believe the ideal relationship is a monogamous one.

75% true
25% false

Men and women, whatever their age, are equally apt to hold monogamy as the gold standard, but hets are a lot more likely to exalt monogamy than are the gay and lesbian crowd — 82 percent of hets agree with the statement, compared with 65.5 percent of gays. Bisexuals, however, are the only group where the majority — 51 percent — does not believe monogamy is the best bet.

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Having sex in the guest room when you’re staying with a friend is:

54% fine, if you’re quiet and strip the bed the next morning
36% perfectly acceptable
7% totally rude
3% only OK if you invite the friend to join

So, go ahead, do it at your friend’s house. Just muffle your screams, please.

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Having sex with a friend’s ex is:

46% fine, as long as you’ve discussed it with the friend first
29.5% none of your friend’s business
24% never OK

Maybe you should discuss it, just to be safe?

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What is cheating?

88% when genitals are involved
76% kissing someone else, with tongue
69% sending naked or suggestive pictures of yourself to someone else
61% texting/g-chatting/emailing dirty thoughts to someone else
4% the moment you start thinking dirty thoughts about someone else

Several people in open relationships point out that this question does not apply to them. True, but we asked it anyway.

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If I have sex with someone other than my partner and know it’s not going to happen again, it’s best to:

45% tell my partner right away
42% pretend it never happened
7% it doesn’t matter; I’m in an open relationship
5% wait a few months to make sure it’s over before spilling the beans

Hets are slightly more likely to pretend it never happened than are all the other orientation groups. Women and F-M folks are more likely to tell right away than their male and M-F counterparts. Politically, Dems and Progressives are more likely to tell; Republicans, Independents and Tea Partiers say they’d cover it up.

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I get my best sex advice from:

45% my best friend
38% my partner
13% this sex advice columnist ____
2% my mom/dad
2% my sibling

A boatload of you rave about our own Mistress Maeve, and she’s great. But, in addition to old standbys such as Dr. Ruth and Dan Savage, you laud some fantastic online sources for sound sex advice: Tits and Answers (, Em & Lo (, Betsy Dodson with Carlin Ross (, Greta Christina (, Dr. Kat ( and Tiffany Granath ( Check ’em out.

But be careful out there on the Internet, warns a het student in his twenties. “I tried the Internet for advice and almost lost my U.S. citizenship — and I’m a natural-born citizen!” he writes. What was he Googling? He doesn’t say, but claims he sticks to books these days.

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Hot or not?

79% sex in public
54% dry humping
50% amateur porn
44.5% bondage
36% videotaping
27% oral rimming
23% rape fantasies
11% fisting
10% flogging
10% pegging
5% fuzzy costumes
3% dildos that look like celebrities
3% menstruation
2% blow-up dolls
2% garlic up the butt

Who doesn’t love screwing where you shouldn’t? So many of your sexiest moments over the last year involved public sex. A hetero tax adjuster in her thirties recalls doing it outdoors at an old folks community in Florida. “Livened up the place!” she writes. A thirtysomething massage therapist who describes her orientation as “open” “masturbated in a tree with someone in another tree with people underneath not knowing.” And a bisexual single woman in her forties gave her lover “a spectacular blow job in the empty dugout after a charity softball game.”

So, garlic up the butt isn’t for everyone. And, to be fair, the respondents who choose it often make other dubious selections: a 70-year-old Tea Partier pimp who claims to have had sex with more than 50 people and to be a virgin? Nice try.

Then again, we know most of you are into vegetables these days, so we wouldn’t put it past you. That Sunday-night anal couple who tag-teamed their survey seem to be speaking from experience when they write, quite earnestly, “We prefer turnips and parsnips to garlic up the butt.” That would explain it; we picked the wrong vegetable.

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I never thought I’d enjoy ____, but, damn, do I ever!


Everyone seems to be having revelations of the anal kind these days. Your responses to this question are almost embarrassingly anally fixated. You love anal sex, rimming, fingering each other’s buttholes. Some of you try to be clinical about it (e.g., “prostate stimulation”). Others seem to delight in the opportunity to write such filthy descriptions as “tongue-punching her fart hole.”

One twentysomething, het bartender gal seems a bit hesitant: “A finger near my butthole … perhaps in a bit.” An aesthetician in her twenties is more triumphant: “Two in the pink, one in the stink!” And a hetero graphic designer, also in her twenties, raises them both five fingers with anal fisting.

