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Coming Together... or alone ...or not 

The Seven Days Sex Survey

Bernie Sanders

Published February 4, 2004 at 5:00 a.m. | Updated November 7, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

The third survey two years ago was a charm, we thought, but this, the fourth, is almost too much of a good thing. So much to learn, so little time! As before, our readers have enlightened and entertained the Seven Days staff, not to mention our statistician, who otherwise probably conducts a strictly by-the-numbers life. Our thanks to Cas Danielski for crunching all that smut. These results, by the way, are based upon a random sample of the many surveys we received.

Some things change, some things stay the same. The gender balance, age range and sexual orientation this year is pretty much the same, though there are slightly fewer heterosexuals and slightly more homosexuals. This time we offered "other" as an orientation option, and a handful of people chose it -- not enough to analyze, so we won't. Complicating the picture further, a couple of people insisted on "gender-queer" for both orientation and gender. Guess there's just no either/or anymore.

Just under a third of our respondents have at least one child, and for the most part that doesn't seem to make them less randy -- except maybe the parents of newborns. Very few have grandkids, and that's good: Half the respondents are under 30.

In this analysis we tell you how things have changed in the past two years, where relevant. But keep in mind that the same people didn't necessarily answer last time, so any projections we make are totally bogus. Hey, nobody said this would be hard science.

But it ain't easy, either. Two letter-writers complained about our new, unfun question about sex with a child. One local merchant banned Seven Days when he saw the survey. Good thing the poor innocents frequenting his store won't have to see the answers.

Though the number of bisexual respondents has declined slightly, they seem to have more fun than the one-way tribe. Bis ranked higher on a number of categories. Oh, but wait: More of them also say their orgasms are better alone. What kind of a relationship is that?

Anyway, our deepest thanks to the hundreds of people who took the time to fill out and send in questionnaires -- especially those with titillating essays about your "dirty little secrets." It was good for us. And we hope you'll enjoy our penetrating analysis.

The third survey two years ago was a charm, we thought, but this, the fourth, is almost too much of a good thing. So much to learn, so little time! As before, our readers have enlightened and entertained the Seven Days staff, not to mention our statistician, who otherwise probably conducts a strictly by-the-numbers life. Our thanks to Cas Danielski for crunching all that smut. These results, by the way, are based upon a random sample of the many surveys we received.

Some things change, some things stay the same. The gender balance, age range and sexual orientation this year is pretty much the same, though there are slightly fewer heterosexuals and slightly more homosexuals. This time we offered "other" as an orientation option, and a handful of people chose it -- not enough to analyze, so we won't. Complicating the picture further, a couple of people insisted on "gender-queer" for both orientation and gender. Guess there's just no either/or anymore.

Just under a third of our respondents have at least one child, and for the most part that doesn't seem to make them less randy -- except maybe the parents of newborns. Very few have grandkids, and that's good: Half the respondents are under 30.

In this analysis we tell you how things have changed in the past two years, where relevant. But keep in mind that the same people didn't necessarily answer last time, so any projections we make are totally bogus. Hey, nobody said this would be hard science.

But it ain't easy, either. Two letter-writers complained about our new, unfun question about sex with a child. One local merchant banned Seven Days when he saw the survey. Good thing the poor innocents frequenting his store won't have to see the answers.

Though the number of bisexual respondents has declined slightly, they seem to have more fun than the one-way tribe. Bis ranked higher on a number of categories. Oh, but wait: More of them also say their orgasms are better alone. What kind of a relationship is that?

Anyway, our deepest thanks to the hundreds of people who took the time to fill out and send in questionnaires -- especially those with titillating essays about your "dirty little secrets." It was good for us. And we hope you'll enjoy our penetrating analysis.

Virginity: I lost it when I was…

Last time we asked, none of you claimed to be chaste. But it looks like abstinence is catching on -- virgins account for a whopping 3 percent of our respondents this year. That two of them are 40-year-old men from South Burlington has got us wondering about sprawl and all. More worrisome: These two horny hets may actually be the same guy. Both started masturbating when they were 13 and would like to get it on with Shania Twain. But the one who calls his member "twig and berries" checked "intercourse" as his preferred activity. The other -- a.k.a. "Mr. D" -- opted for "anal sex." We suggest they either get together, get it together, or check out the answers to: "I have the best luck meeting people…"

Of course, there is no one ideal age for sexual initiation. About the same number of people "lose it" between 17 and 20 as at sweet 16 and under. We found an alarming number of 'tween lovers, but more disturbing was a 56-year-old gay man who was deflowered when he was 6. From the looks of his survey -- he claims not to have been molested -- it was consensual. And he currently has the hots for Howard Dean. At least someone does…

Seven Days survey respondents are:


46.4% men

52.3% women

1.3% other


15-77 years old

50% under 30 years old

65% 22-44 years old

Sexual orientation

69.6% heterosexual

15.5% homosexual

13.4% bisexual

1.5% other


16% single and satisfied

15% single and unsatisfied

12% dating

7% just starting new relationship

30.7% partnered/married and satisfied

14.3% partnered/married and unsatisfied

5% breaking up

Political affiliation

13.2% Republican

45.3% Democrat

16.4% Progressive

25.1% Other


18.2% Atheist

13.8% Protestant

21% Catholic

4.7% Jewish

2% Buddhist

5.6% Pagan

1% Wiccan

1.6% Satanist

33.1% Other<

How do you plan to keep your sex life interesting after marriage (singles)…

How do you keep your sex life interesting


Interestingly, single people are more likely to answer this question than married ones, and their earnest ideas trend toward the theoretical: "communication," "fantasy," "listening to him," "spontaneity" and "going deeper." Specifics from singles were few and far between -- excepting, of course, "install stripper pole in bedroom." One cynical gay man -- a 23-year-old Viagra user -- plans to keep things lively by "never getting married" (the most typical response on our last survey). That, and imagining sex with Bernie Sanders.

