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Coming Together 

The 2007 Sex Survey

Published March 21, 2007 at 4:00 a.m.


Welcome to the fifth almost-biennial Seven Days Sex Survey. Yes, we previously managed this info-licious issue every other year, but in 2006, what with one thing and another, we just couldn't get it up. Trust us, the burden of so much hard data takes its toll. Anyway, here it is again: more than you wanted to know about your fellow Seven Days readers, and possibly some inspiration for your own romps in the bedroom or . . . wherever.

Thanks to the wily ways of, we were able to analyze all the answers from an impressive, way-beyond-statistically-significant number of respondents. Those of you who sent in paper ballots, don't worry: We plugged your answers into the electronic version for you. Our staff had to have something to do with their hands during our pizza-and-beer counting party, a titillating tradition here at Seven Days.

Many results look much the same as last time; after all, the human body and what one can do with it doesn't change that much, despite the inexorable march of technology. The makeup of this sample is also nearly identical in terms of age and gender, but 7 percent more identified as "heterosexual" this time, and half as many chose "homosexual." However, given what a lot of hets owned up to on the "I have done the following" category, we're thinking: What's the diff? Those who identified as "other," either for gender or sexual orientation, are too few to analyze, so we won't.

We will go ahead and make gross generalizations about Republicans, even though they comprise a relatively small subset of the politically affiliated. Speaking of parties, way more respondents checked "Democrat" this time. Could this be an outcome of six years under Dubya? We didn't ask, so we're not telling. Slightly fewer claimed "Progressive" or "other" than last time around, but, once again, there are more independents than Progs and Republicans put together.

As for religion, in the 2004 survey we offered a spirited array of options and uncovered a small but scary bunch of Satanists. This time we decided to stick with the major faiths, but - sorry, pastors, priests and rabbis - a whopping 59 percent of our sample rejected them all, selecting either "none" or "other." There are about the same number of Protestants and Jews as last year, slightly fewer Catholics and slightly more Buddhists.

Family ties? Not so much. Nearly 73 percent of our respondents are childless; only 5 percent have grandkids. No surprise given the ages reported. Of course, any readers with infants are probably too exhausted to fill out a survey. Or care about sex.

In this analysis we tell you how things have changed since 2004, where relevant. Keep in mind, though, that the people who responded this year are not necessarily the same ones who did before, so any conclusions we draw are utterly bogus. But loads more entertaining, we hope, than actual science.

By the way, some of you mathematical types may notice that our totals don't always add up to exactly 100 percent. That's because we rounded numbers off to the nearest whole, unless they were halfway between.

Finally, our deepest thanks to the hundreds of readers who took the time to fill out this survey - especially the ones who bared all in the essay section. It was good for us. And now, just lie back and enjoy our penetrating analysis.


Seven Days survey respondents are:



53% female

0.9% other


Range: under 19 to seventysomething

53.5% under 30

36% 30-49

10% 50 or older

Sexual orientation


7.5% homosexual

13% bisexual

2.3% other

Relationship status


1.5% civil-unioned

39% living together or "going steady"

19% single and wish they weren't

17.5% single and happy

Political affiliation

7.5% Republican

58% Democrat

14% Progressive

21% other



13% Protestant

18% Catholic

5% Jewish

6% Buddhist

16% other

Which of the following best describes you?

6% dating someone, not serious

17% playing the field

1% unmarried, having affair with married person

2% "committed" but having affair

3% partner and I see others

71% none of the above

We realized after the fact that some of our categories here were not mutually exclusive - after all, a person could be dating someone unseriously and having an affair with a married person and playing the field, etc. But it's good to know so relatively few of you are being unfaithful (see "cheating"). We're assuming the 71 percent of respondents who answered "none" are committed . . . or are having no luck whatsoever in the dating game.

How old were you when you lost your virginity?


Still a virgin 2%/3%

Under 15 13% /12%

15-19 63% /68%

20-24 18% /17%

25 or older 3.5% /0.4%

The numbers tell us that in the whole sample, there's not a lot of difference between the Big Two Genders: The majority of us "lose it" in the mid- to late teens, and practically all the rest, apparently, minor in copulation in college. We did find interesting the minor but marked difference between guys and gals who made it through an entire quarter century without doing the deed. What are they, priests? Oh, wait, probably not.