Another biggie: discovering you like it rough. Spanking, choking, restraints, hair pulling, name calling, biting, flogging and caning get a lot of you hot. One bisexual stay-at-home mom likes having her clit clamped. A fiftysomething, het male likes bloody nipples, though he doesn’t say whose. A twentysomething tattoo artist writes sweetly, “Smacking girls, consensually.” Two of you cop to enjoying asphyxiation and strangling.

A hetero, twentysomething grad student says he is surprised to find he enjoys “having men watch me jack off online.” A married, Tea Partier woman says, “His pubic hair running across my clit.” A number of you have discovered you can get off by masturbating with your partner: “Watching her masturbate. She knows herself so well. It’s hot to see her take control of her own body,” says a guy in his twenties.

You discover new body parts to eroticize — and fuck: feet, armpits, ears, even “having my eyeballs licked,” writes one gay audio engineer in his sixties. We enjoyed this sensual account from a het guy in his thirties: “licking my own semen off my partner’s feet.”

Many of you are surprised to find you enjoy monogamy and marriage, or, as a bisexual woman in her fifties puts it, “Thirty-two years with the same person.”

And a surprising few of you say you really never thought you’d enjoy sex at all — but you do, thanks to attentive and loving partners. “I have always had a rich fantasy life, but never thought my actual sex life would be enjoyable,” says a stay-at-home mom. “I was rather repressed and self-conscious. Together my husband and I have been able to build a level of intimacy and trust I never thought possible. And sex is amazing.”

For Christmas last year, she ordered a huge box of sex toys and, with her husband, spent a whole day testing them out.

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I wish my partner would ____ more.

The top 10 responses are variations on the following:

  1. go down on me
  2. have sex with me
  3. get rough: spank me, bite me, tie me up, pull my hair, fuck me harder
  4. have anal sex
  5. initiate sex
  6. be more aggressive/take control
  7. make more noise: grunt, scream, moan
  8. swallow
  9. talk dirty
  10. orgasm

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When I come I sound like:

We’re going to ignore the countless smarty pants who quip, “Like I’m coming,” because the similes the rest of you concoct are, quite simply, exquisite. They speak for themselves:

a dying cat

a bear in heat

seagulls fighting over dead crabs

a puppy being punched in the face

a perturbed rhino

a purring lion

a seal trying to climb onto an iceberg

a grunting dog dreaming

a moaning frog

an overwhelmed, screeching owl

a bull being castrated

an alpaca sounding the alert to the rest of the herd

a tired horse

a quiet wolverine feasting on a fresh kill

an enraged monkey

an orangutan on steroids

a boar in the underbrush

You compare yourselves to people of all sorts:

an obese man who just tied his shoes

a soccer announcer

a potty-mouthed sailor

a soul preacher singing “Hallelujah”

somewhere between Neanderthal and modern man

a giggling 5-year-old

someone about to get in a car accident

a woman who has gotten all the winning numbers right on her Powerball ticket

a heavy-breathing phone perv

Howard Dean during the Iowa caucus

Oprah announcing free gifts

Stalin wrestling a tiger

And, of course, stuff:

the Playstation 1 start-up noise

flowers blooming

a collapsing constellation of stars

a tree falling in the forest


a laser beam from an orbiting death satellite, slicing through the icy darkness of space

a squeaky door

the little engine that could

air coming out of a balloon

snow falling

a blacksmith’s bellows with a hole in it

a quiet rumbling

all hell breaking loose

Finally, from a single, het chef in her twenties: “Silent when it’s real, loud when it’s for show.”

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What’s the sexiest thing you’ve done in the last year?

One of you actually writes, “This survey,” which sets our hearts aflutter. The rest of you share lurid tales. Here are some of our favorites:

Had sex! With someone other than my hand!

Fertilized a garden with cum on the spring equinox.

Woke my partner up by licking her to orgasm.

Let my boyfriend play at up-skirt all day while pretending I wasn’t aware. Of course, I wasn’t wearing panties and found every opportunity to give him a view.

Had brutal, brutal sex with my very quiet friend.

Had sex on my husband’s coat outside during a thunderstorm.

Showed up in a foreign country unannounced to meet a lover. It went well.

Hiked up my girlfriend’s skirt and belted her in the middle of a Higher Ground event.

[Did a] webcam striptease for my honey, who is stuck over in the Middle East. Again.

Came out of the closet!

Milked a cow. Really. Unfortunately, that’s it.