When they actually offer advice, couples facing the marital challenge come up with more traditional coping mechanisms -- from porn, shaving and sex toys to "lovers on the side." Here's a new one: "Moving every six months." Alone or together?

The nicest thing anyone ever said to me during sex was…

Talk may be cheap, but the sweetest little nothing whispered at just the right moment can be, well, explosive. Our respondents' premier piece of pillow talk: "I love you." Anyone surprised? If physical and emotional intimacy went hand-in-glove, or whatever, those three little words uttered during sex wouldn't be such a big deal.

Speaking of physical, most memorable murmurings did just that. The generic: "You are so beautiful," "You have an awesome body," "You're so hot." And the artful: "You have the kind of body I want to draw."

Others praised the penis: "Nice manhood," "Your cock is amazing," "Wow, it's so big," "Your dick is so taught [sic] and hard," "Your cock is perfect, it really is," "Gentleman cock," "That's fuckin' huge -- you can't put it in there." And, as reported by one Catholic Republican, "You fuck me so good, I love your cock, don't ever stop fucking with it."

Others fêted female parts: "You are so tight," "You have the most amazing pussy," "You have perfect breasts, and they're real" and "I wish you could be inside me so you could see how good you make me feel."

Some complimented the act itself: "I already came too many times to count," "You are the best fuck I ever had," "That was the best blow job I ever had," "I don't care what your ex says, you're the best lover," "I'd rather let you eat my pussy for an hour than take my husband's credit card to Filene's all day," and the short and simple "That was perfect."

A few of you like it rude: "You dirty fucking whore," "Are you in adult films?" and "Wrap your slutty legs around me."

Some of your words were worth a thousand pictures, like the person who reported, "If you lived closer I'd have a crush on you," or the older gay man who liked hearing "You're better than my wife."

Our favorite: "Thank you."

What turns you on…

Not too many surprises here. Johnny Depp made the list. So did the color of icebergs. Closer to home, "Men in Carhartts" got a flurry of votes. But only one reader specified, "hairy men who smell like sweat and chainsaws and soft woods." We thought this was about hard wood. Just lie back and enjoy this…



sense of humor




dirty talk


nice body


nice undies



pregnant women

girls w/short hair

worshipping me


perfect skin

girls in ties

foreign women

black women

car shift

clay, paint, ink

grocery shopping

hard-on under jeans

big boobs



cum in hair, face and ass

good conversation




garter belts

shirtless men

two women



soccer players


getting fingered

hot oil


the right music

soft breasts


sex-toy catalogs


spirited connection


role playing

big penis

watching someone masturbate

wet lips

hippie guys with dreadlocks



telemark skiing





older men

older women


balls tied up

young boys

romantic dinners

sex smell





nice hair


being horny





the way he looks on top of me


uncut cocks

oral sex


limp dick

hard dick



semi-clothed sex



warm slipperyness

nerdy guys


toe sucking


hairy men

watching guys jerk off


being in love


girls without bras

anal sex


nice feet

big butts

glory holes

ass grabbing

nipple pinching


hot, shaved pussy right in my face

phone sex

this survey

My lover and I have a monogamous/open


We're happy to report that 70 percent of our overall sample -- just slightly more than last time -- are monogamous. Significantly more also have apparently agreed to keep their options open. On the other hand, a lot more of the faithful admit they'd rather be… not. We feel compelled to point out that fewer than 6 percent of monogamous women expressed a need to sleep around in our last survey, while nearly a quarter of them do this time. What's changed? Damned if we know. But some people had better start working on their bedroom skills. As for you cheatin' hearts… see below.


74% 86%

My lover and I have a monogamous


17% 16%

My lover and I have an "open"


6% 8%

My lover and I have an "open" relationship, but my lover doesn't know it.

16% 15%

I am not monogamous, but would like

to be.

17% 24%

I am monogamous, but would rather be sleeping around.