If you're wondering what differences might exist among political and/or religious affiliations, let's just put it this way: All generally follow the same general pattern as above, but male, politically independent Buddhists are most likely to have achieved "nasty" nirvana before the age of 15, while male Protestant Republicans are most likely to have kept it in their boxers till age 20 or older. Go figure.

How old were you when youfirst masturbated?

On average, how often do you masturbate now?

Do you masturbate in your workplace during work hours?

There's nothing like taking matters into your own hands. Solo sex is simple, gratifying and negotiation-free. Not surprisingly, it's a popular pursuit among Seven Days readers. Only 1 percent of you has never had the pleasure. Some 31 percent got in on the act early, before age 12 - thanks to those elementary-school gym classes? Others took a little longer to get the hang of it: 51 percent were self-sufficient by the time they reached "sweet" 16.

How often do we wank? Most men masturbate twice a week. Slightly fewer than 10 percent do it more than once a day. Gay and bi men are a bit more active.

Women, on the other hand, may be going for quality rather than quantity. Nearly 42 percent of heterosexual females report masturbating "less than once a week." None reports daily contact, and more than 10 percent are totally hands-off. Could kids be coming between ladies and their lust? Probably, but at least one resourceful respondent found time for herself in "the car, in traffic, with toddlers asleep in the backseat." Now that's multitasking.

Another woman managed to work a vibrating cellphone into her . . . commute. We're willing to bet that even Republican Rep. Tom Koch, who recently sponsored a hands-free driving bill, never imagined this hazardous distraction.

Indeed, Seven Days readers jerk off almost everywhere, from the office to the gym. "Surprisingly enough, the Nautilus sit-up machine . . . gets me off every time," one reader confides. "The higher the weight, the faster it happens. It's a good thing everybody else in the room is making faces and breathing heavily." Sounds like a great workout.

Self-love in church is a little harder to pull off, but that doesn't stop our respondents from indulging - in the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in a confessional, into a nun's hand cream! Is nothing sacred? The Jewish faith, too, has its erotic adherents. Someone got a little bit closer to God at the oldest synagogue in the United States. And then promptly grew hair on his palms. Just kidding.

Vermont is crawling with outdoorsy types who express themselves en plein air. Doing it in a duck blind is one way to pass the time. Looking for a less "traditional" location? Nothing tops a 12,000-foot mountain with great views. Except a 14,000-foot mountain with great views . . .

Travel is a turn-on, judging by the number of plane, train and bus bathrooms that came up in our survey results. And the fun doesn't stop once you get there. At least one onanist got in touch with himself on the Eiffel Tower. Other hot spots include a French museum, a military cargo jet and the captain's stateroom on a Navy ship.

Closer to home, some respondents are playing - with themselves - at the Flynn. That beats "in bed next to my mother" and "in front of my uncle when I was blowing him." But come, come, people. Remember: The best thing about masturbation is that no one has to get hurt.

How many sexual partners (excluding yourself) have you had?

What we find noteworthy here is that the females rule in the 5-9 lovers category, hold the lead through 19, and then quickly lose out to the guys. In the upper echelons, the guys have it. But apparently not with the women who answered this survey.

Homosexuals easily top that record, however: One in four has joined the 50-plus club - guess that's why they call this sexual orientation "gay." In our last survey, the bi crowd was a bit more, well, promiscuous, but three-quarters of this batch have 19 or fewer notches on their belts. But give them time; they're still young.

We didn't see substantial differences among the political parties, except for more Progs in the modest 1-4 partners group. But 10 percent of those maverick thinkers do claim to have bedded 50-plus. Way to campaign!

Are you happy with the quality of sex with your current partner?

The surprise here is that significantly more women (43 percent) than men (34) - at least the ones in this sample - are satisfied in the sack. Among the males who call their sex life "so-so," 55 percent are married. But one unattached thirtysomething guy from Milton may have hit on a collective problem: The worst thing about sex, he wrote, is "when you realize the woman isn't thinking about you." That is a bummer, dude.

