Sexual behaviors, relationships, and perceived health among adult men in the United States: Results from a national probability sample

Michael Reece, Debby Herbenick, Vanessa Schick, Stephanie A. Sanders, Brian Dodge, J. Dennis Fortenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


Introduction.: To provide a foundation for those who provide sexual health services and programs to men in the United States, the need for population-based data that describes men's sexual behaviors and their correlates remains. Aims.: The purpose of this study was to, in a national probability survey of men ages 18-94 years, assess the occurrence and frequency of sexual behaviors and their associations with relationship status and health status. Methods.: A national probability sample of 2,522 men aged 18 to 94 completed a cross-sectional survey about their sexual behaviors, relationship status, and health. Main Outcome Measures.: Relationship status; health status; experience of solo masturbation, partnered masturbation, giving oral sex, receiving oral sex, vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse, in the past 90 days; frequency of solo masturbation, vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse in the past year. Results.: Masturbation, oral intercourse, and vaginal intercourse are prevalent among men throughout most of their adult life, with both occurrence and frequency varying with age and as functions of relationship type and physical health status. Masturbation is prevalent and frequent across various stages of life and for both those with and without a relational partner, with fewer men with fair to poor health reporting recent masturbation. Patterns of giving oral sex to a female partner were similar to those for receiving oral sex. Vaginal intercourse in the past 90 days was more prevalent among men in their late 20s and 30s than in the other age groups, although being reported by approximately 50% of men in the sixth and seventh decades of life. Anal intercourse and sexual interactions with other men were less common than all other sexual behaviors. Conclusion.: Contemporary men in the United States engage in diverse solo and partnered sexual activities; however, sexual behavior is less common and more infrequent among older age cohorts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Health
  • Men
  • Probability Sample
  • Relationships
  • Sexual Behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

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