Pet name for my sexual organ…

Never mind those sour heads who pooh-poohed this question with such comments as "I'm 32… come on!" "People who name their dicks are lame." "Don't have one; it's creepy and weird." An awful lot of you proudly proclaimed your privates' personal appellation -- with nearly as many nicknames as respondents. The closest we came to detecting a trend was in these variations on a theme: Hoo Hoo, Mr. Hoo Hoo, Hoo Ha and Ho Ho. Politics on your minds, maybe? Other notable names:


The Big Guy

Candle in the Wind



Colonel Jackson





The Farm Thing


The Guv'ner

Hairless Wonder


The Little Guy

Little J


Lucky Chucky


Mr. D

Mr. Happy

Mr. Willy

Mr. Winston

My Bug

My Girl

My Parts

My Peni

My Pooch



Pretty Pussy



Queen Cunt





Sunset Muffin

Sweet William


Tiny the Vaginie


Wee Wee


I have cheated on a partner…I did/did n

ot get away with it…

Whistles might be blowing in the corporate world but not, apparently, in the "private" sector. While we're relieved that readers did not report having more affairs as a result of reading our last survey, significantly more women and bisexuals in general do 'fess up to cheating this time around. In fact, if this chart carries any water, the most likely person to cheat is a bisexual female Democrat. In the other direction, way fewer Repub-licans report straying from their own beds, as it were. Must be that strong moral influence coming from the White House.


42% 59.5% have cheated

75% 81% got away with it

Het Homo Bi

47% 50% 79%

have cheated

78% 72% 84%

got away with it

Rep. Dem. Prog. Other

45% 54% 51% 50% have cheated

86% 80% 73% 71% got away with it

My longest/shortest relationship lasted…

There had to be a story behind the half-hour relationship that came with a comment: "Eighth grade. Give me a break." Recess, maybe? But the prize for shortest relationship goes to our middle-aged, Vatican-loving bisexual who describes the perfect blow job as "confessional booth." How many Hail Marys can you say in 10 minutes?

"Until death do us part" presents other challenges. Every one of our long-termers -- all men -- has cheated. Half of them suspect their partners have also strayed, while the other half left that question blank. Talk much? After 30 years, you'd think these couples would know everything about each other.

Our oldest respondent -- a 77-year-old Pagan grandpa -- is a little confused after more than 50 years of marriage. He describes himself as "partnered and satisfied" but also a "monogamous" guy who would "rather be sleeping around." What turns him on? Filling out sex surveys, for one.

My most

memorable sexual

experience is…

Unlike Marcel Proust, our respondents' memories have nothing to do with madeleines. But there sure were a lot of other responses, running the gamut from the rather sweet "My first time" -- or "My first time not with a prostitute" -- to "trying S&M and bondage for first time… I came like a fucking waterfall."

Certain themes did emerge: doing it in nature, doing it in public or risky places, doing it with inappropriate people (boss, best friend's wife, etc.), doing it on drugs. We'll keep our comments short, 'cause the list is long. And this is just a sampling…

First time with threesome

Strip chess with boyfriend

Under the Xmas tree

In a pew of Baptist church in Virginia

Sleeping bag under stars

In a taxi

Having my partner masturbate using

my feet

Beach in southern Italy with new German boyfriend

The night tiramisu from the Trat helped me achieve my first O

When my dad caught me with then boyfriend

Digging my toes into wet earth while coming by a stream

Illicit sex with lover while husband is in next room

Fucking against a tree in Hubbard Park in Montpelier

Sushi sex with photos

First time I made a woman come

Full moon, Nepal, big mountains

Trying it in a hammock

On the hood of a car near a field of


Spontaneous in out-of-the-way section

of public zoo

Giving blow job in alleyway

First time not with a prostitute

Wedding night

Fucking my soon-to-be wife on professor's desk in college

Was in a pro shop at a country club, used pro's outfit to clean up

That Brazilian helicopter girl

Getting a blow job in the office from an ex-student

Nipple clamps

Anal sex in my living room

Being brought to orgasm with a candy cane

With my Swiss lover, involving handcuffs and ice cubes

In a dressing room at a clothing store

Sex in movie theater and trying not to make noise when I came

Being spanked at Pearl's

Realizing that a ‘peeping Tom' was watching the whole time

Having sex on LSD many times

During ice storm, I had sex outside the dentist's office on the back steps

Fucking in a tree

At a mountain bike race next to the course

Upstairs when my parents were downstairs

Group sex with seven strangers in a

bathhouse in Montreal

Oral sex in the pouring rain on a riverbed after skinnydipping

My first female ejaculation orgasm -- what the fuck was that?

Two women blow me at same time

Sex with a member of a famous boy band at the hotel and later at his home

On the roof of a school while police patrolled the parking lot

Being pushed up against the Mad Hatter after a night at the Waiting Room The entire world disappeared

Rose petals in the bed

Caressing a lover's butt while he jerked off for me

Hubby very drunk and he did oral sex, very unusual

Civil unions…

…have destroyed traditional marriage? Not hardly. More than 94 percent of our respondents disagreed with that statement. Maybe those few who think the institution is going down the tubes are just looking for a scapegoat?

I have faked an orgasm at least once…

Well, the anti-climax is alive and well: A whopping 82 percent of women have apparently found this ruse necessary from time to time. That's up from our last survey, but men who pretend are holding steady at 37 percent. And we're still wondering, how? Bisexuals report faking it way more than the other teams -- but then, they presumably have twice the opportunity. Progressives have taken a surprising lead in this particular little white lie. Keep that in mind at the voting booth.

I have never had an orgasm with a partner…

Only 4 percent of men and 8 percent of women in our sample have yet to share the big O with a special someone. This finding can be explained in part, of course, by the 3 percent of virgins in our sample. As for the rest -- can't you at least fake it? Just kidding.