One seventyish fellow from northern Vermont who did rate his sex life "great" offered this enigmatic reason: "Sometimes she swats me with her tail." Or is that a bad thing? Either way, we're not sure he's referring to his wife - he claims his most memorable sexual experience was with "the family goat." That, along with masturbating more than once a day and fantasizing about Free Press columnist Debbie Solomon, keeps this elder statesman happy.

Just as many respondents overall say sex is "pretty good" as say "it's great." If we look at sexual preference, about half of gay men and a third of lesbians rate their sex only "pretty good." Which brings us back to the fact that straight women are happiest. Who knew?

By the way, more het ladies and gentlemen in our group have done oral (98 percent) than actual intercourse (88 percent). If you can swallow that.

Have you ever cheated on a partner?

The good news is, almost half of our respondents overall have never cheated. The bad news: A little more than half have. And on average, 16 percent checked the Clintonian waffle, "Depends on what you mean by cheating." We'd like to hear those rationalizations.

But the picture is more complex when we factor in gender and sexual orientation. It may surprise some, for instance, that our group of gay men is significantly less likely (28 percent) to have cheated on a partner than anyone else - even though, as we noted earlier, homo guys tend to have the most partners. Hmm. Is frequency the key to faithfulness: I'm all yours, for the next week?

Het and homo women respond about the same across the board - a bit fewer than 40 percent say they've cheated. But bi men raise the cheating bar while lowering their standards.

If you cheated, did you get away with it?

Whoa, lesbians totally suck at covering their unfaithful tracks! A mere 25 percent say they "got away with it." Of course, a third are still waiting to find out if they did, so things could be even worse. That suggests they're cheating, or have done so, on a current partner (more on that below). You read it here first.

And bis may be the worst in the cheating department, but their ability to get away with it doesn't hold a candle to that of those lying jackals, straight men. Actually, straight women are nearly as good, or bad, depending on your viewpoint. And their political party. We'll spare you the stats, but suffice it to say that of the men and women who got away with cheating, 58 percent are Democrats. No further comment.

Wait! Let's look at religion. Among those who claimed no particular belief system, 41 percent of men and nearly half of women got away with cheating. Among those who do profess some kind of spiritual affiliation, Protestant men and Catholic women are the wiliest. But they've got nothing on the godless heathens.

Are you cheating on your current partner?

This question makes everyone a little nervous, because there are a lot of current partners out there. The odds are good, though - 95 percent overall say "No" - unless your honey is a naughty male bisexual. 'Nuff said.

My longest/shortest relationship lasted...

Sure, everything is relative, but perhaps we should have defined the word. Some survey respondents seem to be confusing "relationship" with "hooking up." Listen carefully, people: In the mating world, a night is called a one-night stand. An hour is, at best, a quickie. We're not sure the thirtysomething Burlington man who answered "2 minutes" even got that far. Or maybe he was just messing with us.

More than 46 percent of you defined your shortest relationship in terms of days - or fractions thereof (we admired the stop-watch precision of "2.33 days" or ".125"). Twenty-seven percent went with one to 10 weeks; 26 percent held out for up to 10 months. Only 4.5 percent called one to five years "short." To some of our younger respondents, that might sound like a life sentence. Especially to those who still measure their longest relationship in months.

Just 3 percent of our respondents have been with the same person at least 20 years - commensurate with the age range of our sample. But a handful has passed the 40-year mark! Those who vowed "Till death do us part" aren't necessarily in wedded bliss, though. One fiftyish Chittenden County woman married 30 years admits she's cheating right now. Which makes us wonder which "current partner" she's talking about when she claims the sex is "great." A Burlington Prog in the same age group admits to masturbating in the closet at work. Could that be why his typical lovemaking session is only "10 to 20 minutes"?

Have you faked orgasms?


Never 72%23%

Once or twice 28%72%

Always 0%5%

Do you have multiple orgasms?


Never 36%20%

Rarely 33%27%

Sometimes 28%44%

Always 3%9%

Your best orgasms are:


Alone 15%25.5%

With partner 85%74.5%

Ah, yes, the Big O. Kinda what this is all about, right? Except for the respondents who claim the best thing about sex is the cuddling. Uh-huh. Oh, and for the 5 percent - all female - who say they always fake it. Hmm. Maybe they're the same people. But our condolences go out to one sixtysomething woman in Chittenden County who has always acted out - with more than 50 lovers. She also reports never masturbating, and that's just wrong. Hey, nearly 30 percent of women have their best orgasms alone. We suggest she join the DIY club.

