Snow Patrol – Audrey Aleen Allen Playboy January-February 2015
Who Has the Best Sex?
Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN
Several factors determine how often we have sex and how satisfied we are.
Besides consent and attraction, what does it take to have a mutually satisfying sex life? A national study published in early 2016 in the Journal of Sex Research spelled out the details as reported by men and women who reported the highest levels of satisfaction.
More than 38,000 men and women living together in heterosexual relationships for at least three years were surveyed about their levels of sexual satisfaction and the behaviors most associated with their satisfaction. While most participants reported themselves to be sexually satisfied during their first six months living together, only 55 percent of women and 43 percent of men reported feeling sexually satisfied at the time of the survey. The rest—27 percent of women and 41 percent of men—were reportedly dissatisfied, while 18 percent of women and 16 percent of men felt neutral about their sex lives.
Participants filled out a questionnaire that included scales to rate their level of passion now compared to when they first started having sex, and questions about sexual frequency, orgasm consistency, oral sex frequency and sexual variety. When it came to sexual variety, they were asked about activities they incorporated into their sex lives in order to improve their sex lives, such as using a vibrator or sex toy together, wearing sexy underwear, having sexual contact in a public place, trying anal stimulation, trying light S&M such as restraints or spanking, and inviting a third person to join them.
And who among this group had maintained their passion and had the highest levels of satisfaction? As some might expect, those who had sex most often and consistently enjoyed orgasms, those who received the most oral sex, and those whose sex lives were spiced with variety reported feeling most satisfied. Mood setting and sexual communication also contributed to high satisfaction levels.
Another 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital therapy focused on the sex lives of men and women specifically between the ages of 50 to 80, and came up with similar results. Not only do many older people have active sex lives (in case you doubted it!), but those who do may be physically and mentally healthier than those who don’t, the researchers report. Although they may not have sex as often due to medical or biological issues, or feel as sexually satisfied as when they were younger, those elders who were able to communicate their needs to their partners and those couples who introduced the most variety into their sex lives, reportedly had sex more often and felt the most satisfied.
Simply having frequent sex doesn’t predict great satisfaction. Clearly, quality counts. Together, these studies sum up specific behaviors and attitudes can result in an exciting and mutually satisfying sexual relationship at any age, the top three being:
- Good, honest communication between partners, such as discussing sexual interests, desires, likes, dislikes, praising each other, and, in some cases, dealing well with mild criticism.
- Mood setting, such as starting with sex talk and having a sense of humor about things that happen during sex.
- Varied sexual activity, such as changing positions and generally being more creative about sex.