I have better orgasms alone/with a partner…

Some people are real do-it-yourselfers -- 27 percent overall prefer to take matters into their own hands. Let this be some consolation to you people who've never had an orgasm with a partner at all. Bisexuals beat out the others on this response hands down, so to speak. The fact that twice as many women as men get off better alone suggests that some lovers may need a little tutorial below the belt. But the vast majority still prefers doing it in twos or more, so perhaps sex is pretty much what it's cracked up to be.

Prefer alone


15% 37%

Het Homo Bi

25.5% 19% 42%

Rep. Dem. Prog. Other

25% 28% 28% 27%

I usually/always have multiple orgasms…

This is one of those comparisons that can make most of us jealous -- of the 25 percent of our sample who know how to repeat themselves, in a good way. This is such a huge leap from the measly 6 percent in the last survey, we're beginning to wonder about the particularly restive batch of women who answered this one -- particularly, perhaps, bisexual Progressives? Here's a closer look:


17% 33%

Het Homo Bi

20% 22% 56%

Rep. Dem. Prog. Other

25.6% 22% 31% 28%

I think about sex approximately…

People think about sex a lot more than they have it -- no surprise there. Thirty percent of our respondents ponders the subject at least once an hour. Ninety-four percent meditates on it once a day. Mind certainly outpaces matter in the case of a 25-year-old bisexual woman who thinks of sex 60 times an hour -- that's once a minute, folks. No slacker in reality, she does it twice a day with a "partner" whom she suspects is cheating on her. Now that's an action-packed relationship.

I have sex with a partner…

The frequency question is one that vexes all lovers. Are we doing it enough? Are we missing something? Is there something wrong? Most of you should be reassured to learn that 61 percent of our sample has sex at least once a week. That is, except for the 10 percent who are measuring activity by the year. No, you're not getting enough. But satisfaction is subjective. One woman thinks her twice-weekly sex schedule is grounds for divorce.

13% once a week

16% twice a week

13% three times a week

10% four times a week

9% five times a week

3% six times a week

1% every day


What a relief -- all but two of our respondents came clean on the subject of masturbation. Everybody seems to do it -- the questions are when, where and how often. The majority of our readers discovered self-stimulation between 10 and 14, but some took longer to get the hang of it. One 42-year-old lesbian didn't start until two years ago. Coincidentally, it took her a while to realize she was gay, too.

One 37-year-old guy from across the lake learned to masturbate "during my first marriage," he wrote in the margin. Now, that's sad.

We were amazed by a 43-year-old bi woman from central Vermont who masturbates 15 times a day -- always at work. Unfortun-ately, we didn't ask people to divulge their occupations. But in this case, we picture a drive-in bank teller, a telephone operator or a riding instructor.

Approximately 48 percent of our respondents jerk off on the job -- under the desk, in the public bathroom, by the water cooler, talking on the phone to a client. Men are more hands-on than women -- 55 percent versus 40 percent -- and bisexuals of both sexes are very self-motivated. Seventy-two percent of them say they have masturbated at work.

Where else have people taken "meatings?" The most popular place to pleasure oneself -- outside of the bedroom, shower, bathroom and, yes, outhouse -- is in the car. While driving. Moreover, people seem to remember their speed, destination and the specific road in vivid detail. Suffice it to say, Interstate 89 is a highway to heaven, although "doing 60 mph in a Nevada desert" is probably a lot safer.

People on planes, in pools, at rest areas, on a Polish bus -- we're all going and coming, folks. Besides travel, a couple of other themes emerged amongst the handlers: People like to masturbate while they talk on phones -- preferably to people to whom they should not be sexually attracted: a sister's husband, for example, or a kid's teacher.

Voyeurism is part of the picture, too. One woman masturbated on a beach while a guy watched her from a distance. Another got off in a Jacuzzi and is now apologizing for it. "Sorry to those who got in after -- I was young," she laments.

Lots of people were aroused by -- you guessed it -- watching other people have sex. Gym class and music lessons are also turn-ons. The more quotidian the activity, the sexier, judging from the wankers on washing machines, shopping at the supermarket and preparing dinner.

But there were some dramatic departures, too: "New York City," "Nepal." Our favorite was "skydiving" -- a 35-year-old man from South Burlington apparently caught more than air on his way down.

But we'll give the last word to a 62-year-old gay man from New York state -- also a hot spot. "I don't think any place is strange."

I have masturbated at work


55% 40%

Het Homo Bi

41% 56% 72%

Rep. Dem. Prog. Other

46% 48% 53% 50%

I use pornography…

When Chauncey Gardner pronounced in the movie Being There that he "liked to watch," he wasn't talking about porn. But our respondents were -- about two-thirds of 'em. Videos and websites ranked highest for everyone. More men (48 percent) like magazines than do women (19 percent). The erotic novel, sadly, seems to going the way of the chastity belt -- only 15 percent checked "books." But given all the pornography choices, we'd like to know what the 11 percent of women who voted for "other" are referring to. A notable coincidence: This year 6 percent fewer men and 6 percent more women report enjoying porn. And, hey, how about those Republicans! Can you say family values?


