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Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Number of Partners, Frequency of Intercourse and Risk of AIDS

Tom W. Smith
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 23, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1991), pp. 102-107
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2135820
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135820
Page Count: 6
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Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Number of Partners, Frequency of Intercourse and Risk of AIDS
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Abstract

Questions on sexual behavior that were added to the National Opinion Research Center's 1988 and 1989 General Social Surveys reveal that 97 percent of adult Americans have had intercourse since age 18. Respondents report having an average of about 1.2 sexual partners during the year preceding the survey and nearly 7.2 partners since age 18; men claimed to have had considerably more partners than did women. About one-fifth of adult Americans had no partners during the previous year. Moreover, over a year's time, only 1.5 percent of married people reported having had a sexual partner other than their spouse. On average, adults report engaging in intercourse 57 times per year. About two percent of sexually active adults reported being exclusively homosexual or bisexual during the year preceding the survey, and 5-6 percent have been exclusively homosexual or bisexual since age 18. Seven percent of adults are at relatively high current risk of contracting AIDS--three percent because they have had multiple partners, three percent because they have had unfamiliar partners and one percent because of their sexual orientation. However, 33 percent have engaged in relatively risky behavior at some time since age 18.

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