Even women who can come with partners, don't always - a whopping 72 percent use the ruse occasionally, and who can blame them? Then again, 28 percent of men say they occasionally pretend to end, too. That's significantly down from last survey, but we're still wondering: How do they do it? Once again, way more bisexuals than straights or gays admit to faking "once or twice." Or maybe they're just more truthful.

Speaking of honesty, how did the political parties come out, so to speak, on faking it? As on the last survey, Progs were a bit more likely than Dems to fake once in a while. Sixty-three percent of Republicans never have. Or so they say. When it comes to repeating themselves, though, more Republicans "sometimes" have multiple orgasms, but Progs more often say "always." Dems, as usual, are right in the middle. We have no idea what this means, but it's something to keep in mind next Town Meeting.

Women may more frequently fake coming (most of them very loudly), but they are also, in general, likelier to come again. And again. More than half "sometimes" or "always" do. Take a look at the sidebar on "What do your orgasms sound like?" and imagine that racket in triplicate. One Burlington female suggested we ask her neighbors . . . and gave their addresses. But we're still trying to figure out what "aaaaaaaaighaisjkasdf" sounds like.

How often do you fantasize about having sex?

People think about doing it more than they actually get around to it. Kind of like vacuuming under the furniture in that respect. But sex crosses the minds "once or twice a day" of 27 percent of our sample; another quarter confess to "many times a day," and 6 percent, "almost constantly." Naturally, we're most interested in the extreme thinkers. And those would be - surprise! - males. While a modest 10 percent of guys say they mentally do the deed "almost constantly," a whopping 69 percent think of sex from one to many times a day. One single twentysomething in South Burlington who can't get sex off his mind claims the best thing about actually having it is "the climax organism." We suggest he think more often about spelling.

What kind of porn do you prefer?

In this Internet age, we were intrigued to find that "erotic literature" (22.5 percent) barely edged out "websites" (22) as the porn of choice in our sample overall. Even some guys prefer "clit lit" to those graphic, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination images online. But both categories pale in comparison to "videos/DVDs," which nearly a third of our respondents selected. Maybe some people get their best action with a flatscreen.

Have you or a partner used a pharmaceutical product to enhance sexual performance?

For the most part, no - 78 percent said "never." As we've noted, this is a predominantly young sample. But a handful admitted to "always." As a sixtysomething lady in Chittenden County explained, "One lover had erectile issues." Something to look forward to.

Have you had surgical enhancements to improve your sex life?

Do you have pierced genitalia?

Hardly any, in both cases.

If you had to choose one, you would prefer:


Oral sex 23% 17.5%

Intercourse 63%72%

Anal sex 11%1%

Just kissing/cuddling 4%9%

Three-quarters of our sample overall prefer good old-fashioned intercourse; even 23 percent of the homosexual group checked that box. Given that almost two-thirds of them are men, we're still trying to wrap our minds around that. Maybe best not to think too much. Defying stereotypes, homosexuals are most likely to prefer "just kissing/cuddling," to which we can only say, Awww.

Looking at just gender, women definitely prefer kissing more than do men, and definitely prefer you stay away from their butts. Bisexuals, our most contrary - or just indecisive - group, are split down the middle on intercourse; nearly a third have oral fixations. The rest - well, you do the math, because we feel like faking it.

Which best describes the length of your typical lovemaking session?

Size may matter, but apparently speed does, too, when it comes to sex. We're talking minutes here, people. Just 53 percent of respondents last 30 to 60 minutes. More than a third are even more efficient, clocking in at 10 to 20. You'd think that heterosexual men and women would give about the same time estimates - after all, they're having sex with each other, right? (OK, the specific men and women in our sample are not necessarily having sex with each other, but work with us here.) Anyway, you'd be wrong. Observe:


Under 10 minutes4%2%

10 to 20 minutes39%35%

30 to 60 minutes52%54%

Hours on end 5%8%

Not enormous differences, but women do tend to remember their lovemaking sessions as lasting a little longer. Must be they're counting the kissing part.