82% 53%

Het Homo Bi

63% 77.5% 77%

Rep. Dem. Prog. Other

80% 62% 74% 65%

What's the dirtiest thing you've seen on the Internet…

The answers to this question made us blush -- really. Rest assured there's no sexual fantasy so twisted, raunchy or shameful that someone hasn't staged, photographed and posted it on the Internet. And the detail with which you described the barnyard antics, the excretionary excesses and the women being penetrated by eels, baseball bats, vodka bottles, dogs and geese -- well, it made us appreciate those rare G-rated images that inspired chuckles instead of gag reflexes: Peter Freyne's beard, George Bush's State of the Union address, the "subject lines of the fucking spam." We suggest avoiding anything that reads, "Donkey See, Donkey Do."

I have used Viagra or other sexual enhancements…

I have had surgical enhancements…

Few people responded positively to these queries -- 10 percent and less than 2 percent, respectively -- which we can probably attribute to the relatively young sample. In fact, two of the respondents considered "penile piercings" as surgery. Ouch.

The sex toy or prop I use most frequently is…

When it comes to good sexual vibrations, nothing satisfies more readers than a good ol' vibrator. Runner up: the dildo, which is basically a vibrator unplugged.

It wasn't exactly what we had in mind, but lots of you gave credit to your own hands. Other examples of Yankee ingenuity: sheets, pillow, blanket or simply "myself."

Body oils and butt plugs hit the spot for several folks, while handcuffs, a leather strap and paddle, a collar and leash, and a whip captivate others -- whether on the giving or receiving end, we can't tell. And we'd rather not think about the person who said "hot iron."

I am pro-choice/ anti-abortion…

The surprising result here is not that 85.7 percent of the respondents who answered are pro-choice -- though that's significantly down from the nearly 97 percent two years ago. No, the weird thing is that 65 percent of our sample left the question blank. Why did generally liberal Seven Days readers not want to weigh in on this once-hot-button topic? We're clueless. Unless they were still thinking about those sex toys and just didn't notice the question.

I have the best luck meeting people…

Lonely Italians pound the piazza. Hard-up Costa Ricans beat it to the beach. But getting a date in Vermont often requires actual intervention -- the social equivalent of in-vitro fertilization. "Friends" are the best brokers of love, according to Seven Days readers. "Outdoors" is also a reliable, self-selecting way to meet people, even when subzero temps limit your lingerie options. "Work" works, too. "Class," "bars" and "the Internet" have some fans. We're just relieved our personals beat out shopping and church.

I have done the following…

We got a lot of flak for this question because one of the options is "sex with a child." For the record, we were in no way condoning that behavior -- which many of you passionately pointed out is a crime -- any more than we are recommending bestiality or prostitution. Happily, one of the two respondents who checked the box clarified, "I was a child at the time." Let's hope the other individual has a comparable explanation.

Indeed, it seems like Vermonters are generally showing more restraint than last time we probed. Virtually every sexual-activity category is down from previous levels, including one-night stands, anal sex, even phone sex. Self-censorship in the bedroom?

And Seven Days is bringing pleasure to 11 percent more people in ways we never imagined. Aw, shucks. We added a few questions this year which may have had some respondents scratching their… "furry?" It's a stuffed animal thing. Nothing to do with children, we promise.

91% heterosexual sex

33% homosexual sex

91% oral sex

63% anal sex

35% rim job

23% anonymous sex

35% menage a trois

19% group sex

31% bondage

16% SM

3% bestiality

.6% sex with a child

53% phone sex

43% engaged in role play during sex

26% videotaped myself and a partner

having sex

7% videotaped others having sex

65% one-night stand

35% adultery

63% used sex toys

54% incorporated food products in the

sex act

6% had sex with a "furry"

9% had sex with a prostitute

13% had sex with someone more than 20 years younger

25% had sex with a boss or employee

10% had sex with a teacher or student

4% had sex with a doctor or patient

58% masturbated while driving

16% masturbated while reading Seven Days

11% peed on a lover

8% been peed on

1% changed my gender

3% worked in the sex industry

I have had sex in…

Holy fuck. That was our reaction to the 46-year-old bi male who claims to have had sex at the Vatican. Only a Progressive agnostic -- who calls his member "Etna" -- could get it up where the Pope might See. Hopefully it was divine. By the way, twice as many people have communed in a "house of worship" as have found themselves fornicating with a therapist. We think the couple who wound up in an unused septic tank on Pine Street should seek professional help. Now, that's dirty.

Other singular sex spots included a diving board, a submarine and Fort Ticonder-oga. The British are coming! Boats definitely get you going -- one Latin lover got it on in a gondola -- but in Vermont, the car is king. A hearse will do, too. Good place to get stiff. There are only two erotic arenas more popular than the automobile, and we're betting they're seasonal: the hot tub and "the woods." Two randy rural types specified the "wood pile." Splinters? Sounds rough. Then again, so does the bathroom at Club Metronome.

If I had to choose, I would rather have oral/intercourse/anal/ just kissing…

Given a mostly heterosexual population, you'd expect intercourse to be the dominant choice for lovemaking, and it was. But inserting tab A into slot B is even more popular among bisexuals and, intriguingly, somehow works for nearly a third of homosexuals. Go figure.