Took my girlfriend to a strip club in Florida. We got a lap dance. When we left we were so sexually charged we found a dark parking lot and attacked each other in the backseat of the rental. When we were driving away, we noticed we were in the parking lot of a Catholic church.

Put dabs of frosting all over my chest, stomach, pussy and inner thighs, with rose petals on the dabs. [With] candlelight in the room and soft music playing, I asked my partner to come smell the roses I bought for her.

Sent my husband suggestive texts while masturbating at my desk at work. Then left work, went home, shaved my pussy, took pictures of it and sent them to my husband, who immediately drove home and met me in bed.

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I was ___ years old when I lost my virginity:

2% I am still a virgin
11% under 15
70.5% 15-19
14% 20-24
2% 25-29
0.1% 30 or older

No big surprises here. Most of you took advantage of your hormonally fueled high school and college years to get that first lay out of the way. Women are slightly more likely to have given up their V-card under 15 (12.5 percent compared with 9 percent of men), as are people who identify as anything but straight (17.5 percent compared with 9.5 percent of hets).

Just more than 14 percent of our teenage respondents are still virgins; 8 percent lost their virginity before their 15th birthdays, 77 percent after. Those numbers are right in line with the rest of the age groups — except the sixtysomethings, many more of whom waited a bit longer to give it up: Thirty-nine percent lost their virginity between 20 and 24; 35 percent between 15 and 19.

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I have had sex with:

46% someone 20 or more years older than me
36% a fruit or vegetable
29% my boss
18% someone 20 or more years younger than me
11% my teacher
6% a delivery person
5% an animal
5% the babysitter/nanny hired to watch me
3% an inflatable doll
2% a sibling
2% the babysitter/nanny I hired to watch my kids
1% a parent

When we asked two years ago if you’d ever had sex with a fruit or vegetable, 18 percent of you owned up to it. That seemed like an awfully high number at the time. But this year? You’ve doubled it! What’s with the dramatic upswing in veggie love?

Let’s look at the stats: Two-thirds of the parsnip pokers are women, mostly in their twenties and left-leaning politically. Did everyone sign up for a CSA this year? Looks like you’ve found a way to make the most of that late-summer overabundance of zucchini.

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What is your earliest memory of feeling sexually aroused?

You got started as early as 2 years old: climbing trees, discovering the jets in your tub and finding your older brother’s Playboy stash and your parents’ Joy of Sex. You did some crazy shit with your Barbies: tying them up, making them have sex, trying to get your Kens’ rigid plastic bodies to spoon. You played doctor and show-and-tell with your friends, neighbors and siblings.

You loved your babysitters and teachers, the ones whose nipples you could make out through their blouses, and your English teacher’s bulging pants. You watched scrambled porn, humped your stuffed animals, played Spin the Bottle and were surprised to discover the secret joy of climbing the rope in gym class. You peeped into neighbors’ windows and relished the bumpy road from the back of the school bus. Some of you even participated in circle jerks.

Many of you learned to masturbate as toddlers. Your parents scolded you for doing it at day care, for grinding into the legs of the laps you were sitting in. You embarrassed them at the beach. They took you to the doctor to make sure you were “normal.”

You humped everything: blankets, stuffed animals, rugs, chairs, pillows, pool noodles, rubber balls, door jambs, building blocks, socks, couch arms and, of course, each other.

Some of you — especially females — rigged up incredibly complicated systems of self-pleasure: “When I was 4 or 6 I used to bind my legs with a rubber band and put a marble in my vagina and rub it against the bedpost,” confesses a het waitress in her twenties. A thirtysomething bi retail manager says she had her first orgasm after putting grape jelly on her clit so her dog would lick it off. An educator in her forties says she shoved tea-set plates up her butt at age 5.

Men express wonder at the discovery of arousal. At 10 years old, a het guy, now in his twenties — and still a virgin — was reading a comic in MAD magazine about a couple of strangers kissing in a cemetery at night. “I wondered what they would do next,” he writes. “And, suddenly, as I sat in the backseat of the car, my penis started getting bigger!”

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom did it for a het guy now in his thirties: “When the belly dancers come out for the first time before the monkey brains meal. I was lying on my stomach and my aunt was scratching my back with her Lee Press-Ons. And then the dancers came out ... Hello!”

A thirtysomething Progressive guy offers a sensual account from the ’70s: “My mother’s friend was a soft-skinned, good-smelling woman who always hugged us close and long. I remember feeling her nipples through her tube top on my cheek and how soft her fingertips were on my back and neck. It was my first raging hard-on.”