Homosexual lovers lead the pack, however, in the 30-60-minute category, and tie with bis in "hours on end."

When you have sex with a new partner, you:

. . . worry about your body? Join the club. Sixty-eight percent of women and 48 percent of men checked that one. Ever optimistic, guys are more likely to "bring a condom." Women are significantly more likely to check "worry they will go down on me," "think about a previous partner," "imagine other people are watching" and "can't wait to tell friends."

We are amused that 3 percent of both men and women actually checked "think about England." Is this a Prince William thing?

Among the "other" contributions, our favorites were:

*Worry I'll fart

*Don't know what to do or say when finished

*Pray it lasts all night, if good

*Worry partner won't be totally impressed by my sexual prowess

*Worry about their body

*Worry about my toenails

*Hope they know what they're doing between my legs

*Worry about what to do with them in the morning

*Check to make sure he's still in the wrapper

*Hope the dog stops watching

*Can't wait to examine their pants

There is nothing else to say on this subject.

Your partner's choice of contraception is:

Birth-control pills (29%) and condoms (27%) won out in our laundry list of options. Some respondents felt compelled to offer details about specific products, such as Depo-Provera. Ten percent admitted they don't use a thing, but when we probed further, it turns out more than a fourth of them are homosexual, and another third are over 50. Maybe the others are trying to get pregnant?

"Pulling out" is a notoriously unreliable way to avoid parenthood, but respondents who prefer that method have dropped from 20 percent in our last survey to 8 percent this time. Guess that's progress. However, we feel compelled to inform the women who think "UTI" (urinary tract infection) or "monogamy" are birth-control methods: Think again.

You have safe sex:

Here's the bummer part of our program, and the health department will not be happy to hear it: Only 58 percent of our sample overall declared their sex to be "always" safe; 28 percent waffled with "sometimes," and 14 percent said "never or rarely." Good news on the queer front, though: Those "always" practicing safe sex are way up from the last survey - 60 percent compared to 44. Gay men play it safe the most, while those renegade bisexuals are playing with fire. But let's look at the outcome . . .

Are you HIV-positive?

Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease?

A microscopic number of respondents said yes to the first question - all male, none bisexual. Three-fourths of our sample also said no to STDs. Of those who answered in the affirmative, 62 percent are hets; the rest are divided evenly between homo- and bisexuals. If bis go both ways, why the huge discrepancy? We'll try to sniff it out next time.

The best thing about sex is:

Can you believe "orgasm" was number one? A close second, though, was a number of variations on connection/feeling close/intimacy, etc. One respondent's spin momentarily made us feel all floaty: "the opening of the chakras and blending of electromagnetic spiritual bliss." But some other answers brought us back to earth:

*Uncontrollable comments/noises/screaming

*That it feels so good and burns calories

*It helps me sleep

*Shattering that alienated, isolated, trapped-in-my-own-body feeling

*Making people sticky

*It helps the human species from going extinct

The worst thing about sex is:

"The wet spot," "messiness" and "cleaning up after" cropped up frequently, as always. One respondent said "feeling ill, crappy and/or dirty afterwards" was a problem, but we don't think she was referring to the sheets. UTIs and STDs are major bummers, too, along with minor physical complaints such as "stiff neck from eating pussy."

Variations on unsatisfactory lovers abound, summed up in the succinct "when they suck at it." We can really relate to the lament of one twentysomething Colchester woman: "When you think it's going to be great but it's awful awful awful. Like when a stranger just goes ahead and puts a finger in your butt and it's like, "Whoa, buddy, I don't even know you."

Some of the other negatives on sexual relations make us wonder why people even bother:

* Having to pee in the middle

* No one takes it seriously anymore

* Feeling very bad in bed . . . like a bad, unhorny cricket

* That awkward morning after drunk sex Having to ask the person's name

* Mind wanders . . . worry about STDs and if you turned off the stove at home

* Getting undressed in Vermont winters

* When he has to leave to go back to his wife

* The begging

Describe your favorite sexual position

Back in the day when the civil-union debate was all the rage across the Green Mountain State, dueling bumper stickers proudly proclaimed, "Take Back Vermont" and "Take Vermont Forward." However, one underrepresented position in that heated back-and-forth could be found on another bumper sticker, which still hangs in the Seven Days office: "Take Vermont From Behind."