M 35% 56% 8% 0%

F 16.5% 78.5% 1% 4%

Het 20% 74% 3.6% 2%

Homo 54% 31% 10% 4%

Bi 17% 81% 0% 2%

Rep 27% 66% 5% 0%

Dem 25% 68% 5% 2%

Prog 29% 67% 0% 0%

Other 21% 69% 5% 4%

So far, I have had sex with…

Hoo boy. Some of the answers to this one always strain credulity. Like the seven busy bees -- six male, one female -- in our sample who claimed more than 1000 lovers. It's an anonymous survey, so why lie? We just wonder when they find the time. A hefty 65 percent report having had carnal knowledge of 20 or fewer partners -- the most check marks came in the 5-20 category across gen

der, orientation and political party -- and that's good considering the general nonchalance about "safe" sex -- see below.

# Lovers M F

Zero 6% 1%

1-4 23% 19.6%

5-20 35% 47%

21-50 16% 24%

51-100 8% 5.5%

>100 5% 2%

>>100 3% 1%

>1000 4% 1%

Describe the perfect blow job…

When it comes to going down, getting is generally better than giving. We heard plenty of predictable whining, like from the gal who answered, "quick, intense, and did I say quick?" And the one who spat out, "as long as he doesn't come in my mouth." And the succinct lesbian who simply said: "Ew."

But it would be fallacious to say the outlook on fellatio is all bad. Ninety-one percent of our respondents report having done it. The good news for guys is how many oral aficionados are on the mouth end of the act. Deep-throat devotees like watching, and feeling, the penis respond to their ministrations, and enjoy turning the excitement up and down.

A little moaning also helps, and men are definitely advised to keep their whistles clean -- though we're not willing to swallow comparisons to the tastes of canned mushrooms or jelly beans. One gal loves it when "he grabs my hair and moves my head like a rag doll," while another prefers it "when my head doesn't get pushed down."

Ultimately, what's great about giving head is knowing that you're giving great head. As one woman put it, "He thrusts because he can't help it… Wonderful, lovely beautiful. I love this."

As far as what men want, our readers didn't hold back. We heard some complaints, like the 57-year-old hetero who claimed he's "still waiting" for the perfect blow job, the one who promised, "When I find a woman without a strong gag reflex I'll let you know," and the sore head who bitched, "I've only had one good one; the others were all teeth."

We also heard plenty of helpful suggestions. For anyone interested in studying for their orals, here are 10 sure-fire tips:

1. Make seductive eye contact.

2. Get the balls involved.

3. Use your hands, too, and don't neglect the anus.

4. No lingering on the glans; the underside of the shaft is where the pleasure is.

5. Make noise.

6. No teeth.

7. Or, use a little bit of teeth on the top and the head.

8. Keep everything nice and wet.

9. Suction.

10. Swallow

Alternatively, take a cue from the gay male who gushed, "The guy does a lot of sniffing and licking, getting my balls and my crack as well as my dick. He lets me sit on his face and rub my wet dick all over his upper lip. I want him to smell me after! He should be naked, hard and wet, and the whole room should reek of mansex." And remember, as another man put it, "my penis is not tough as nails, neither is it a porcelain doll."

Some of you interpreted our wording in a liberal sense, offering cunning advice about the best way to behave in the lap of a lady. A 23-year-old lesbian suggested, "Long slow licks up the middle, then circle on the clit with increasing speed and pressure, then kiss on the lips at the end." A 36-year-old het woman wrote, "Man using tongue like little nervous fish interspersed with long sucks." And a gender-queer 24-year-old described the best blow job as "One done on a silicone dildo with lots of sly, sexy looks."

Piercing came up twice -- once on the tongue, once on the penis. The person who mentioned the confessional booth neglected to tell us who should be doing whom. Route 2 looks a lot, well, safer now that we know at least one of you likes getting a blow job "while driving down I89."

And speaking of highways, the next time we go to Canada, we'll be keeping our eyes out for the gent whose wife revealed: "I love it when my husband comes home in his U.S. Customs uniform and we start kissing. He gently pushes me to my knees and there the fun begins." Talk about homeland security.

I have suffered from…

Sex does have its shortcomings -- and people may be a little shy about detailing their diseases. After all, too much sharing is what gets them into messes like STDs.

It's much easier to admit embarrassing exhibits of virility, apparently. "Boners in class and work" appear to be the biggest problem for our boys. The good news? They're easily remedied -- just look at the masturbation results.

Impotence is also treatable now, right? So how come fully one-third of our respondents report they've suffered from "inability to orgasm?" What's up, dudes? We forgot to ask about hard-ons that won't go away.

I always/sometimes/rarely or never have safe sex…

I have told my partner I was "protected" when I was not…

People, people, people. HIV/AIDS and STDs are still very much with us, so why are only 49 percent of you having safe sex all the time? Of course, we realize committed partners may not have to worry about throwing on the old rubber -- or rubber dam -- anymore, and that may account for some of our results. Men in general have improved a bit from the last survey, while women and homosexuals are greater risk-takers. Along the same lines, about 9 percent have told a partner they were "protected" against pregnancy and -- surprise! -- they're more likely to be women. Wait 'til the health department hears about this.


Always 50% 47%

Sometimes 34% 43%

Rarely/never 15% 10%

Het Homo Bi

Always 52% 44% 34%

Sometimes 37% 35.5% 53.6%

Rarely/never 11% 20% 12%

What's your dirty little secret?

