The 2013 Sex Survey results reflected some interesting outcomes. Out of 1,300 respondents, 45.3% identified as male, 38.6% as female, and 16.1% as transgender. 157 identified as “other”, with the most common answers being intersex and genderqueer.
When asked their sexual orientation, 69.2% identified as heterosexual, with 6.6% identifying as gay, 4.3% as lesbian and 19.9% as bisexual. Of the 213 who identify as “other”, the most common answers were pansexual, asexual, trisexual, polysexual and queer.
77% of respondents had had sex, compared with 7.4% who had not, and 15.6% claiming they were “unsure”. However, there was little difference in answers between these groups – roughly the same statistics were represented concerning masturbation and getting information about sexual health.
Interestingly, 84% of those who haven’t had sex think that cheating on a partner is unacceptable, compared to 65% for those who have. While one respondent said: “We weren’t naturally designed to have only one sexual partner”, most cited monogamy and commitment as reasons why infidelity is never acceptable.
For those who had not had sex, the most common answer to the question “why not?” was a lack of opportunity, or waiting for someone special. One person commented: “I’m saving myself for the right person. For religious/personal reasons I believe sex belongs inside a marriage”. Another said: “I don’t care about it being ‘special’, I just want to do it with someone who I like and who likes me back”. A large proportion of the answers reflected that those who have not had sex chose to do for personal reasons, or having not met the person they felt comfortable losing their virginity with.
When asked what made a good sexual experience, a lot of respondents mentioned communication, confidence and being comfortable with the partner you are with: “A romantic atmosphere and taking things slowly … Making sure you’re both enjoying things … Communicating about what you like and what you don’t like”. “Chemistry for both parties” was also mentioned. Satisfaction for those involved also came up several times. Another answer also said: “Confirming that the partner is willing, being alert to any problems. Trust is most important though.”
Answers to what makes a bad sexual experience varied hugely and showed very little in the way of patterns or trends. Perhaps interestingly, the phrases “no lube” and “too little lube” were mentioned a noticeable amount of times. Worryingly, feeling out of control of the situation also arose; one respondent commented: “Being pressured into it – not a huge fan of doing it in a house full of housemates” and another said “feeling like you HAVE to”.
This was a recurring theme, with another adding: “When you’re forced into it. You’ve given consent but you do not feel 100% comfortable about it”. This was one of the most common answers under this question, along with awkwardness or a lack of compatibility.
Ed. note: Consent is a hugely important issue which should be taken seriously. For a more thorough look at what is and isn’t acceptable, check out UEA Feminism president Hattie Grünewald’s article on “Yes means yes”.
When asked how other people’s sex lives impact their own, the most common answers involved noisy housemates, peer pressure and jealousy. One respondent observed that sex can “break up friendship groups, [and] cause friction between people if their sex lives aren’t going great.”
Sexual fantasies ranged from having sex with “the entire campus”, to “Professor Snape in latex and high heels”, but in the seeming randomness, there were recurring themes of power-play and group sex. One respondent answered: “to be completely dominated”, while another said they enjoy “the other person taking charge”. One particularly easily-pleased person simply said: “I don’t really have a fantasy, it’s basically just humping. I love humping”.
Role-play stories also ranged from the bizarre to the conventional; many listed classic nurse/patient, teacher/student and firemen, while one film fan listed “The Grinch, Luke Skywalker, Adam Sandler, Mrs. Robinson, Ms. Doubtfire, Alf”. Another said “I pretended to be the editor of Concrete whilst my partner pretended to be a new innocent writer coming into the office.” Guys, we are flattered.
Thank you to all who took part. All responses are entirely anonymous.