What made America so obsessed with sexuality

Berlin (taz) - Are Americans really as obsessed with sex as films, soap operas, and video clips would lead us to believe? Forty years after the infamous Kinsey Report, according to which Americans roll around the clock in their feathers, on kitchen tables and back seats and every second man claims to have extramarital affairs, the first scientific study is now at the University of Chicago * appeared that puts an end to these euphoric notions like that Time-Magazine (from October 13th) noticed. Rather, it is true: the love life of the Americans is as exciting as a bean stew.

American couples have sex more often than singles, about twice a week. The average man has six sex partners during his lifetime, but the typical American only has two. Married couples are also mostly monogamous. 96 percent of those questioned find “normal” vaginal sex “very or at least fairly satisfactory”. While oral intercourse is only in third place on the popularity list of the most exciting experiences, second place brought a big surprise: 70 percent think it is exciting to “look at your partner while you are undressing”. Also curious: Those who already have an active sex life are also most likely to practice masturbation. And: Conservative Protestants are the women who are most likely to orgasm with every act. While it was previously assumed that every tenth person was gay or lesbian, only 2.7 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women stated that they had been homoerotically active in the past year. Did the good Alfred Kinsey cheat in his report? Can We Really Believe The Chicago Study?

Of course, the AIDS hysteria has severely impaired sex life, as 76 percent of those surveyed announced. Nevertheless, Kinsey's investigation suffered from one crucial minor detail: At the time, he did not find any group of people who were both willing to provide information and representative. Among his 11,000 respondents were primarily beatniks, fraternity members, playboy-Readers and other braggars who liked to boast about a bizarre love life. The team from Chicago, on the other hand, worked with the tried and tested methods of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC): 220 interviewers were specially trained to get the most intimate answers out of people. The sociologist involved in the investigation, Edward Laumann, asserts that you can "get everyone to talk about anything" if you just approach them properly. Of the 4,369 randomly selected people, 79 percent took part in the study, with the questions allegedly worded to "trick the most sophisticated liars."

But there are doubts: Helen Gurley, Cosmopolitan-Editor says, “Should women only have two sex partners in their lives? Ridiculous! After all, we always advise our Cosmo-Girls three to answer when asked about the number of their lovers. " playboy-Founder Hugh Heffner suspected for a long time: “Our puritanical roots go deep.” Erica Jong, author of the 1973 bestseller “Fear of Flying”, is anything but surprised by the results: “Was absolutely predictable. Americans are much more interested in money than they are in sex. ”Kirsten Niemann

*Edward Laumann, Robert Michael and Stuart Michaels: "The Social Organization of Sexuality", Publishing University of Chicago.