A twentysomething queer Libertarian recalls, “I was 10 and I put a maxi pad in my underwear and was suddenly aware of a place on my body that felt better when touched.” And a paraeducator remembers looking at his mother’s Victoria’s Secret catalog, summing up how many of us feel when we discover we can make ourselves come: “That’s when I invented masturbation.”

You prove the things that turn us on aren’t always overtly sexual. A childcare professional in her twenties says, “At 13 I was turned on by a crush’s hands digging geodes out of the ground.” For a lesbian deli staffer in her twenties, it was “the first time I took a class in a foreign language,” she writes. “The sick fact is that learning grammar gets me off.” Girl, you’re not alone.

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Tell us about your most embarrassing moment during sex.

“The fart. Always the fart,” writes a fiftysomething, bisexual woman, essentially speaking for you all. You gleefully regale us with stories about farts in all their forms: queefs, sharts — those toots that bring a friend — and a butt blast so powerful it dislodged your dildo. But your embarrassing bodily functions don’t stop there. You recall vomiting all over your boyfriend’s lap and accidentally peeing into your girl’s mouth, after she graciously agreed to let you come there. Still, nothing compares to your tales of poo, which read like a veritable who’s who of surprise turds.

And then there are the times you got caught — by family friends, your boss, even the cops. “When our kids slipped a note under our bedroom door asking us to please be quiet,” recalls a writer in her fifties. For a twentysomething, bi woman it happened the other way around. “My first girlfriend and I would get a lot of flak from our respective parental units for hanging out in bedrooms with the door closed,” she writes. “One evening, my girlfriend’s mother decided to bust in and take a picture of us, two half-clothed, awkward teenagers with hands down each other’s pants, and me with a deer-in-headlights look staring straight at the camera. Probably the most mortified I’ve ever been.”

In the throes of passion, you have screamed the wrong name. “My girlfriend at the time called out the name of her daughter,” writes a thirtysomething therapist. That’s almost as bad as the lesbian teacher in her thirties who shouted her own name. “No, the other person did not have my same name,” she admits.

Often your embarrassment was the result of miscommunication. A fortysomething woman once attempted to teach the guy she was sleeping with about fingering her — he’d been with men before, but his experience with women was limited. “At one point he left my vagina and, instead of refinding it, he started fingering my bum,” she writes. “I was, at that time, up for anything, so I let him continue. About 15 seconds later, he yelps, ‘Oh, my God, is that your asshole?’ He ran away to a sink to wash his hands. All I could do was laugh.”

A twentysomething veterinary technician misunderstood the guy on top of her when he looked into her eyes and said, “Push them together.” It was an odd request, she thought, but she was eager to please, so she pushed his pecs together and rubbed. “He was appalled,” she writes. “He wanted me to push my breasts together, not his.”

Then there was the het guy, now in his twenties, who thought it would be a great idea to spread lube over his first girlfriend’s entire body. “I thought it would be sexy, like, all slick,” he recalls. But the stuff quickly turned sticky and killed the mood. Another mood killer? “Her Pleasure condoms numbed my mouth,” writes a personal banker in her thirties. “I took it off to [finish up a blow job] and my boyfriend told me to stop biting his dick.”

So, on to those turds. A gay student in his twenties writes, “I once dated this really perfect guy. After a couple months he wanted to switch things up, so he asked me to top him bareback. After we were done, I went to clean up. A moment later I heard him screaming, so I hurried to him. He had just farted everything out. Like, a spray gun all over my bed and carpet. I prefer not to top anymore.” A hetero guy, also in his twenties, recalls discovering “a little bit of poo on [his] pelvis” after having sex with a girl. “Instead of casually going to the bathroom, I pointed it out and said, ‘I guess I fucked the shit out of you.’”

Poop, farts, queefs; they happen to the best of us. The key, most of you point out, is being able to laugh about it. “I farted right as I was about to come,” writes a hetero photographer in her twenties. “We both died laughing. Wait, that wasn’t embarrassing, it was awesome.”

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The best spot for finding your soulmate/an NSA hook-up is:

The red markers denote the spots in Vermont you said are the best to find true love. The yellow markers are the spots you said are the best to find a no-strings-attached hookup. Click on each marker for more, including your comments.

Illustrations by Matt Mignanelli.

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About The Author

Megan James

Megan James

Megan James began writing for Seven Days in 2010, first as Associate Arts Editor. She later became an editor for Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, and is currently a freelance contributor.


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