Sex and the CDC

Amy Wolf Oct 4, 2005

“Have you ever put your penis in a female
or males rectum or butt (also known as
anal sex)?”
“Has a male ever put his mouth on your
vagina,(also known as cunnilingus)?”

— Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)
National Survey of Family Growth, released Sept 15, 2005.

The above are just two inquiries posed to 12,571 men and women ages 15 to 44 in 2002 and 2003. Across the United States, 200 trained female surveyors (whom I fantasize wear tight royal blue polyester pant-suits with matching brimless stewardess hats) visited participants at their homes, assuring them of their anonymity and doling out $40 “tokens of appreciation.” They came equipped with Audio Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing machines (essentially laptops with headphones) which drilled for sensitive answers to sensitive questions. The first thing that comes to mind in confronting a sex survey is WHY BE HONEST? Is it even possible to be honest in a survey when many people are not honest with themselves about sex?

According to the survey, up to 34 percent of men claimed to have had sex with 15 or more women in their lifetime. Only 10 percent of the ladies surveyed admitted to 15 or more men. Either there are many fewer (possibly paid) women puttin’ out for vast quantities of men, or the survey does not account for rounding-up and roundingdown according to the cultural values of chastity and promiscuity.

The CDC recognizes the potential for “under reporting of sensitive behaviors” but insists that the use of laptops yields more honest results.

They beat a small army of stern, matronly surveyors, balancing clipboards on the ledges of their belted girths, who interrogate you for the number of BJ points (also known as
fellatio points) you may have accrued. Some may treat it as a confessional,
but can the computer transcend self-imposed filters of machismo, shame, embellishment and denial?

Taken with that rock of salt, I present to you some choice bits of survey data. Forty percent of men and 35 percent of women have had anal sex with a member of the opposite sex. That figure impresses me. Although a bit lower than the percentage of citizens who vote, it’s just as American to take it, and give it, up the ass.

The majority of Americans are monogamous, or at least practice serial-monogamy. Sixty-three percent of men and 68 percent of women report that they have had only one partner in the past year. The report also sheds light on the fact that heterosexual men were far less likely to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections than homosexuals. (In the past year, only 14 percent of straight men got tested versus nearly 38 percent of gays). Kudos also go out to homosexuals for using condoms almost three times as often as heteros in their most recent sexual encounters.

What the CDC, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, will actually do with the data results is anybody’s guess. As STD infection rates rise amongst
teens, federally funded sex-education programs solely support abstinence until marriage programs that only teach the virtues of virginity and the failure of condoms.

Entire survey results at

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