What scandalizes one person is just a way of life to someone else. Lots of you, for instance, used this space to reveal either homoerotic interests or a taste for anal stimulation. One sly guy prepares for sex with his wife by secretly sneaking an anal plug into his orifice, while another once waited for his spouse to be out of state before sticking her dildo in his ass.

Lots of you felt compelled to confess secret affairs and casual sex -- with in-laws, exes, teachers or friends of your parents. No wonder you feel guilty! But we don't think anyone should feel bad for thinking about such scenarios.

A couple of respondents have gotten head from dogs, using peanut butter as bait -- experiments that didn't come to a good end, apparently. One man admitted spying on his next-door neighbor with binoculars. A couple of you keyed in on hot Internet linkups -- either hooking up with sex partners online or getting naughty with a webcam.

We heard from one person who enjoys being peed on, and another who simply said, "I like pain." Maybe that reader should get together with the 46-year-old married woman who wrote, "I'm a dom in my private life."

The hazards of sex raised their ugly heads in some answers. One person admitted to having herpes, while another confided, "The last married woman I slept with is pregnant and it could be mine."

Body issues cropped up occasionally. To the woman who said she wishes "more lubricant was involved," we recommend the bottled kind, and to the man who told us, "I have a small dick," we recommend a small lover.

This question brought out a couple of instant autobiographers, like the woman who wrote, "I once blew five people in a row. They actually lined up. Oh, I miss college." Ditto the 27-year-old male virgin who reflected, "I present myself as very proper, but I am an individual full of lust and a certain amount of inhibition." Go for it, guy.

Some secrets, of course, were meant to stay secret. That must have been the thinking of the respondent who filled in an answer then scrupulously crossed it out. Maybe next time.

The best music to make loveby is…

From Aerosmith to Boyz II Men, Vermonters are all over the charts with their faves for "aural" sex. While plenty of people side with Marvin Gaye -- "Let's Get It On" -- others are just as likely to screw to Sade or fuck to funk. While we wonder about those who shag to metal madmen Pantera, they're probably banging harder than those who get turned on by Tubular Bells. Take a peek at these sexual soundtracks…


Ani DiFranco

Britney Spears

Fight Club Soundtrack

Al Green

Pink Floyd

Anything but Prince

Deep Forest

Led Zeppelin

Barry White

Anything w/a


Elliott Smith


Aphex Twin

Rod Stewart

Def Leppard

Gladys Knight

Windham Hill

9 Inch Nails

Johnny Cash

Yo La Tengo

Marilyn Manson



Jessica Simpson

Massive Attack

Modern Lovers

Rob Zombie


REO Speedwagon

Motley Crue

In general, the length of my love-making sessions is…

How long do I love thee? Let us count the minutes. Most of our respondents do the deed in the time it takes to watch, say, "Sex and the City," though men and women seem to have a different sense of time. A good 60 percent report their amorous adventures wrap up in a tidy 30 to 60 minutes. Another 24 percent make do with 10 to 20 minutes, and a couple efficiency freaks concede (brag?) the act lasts under a minute. We suspect they might be part of the bunch that frequents the employee bathroom. And, if you must know, Republican heterosexual males report the most quickies. As for the sensual 14 percent who claim to make it last "hours on end," we're just wondering: Does that include watching "Sex and the City"?

Length M F

<1 min 1.4% 0%

10-20 min 33% 19%

30-60 min 55% 64%

hours 11% 16%

When I have sex with a new partner, I…

Worry about measuring up? You're not alone. About half the lovers we surveyed fret about their bodies when they're getting it on with someone for the first time. You can thank Madison Avenue for that six-pack attack. Bad breath is also a biggie, followed by concerns about achieving orgasm.

Oral sex anxieties? We tried to determine which aspect was troubling -- are you worried about a new lover going down or staying put? -- but readers missed the subtlety. Blew it completely.

We meant Britain, not Britney, when we asked if you "think about England," but an alarming number of erotic Anglophiles 'fessed up. One clarified, "Think about Wales."

"Lights out" trumped "lights on" by a two-to-one margin. The extroversion comes later, apparently: After a new encounter, 15 percent of you "can't wait to tell your friends."

My/my partner's choice of contraception is…

They'll put a man on Mars before the list of possible prophylactics gets any longer. A diaphragm is a diaphragm is a diaphragm -- just like your mother reached for in the dark. But there is one addition since our last survey: the morning-after pill. Although it's considered "emergency" contraception, approximately 1 percent of our respondents are calling it "birth control." Condoms and pills are still the preferred methods for avoiding parenthood, followed by "pulling out." It works… sometimes.

39% birth-control pills

1.5% morning-after pill

1.5% patches

42% condoms

3% diaphragm

20% pulling out

11% vasectomy/tube tying

9% none

My favorite sexual position is…

For the fourth time in a row, "doggy" wins paws down, with "girl on top" coming in a close second. Good old missionary came in third. We're a little concerned about the extrovert who answered "public," and hope the person who said "tied up" doesn't get too strung out with that obsession. On the other hand, we're so intrigued by "wheelbarrow," "windmill," "moose style" and "reverse cowgirl" that we can't wait to try them -- as soon as we figure out what they are. And to the smartass who wrote, "fiscal conservatism, with whipped cream," all we can say is, "Come again?"

