The 2011 Playboy Sex Survey

By Playboy Magazine

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We surveyed 2,310 adults on their coital habits, and the results are in. Find out how your fellow Americans are getting off.


The mechanics of sex haven't changed for a long while—insert A into B, C or D, wiggle around, have an orgasm (or not). But the way we come together is faster, less discerning and, many would argue, less intimate since the arrival of the internet. Last year a polling firm asked 1,074 adults, “If you had to choose, would you give up sex or the internet?” Thirty-five percent couldn't decide. It's come to this?

We wanted our own figures. Not since the pill has a cultural force as powerful as the internet had such an effect on the way humans copulate. In 1983, over the course of five issues, Playboy reported the results of the most sweeping sex poll in history, after surveying 65,396 male and 14,928 female readers about their habits. The timing is important: Just months after that survey was on newsstands, Apple unveiled the Macintosh—a seminal moment in digital media.

This year we repeated the survey so we could compare sex today with sex at the dawn of the digital age. With the help of Harris Interactive, we collected responses from 8,002 male and 2,001 female visitors to Playboy.com, the results of which were weighted to reflect the demographic of the average Playboy reader.

Next, to avoid being myopic, we asked Harris to present the survey to a sample of American adults (not just Playboy readers) to learn more about how men and women are having sex in 2011, and particularly the role of technology. The firm interviewed 1,210 men and 1,100 women online and weighted the results to reflect the race, gender, sexual orientation, age, education and other attributes of the U.S. adult population—all 232 million of us.

Certainly a number of factors have changed how we view and practice sex since 1983—AIDS and Viagra come to mind. But a great amount of the new data we collected points to the influence of internet porn. This includes a huge leap in the number of people who report watching adult movies (78 percent today, 40 percent in 1983). Both men and women masturbate more while having less intercourse. In 1983 we didn't ask if people shaved their pubic hair—who would do that? Now more than half the respondents in our survey are trimming. We also noticed a boost in the incidence of reverse cowgirl—woman on top, facing away—a position popularized by porn.

Need more evidence? The security cam and gonzo porn genres are phenoms supported by the huge increase in readers who say they have had sex in public or other risky places (up to 76 percent from about 35 percent). And what's one to make of the fact that 70 percent of female respondents have been photographed nude and nearly 50 percent while having sex? Thanks to digital cameras and smartphones, you no longer need to develop the film. That's progress.

You'll find highlights from both polls in the June 2011 issue of Playboy magazine, including comparisons between the results of the 2011 and 1983 Playboy reader surveys.

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| Harris Survey | Reader Survey


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