National Health Statistics Reports
Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth
By Anjani Chandra, PhD, William D. Mosher, PhD, and Casey Copen, PhD, Division of Vital Statistics, CDC/NCHS; Catlainn Sionean, PhD, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, CDC/NCHHSTP
Number 36, March 2011
Objective:This report presents national estimates of several measures of sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity among males and females 15-44 years of age in the United States, based on the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). These data are relevant to demographic and public health concerns, including fertility and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers and adults. Data from the 2006-2008 NSFG are compared with data from the 2002 NSFG and other national surveys.
Methods: Data for 2006-2008 were collected through in-person interviews with a national sample of 13,495 males and females in the household population of the United States. The measures presented in this report were collected using Audio Computer-Assisted SelfInterviewing (ACASI), in which the respondent enters his or her own answers into the computer without telling them to an interviewer. The response rate for the 2006-2008 NSFG was 75%.
Results: Sexual behaviors among males and females 15-44 years of age, based on the 2006-2008 NSFG, were generally similar to those reported based on the 2002 NSFG. Among adults 25-44, about 98% of females and 97% of males ever had vaginal intercourse, 89% of females and 90% of males ever had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, and 36% of females and 44% of males ever had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner. Twice as many women reported any same-sex contact in their lifetimes compared with men (13% of women and 5.2% of men). Among teenagers aged 15-19, 7% of females and 9% of males have had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner, but no vaginal intercourse. Sexual attraction and identity correlates closely but not completely with reports of sexual behavior. Sexual behaviors, attraction, and identity vary by age, marital and cohabiting status, education, race and Hispanic origin.