Describe your typical orgasm…

Lots of women talked about how long it takes. But O, when it comes, the sentences you spewed! Rather than reprint your purple prose, we've turned your various answers into this handy kit for describing your own climax. Just mix and match the words from these categories and let 'er rip.

Verbs: teasing, tenses, curling, reaching, grabbing, tingling, drooling, pumping, screaming, rushing, blinded, thrusting, yelling, racing, rocks, numbs, pulsing, rushing, crushing, rumbles, rolls, screaming, giggling, lasts and lasts, moan, can't focus, burst, spurts, spew, spray, shakes, shudder, hold.

Nouns: vibrator, fantasy, boyfriend, pleasure, wife, breath, penis, vagina, Energizer bunny, toes, warmth, balls, buildup, roller coaster, waves, butter, bliss, pain, throat, semen, release, spasms, spurts, explosion, mess, Martha Stewart, towels, chocolate, afterglow, paradise, smile.

Adjectives: wonderful, vaginal, hard, hot, whole, giant, powerful, fast, intense, entire, enormous, mind-blowing, strong, swirly, spiritual, spasmodic, good, glad, gushy, gone.

Special effects: Ka-blam-o!, splat!

The best thing about sex is…

It was heartening to see "intimacy" topping this list -- a sweet response that showed up even more often than last survey's big winner: "orgasm." Suggests our respondents are either kinder and gentler or just exhausted. Whatever the reason, when a lot of you go all the way, the journey apparently matters as much as the destination.

The third most popular response was variations of "physical activity," "exercise" and "heat/sweat." We wonder whether those folks would be just as happy mounting a stationary bike as a sweetheart.

Finally, the sheer variety of miscellaneous responses reminded us that sexual attitudes are as idiosyncratic as the individuals expressing them. The answers were simple ("feels good"); altruistic ("satisfying my partner"); practical ("stress relief"); sociable ("great post-sex conversation," "eye contact"); aesthetic ("sound effects," "taste," "smell"); potty-mouthed ("dirty talk"); nature-loving ("being naked"); discriminating ("short women," "big butts"); self-centered ("ego boost," "showing off," "conquest"); and philosophical ("no expectations," "it's all good").

The worst thing about sex is…

They don't call sex "dirty" for nothing. Once again, "the wet spot" claims the distinction of being the worst thing about sex. Limping in at a distant second were those who wish they'd gotten as far as the wet -- or the G -- spot: People who just can't keep it up or reach orgasm, or are just plain disappointed with their lot in bed. "When it ends" and "Not having enough" sound more like backhanded ways of saying how much you like it.

Health concerns, such as worrying about getting an STD or pregnant, can take the starch out of some shirts, as can self-image issues. We wish we could give a supportive hug to those of you who cited "low self-esteem," "being tired" and "getting old." Query to the reader who complained about "ugly genitalia": Your partners' or your own?

When I have sex I am mostly thinking about my own/my lover's pleasure…

Twenty-seven respondents in our sample left this question blank -- understandably, they may not be thinking at all during the sex act. A respectable two-thirds, though, at least claimed they thought more about the needs of their partner than their own. And once again, the guys come out on top, so to speak: Just over half the women manage to concentrate on the S.O., while 85 percent of men say they do. Who's the best bet for the most considerate lover? A Republican homosexual male. Try finding one of those.

Vermont's hottest…

Who needs lipstick? Not Judy Dean. Without a speck of makeup, she easily found her way into the sexual fantasies of a few Seven Days readers. Her husband picked up the most votes -- for celebrity sex object, not president. He also did well last time around, as governor, which perhaps explains the more limited lust expressed for Jim Douglas and Brian Dubie. Anyone in power… We're still scratching our heads over Ethan Allen and Samuel de Champlain, though.

People singled out business owners, too -- Jake Carpenter of Burton Snowboards and Jim Lampman of Champlain Chocolates -- for customer satisfaction. They're also on to the workers, including the butcher at City Market and "all the wait staff at Penny Cluse." One reader waxed poetic about a 135 Pearl bartender who's "got an ass that would make even a lesbian sit up and beg." Musicians also scored big -- and, by the way, guys, Zola Turn broke up five years ago.

The television still turns you on -- though small-screen sexual fantasies are mostly a guy thing: Newscasters Sharon Meyer, Sera Congi and Anya Huneke are household names. Roger Garrity rates, but there's no sign of Marselis Parsons.

Last time we asked, you were all hot for Rusty "The Logger" DeWees. But his sex "ax" appears to be getting a little dull. While five people gave him the thumbs up, one insisted, "Not Rusty the Logger." Timber?

A few more hot celebrities:

Kathy O'Brien, Ben Cohen, Lola, Elizabeth Ready,

Bernie Sanders, Janice Perry, James Kochalka, Fred Tuttle, Patrick Leahy, Bill Sorrell, Martha Rainville, John O'Brien, Alison Bechdel, John LeClair, Pascal Spengemann, Damon Brink, Trey Anastasio. Oh, and a few of us chickens.

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About The Author

Pamela Polston

Pamela Polston

Pamela Polston is a cofounder and the Art Editor of Seven Days. In 2015, she was inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.


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