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Anal Sex Statistics

Data on the Prevalence of Heterosexual Anal Sex

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Updated April 01, 2014

The subject of heterosexual anal sex has attracted relatively little attention when compared the voluminous research and sex statistics that have been compiled regarding anal sex between men. Slowly, this gaping hole in the research is being rectified. While we're far from having a complete picture, recent surveys have included questions about heterosexual anal sex.

When reading sex statistics, remember that all sex survey research comes with problems that make generalizing difficult. The bottom line is that one can never know how truthful participants are being and what impact the survey itself has on the end results. Nonetheless, survey research can be helpful to give a very general picture of sexual behavior.

Some notable findings:

  • Kinsey data collected between 1938-1963 found that 9 percent of non-married males and 28 percent of non-married females had engaged in anal sex at least once. Among married subjects, the numbers were much lower--around 11 percent for both men and women.

     

  • In 1974, Playboy magazine published a huge survey of over 2000 people. Depending on the age of the respondent, between 14 and 25 percent of people said they had tried anal sex at least once.

     

  • A more recent study, conducted in 1990 at the Kinsey Institute, found that 27 percent of male and 24 percent of female college students had anal sex at least once.

     

  • One researcher, who surveyed one group of people in the 1970s then another in the late 1980s, offers a good point of comparison. In the first survey, 25 percent of women had anal sex and 8 percent reported engaging in it regularly. In the second, 72 percent had anal sex, and 23 percent reported engaging in it regularly.

     

  • A 1991 survey of 3200 men (in a nationally representative sample) found that 20 percent of men age 20 to 39 had engaged in anal sex at least once. Fifty percent of the men who had tried it had only tried it once. Interestingly, in this more contemporary study, more older men reported having had anal sex than younger men (27 percent of men age 35 to 39 versus 13 percent of men age 20 to 24).

     

  • The most recent U.S. data from a national representative sample comes from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which was conducted on over 12,000 men and women aged 15 to 44. Results show that 34 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex at least once.

     

  • In a 1996 survey of Swedish women aged 18 to 74, about 20 percent of women overall reported having engaged in anal sex--specifically, 28 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds and 2 percent of 66 to 74 year-olds.

Sources:

  1. Billy, J.O., Grady, W.R., Klepinger, D.H. "The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States" Family Planning Perspectives Vol. 25. Issue 2 (1993): 52 -60.
  2. Bolling, D.R. “Prevalence, Goals and Complications of Heterosexual Anal Intercourse in a Gynecologic Population. Journal of Reproductive Medicine Volume 19 (1977): 120-124.
  3. Bolling, D. “Heterosexual Anal Intercourse: A Common Entity, Perceived Rarity, Neglected Patients and Ostrich Syndrome.” Paper presented at the 1987 Kinsey Institute Conference, AIDS and sex: An integrated biomedical and biobehavioral approach, Bloomington, IN, December 5-8, 1987.
  4. Fugl-Meyer, K.S., Oberg, K., Lundberg,P.O., et al. "On Orgasm, Sexual Techniques, and Erotic Perceptions in 18- to 74-Year-Old Swedish Women" Journal of Sexual Medicine Volume 3, No. 1, (2006):56-68.
  5. Gebhard, P.H. & Johnson, A.B. The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the1938-1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute for Sex Research Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders,1979.
  6. Hunt, M. Sexual Behavior in the 1970s. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1974.
  7. Mosher,W.D., Chandra, A. & Jones J. “Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15–44 Years of Age, United States, 2002.” Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics; no 362. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics (2005): <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf>
  8. Voeller, B. “AIDS and Heterosexual Anal Intercourse.” Archives of Sexual Behavior Volume 20. Issue 3 (1991): 233-276.

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