What Do Men And Women Want From Sex? The Irish Times Sex Survey Attempted To Shed Some Light On Our Similarities And Differences

Have you ever wondered whether men and women have different desires in the bedroom? The Irish Times sex survey looked to answer this question to see how people felt about their sex lives, as well as whether any of these differences were related to factors like age, orientation, and gender. 12,000 people age 17 and older participated in the large-scale survey, which was conducted during June of 2015 on the newspaper's website — and now the results are out, so let's take a look.

It's worth noting that the results come with a few caveats: First, the survey was completely voluntary; second, it was conducted by a geographically-specific publication; and third, over 60 percent of the participants were in the 24 to 50 age range. As such, we can't really make sweeping generalizatons across the population based on what the survey found. That said, though, the results are still intriguing for a variety of reasons. Sex therapist Margaret Dunne told the Irish Times, for example, that surveys like this help people to locate their experinces in relation to others. “Such surveys help people address the ‘Am I normal?’ question, which I am constantly asked by my clients. ... This survey will assist readers to answer those questions by themselves," she said.

Here are the six most significant takeaways; to see the full results of the sex survey, as well as a ton of interactive infographics that can help you filter the answers according to orientation, age, sex, and more, head on over to the Irish Times.

1. Most People Have Had Between Five and 10 Sex Partners

The survey asked participants how many sexual partners they've had over the course of their lifetime; 27 percent of respondents said between five and 10, making it the most popular answer. The other categories also came in at around 20 percent, though, with 22 percent of respondents reporting having had between two and four sexual partners and 19 percent between 11 and 20. The men in the survey reported having had more sexual partners than women, with gay and bisexual men coming in with the highest numbers by far: 52 percent of gay men reported having more than 20 sexual partners over the course of their lifetime.

2. Women Of All Ages Have Trouble With Orgasm

51 percent of women ages 17-24 answered "yes" to the quesiton about whether they have experienced an inability to orgasm. The numbers hovered in the mid 40th percentiles for women who were middle-aged or older, which suggests this problem is very common.

3. Most People Are Happy With Their Bodies

Despite seemingly contagious body shaming, most people — 58 percent of participants — reported being happy with their bodies. For women, the answers came down to a 50/50 split between happy and unhappy, while for men, 64 percent reported being happy with their bodies. There's clearly still a gender divide in body image here; it should also be noted that people tended to become happier as their bodies as they age. So all of that stuff you hear about fighting the aging process must really be just a marketing scheme.

4. 50 Shades of Grey Is Not The Reality For Most

If you've ever wondered how prevalent BDSM practices are in the bedrooms of others, only 21 percent of survey respondents reported having ever engaged in the practice. Bisexual women were the most likely to have done so, though, with over half of them having reported ever practicing BDSM, compared to just 19 percent of straight women. Bisexual men were also heavy practitioners, with 41 percent of them having had engaged in BDSM in their bedroom Olympics.

5. Men Are Out-Masturbating Us

When the question of masturbation was asked, there was a clear gender gap in the responses: 48 percent of sexually active men reported masturbating more than once per week compared to only 27 percent of women. For those who weren't in a relationship, 40 percent of women said they masturbated more than once per week and only eight percent more daily; meanwhile, 41 percent of men who weren't in relationships reporting practicing masturbating on a daily basis and 44 percent more than once per week. Masturbation is not only a great practice for self-pleasure but solo sex also has a lot of health benefits — so ladies? It might be worth jilling off more. Just saying.

6. Most People Are Having Regular Sex

If you've ever wondered how much other people are having sex, the average among survey respondents was one to two times per week. In fact, only seven percent of people reported having not had sex within the last year. 25 to 34 year olds are having the most sex, with 51 percent of both men and women reporting having gotten busy one to two times per week on average. For those who were single, 38 percent of men and 27 percent of women reported having had sex within the last month, so clearly long-term relationships aren't necessary for finding sexual partners. Also, the stereotype that those who are in long-term relationships not having as much sex seems to be accurate; only 31 percent couples who have been together for more than 30 years reported having sex at least once per week, compared to 60 percent of those who've been in a relationship for two to seven years. Then again, anyone who's been in a relationship for over 30 years is probably also a little... less spry than many of their two-to-seven-year counterparts, so... do with that what you will.

Head on over to the Irish Times to see the full survey results.

Images: Giphy (6); Lies Thru a Lens/Flickr