This year, as in past years, Seven Days readers listed their hands-down favorite sexual position as "doggie-style." This included all the various permutations of canine-like canoodling, including the lying-down doggie, the anal doggie, the walk-the-doggie (a.k.a. "the wheelbarrow") and the "power pooch" - the back-door bump with the help of several 9-volt batteries and a variable-speed home appliance. (Save the planet, use rechargables.)

Taking home the silver medal in 2007 was "woman on top," for which some of you expressed particular preferences, including sitting upright in a chair, kneeling, woman facing backwards, and the ever-popular crouch and bounce, which one reader dubbed "the frog."

But old habits die hard, and it's tough to undo centuries of church-sanctioned coitus. So the "missionary position" is a perennial favorite, though many of you reform-minded souls specified "missionary-plus" - with legs on shoulders. Martin Luther would be proud!

Surprisingly, the "69" had a rather limp showing this year. Maybe when Vermonters eat out, they don't like to go Dutch? But Green Mountaineers tend to be an athletic bunch, hence the list of preferred postures and poses reflected a few out-on-a limb calesthenics, including standing up in public restrooms, on a swing, hanging upside-down over a 2000-foot cliff (don't forget your crampons!) and the enigmatic "crouching tiger, hidden dragon." Nope, we don't know what it means, either.

Your most memorable sexual experience was:

Oh, you horny little braggarts! Too bad Dr. Seuss isn't alive to pen some clever rhymes about all the highways and byways where Seven Days readers have fiddled and diddled. "They're sucking at fairs, they're fucking on stairs, they're humping and jumping and bumping on air." Seriously, two readers claimed to have had sex during live radio broadcasts, in the studio. Think about that next time you hear: "We're experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by."

Aside from the ever-popular "my first time," many said their most memorable sexual encounters took place outdoors: in tents, on stumps, up trees, in hot springs, on an inner tube, in the rain, in the snow, on a horse, in a ski gondola and/or with pets or wild animals watching. One dude claimed to have had sex with the family goat. We hope he's a vegetarian.

Bathrooms are a particularly popular venue - in airports, hospitals, hotels, bars, libraries, schools and museums - which lends credence to your parents' advice to NOT TOUCH ANYTHING in a public restroom. Maybe it's the real reason behind those admonitions to employees to wash their hands. Also, many of you fessed up to committing DWOs - driving while orgasming. Can't wait to see the Ad Council's PSA on that one.

Some respondents also wrote about holy rolling on hallowed ground - that is, achieving ecstasy in and around places of worship. Including the Ira Allen Chapel during a snowstorm. Many also took note of the size of the "congregation," i.e., sex with three or more people at once. Hope you left something in the collection plate on your way out.

Other odd answers included:

* In the shower at Boston Children's Hospital

* The end of an airport runway

* With my father in the hot tub

* During a game of Scrabble

* In the Holocaust Museum

* On a subway platform with a NYC cop

What sexual act would you like to try?

Tri, tri, tri again . . . Threesomes, in every variation of gender and sexual preference, far surpassed all the other answers here. Group sex or orgies, however, lagged a bit behind the runner-up, "anal." Some of the suggestions we didn't even understand. If anyone could tell us what "Chinese hanging basket" or "the angry dragon" are, we'd appreciate it.

Lots of people fantasize about sex in public places, toying with role-playing, costumes or devices. We liked the bold ambition of "sex in a locker room with the Dallas Cowboys and their brothers" and "shagging a girl on George Bush's desk."

But for respondents whose modest fantasy is to do it on the kitchen table, in a car or on a waterbed, we can only say: What's stopping you?

Oh, and best of luck to the twentysomething gay Burlington resident who wants to have sex in space. Horny astronauts are all the rage these days.

What do your orgasms sound like?

Seven Days readers readily admit that when it comes to orgasmic orations, theirs come in all decibels and frequencies. Many thanks to those of you who gave us a peek at your peak performances, with extra-credit points awarded to those who cracked a thesaurus.

Here's how Seven Days readers described the sounds of their orgasms, in no particular order, along with the respondents' gender and stated religion. Why? No reason, except that when you hear someone shouting "Oh, God! OH, GOD!!" it's nice to know which deity they're invoking.

*Male Catholic: "heavy sighs"

*Female Protestant: "a koi fish gasping for air in front of its aquarium."

*Female Buddhist: "a walrus dragging itself over snow."

*Male Buddhist: "a cat in a blender."

*Male Catholic: "My mother needs to wash my mouth out with a bar of soap."

*Female Protestant: "I sound like I'm in pure ecstasy, or sometimes like a chimpanzee running through the jungle."

*Female Protestant: "a screaming bobcat."

*Male "other": "wildebeests birthing"

*Female Protestant: "a mix between a rowdy black woman and a kinky gay boy."

*Female Jew: "a holy choir of horny angels."

*Female Protestant: "Kermit the Frog eating Goofy."

*Female Protestant: "Gorillas in the mist."

*Female Protestant: Unnh, uuuunnnhhhh, aaaaahhhh, uuunnnnhhh, oooooooohhh, ohhh, ohh, oooh!"

*Male atheist: "a foghorn, church bells, Paris Hilton's dog, or . . . more like a caveman."

*Female "other": "Pretty quiet after I heard the guy upstairs braying like a donkey."

*Female atheist: "the release of ego and life's weight."

What sex toy or prop do you use most frequently?

Once upon a time, sex toys were things you got in brown wrappers from a back-alley shop, or generic "massagers" that housewives purchased with a knowing smirk. Then companies like Good Vibrations started selling "woman-centered" sex aids, and straitlaced Charlotte sang the praises of the "rabbit" vibrator on "Sex and the City."

Apparently she knew what she was talking about. Vibrators were the most frequently mentioned item in the survey, with dildos coming in second. Demand has spawned a menagerie of competitors for the rabbit - try the "lizard" and the "dolphin." One twentysomething from Vergennes took the cuteness a step further and named her dildo "Nick Lachey" and her vibrator "Jessica Simpson." (In one bedroom, at least, the superstar couple stays together.) Some respondents seem to prefer a minimalist, whatever-comes-to-hand approach to their pleasure. The DIY principle is admirable. But next time you borrow a friend's marker, you may wonder - um, just where has that Sharpie been?

Here are a few other notable little helpers:

*A revealing T-shirt that says, "Green is the new pink" on the back. For some reason the word "pink" on it really turns my partner on.

*My hand and favorite sock

*A $10 Homedics vibrating "back massager" from Wal-Mart

*Cock ring

*Whatever is lying around (and can be cleaned easily): wax tapers, thin bottles, fat markers, test tubes. Plus random vibrating objects like electric razors and massagers.

The best music to have sex by is:

"Records have helped me fall in love, no question," says the hero of Nick Hornby's novel High Fidelity. They've also helped a lot of people get busy. Conventional wisdom says there's nothing like a good groove to get someone "in the mood." But what mood is that, exactly? Some crooners are tried and true in the bedroom - think Barry White or, for a no-brainer, Marvin Gaye doing, "Let's Get It On."

But one person's sweet vibration may be another's turn-off. The person who gets off on the sensuous sitar sounds of Ravi Shankar might not click with the one who prefers ramming it to Rammstein. And show tunes could chase some prospective partners from the bedroom. One respondent helpfully broke the options into music for "sex" and music for "fucking." And quite a few chose to score their sex scenes the old-fashioned way: moans and grunts only, please.

*Miles Davis, Bitches Brew



*Johnny Mathis

*Anything that isn't sappy or country

*Dave Matthews

*Sinatra's "My Way"

*Anything Souza

*Ravi Shankar, Live at Monterey


*Mazzy Star

*Rob Zombie


*Passion by Peter Gabriel

*Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

*The Little Mermaid soundtrack

*Al Green

*NIN, Barry White, Peaches for sex; heavy metal for fucking

*Yes, Close to the Edge

*Marvin Gaye, I Want You

*Buckethead's Colma

*Anything by Heart

*Broadway show tunes

*Any rap, or Metallica

*None: I prefer silence, or the sound of my partner weeping with disappointment at seeing me nude.

*Prince and/or sweet '50s oldies

*Pink Floyd, "The Great Gig in the Sky"

*The Shaft soundtrack

*Van Halen

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