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Arch Sex Behav. 2017 Nov;46(8):2403-2415. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-0968-7. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

Sociodemographic Correlates of Sexlessness Among American Adults and Associations with Self-Reported Happiness Levels: Evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey.

Author information

1
The School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.
2
Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.
3
The Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10032, USA. pm124@columbia.edu.

Abstract

Although sexual activity is commonly believed to be a key component of emotional well-being, little is known about the factors associated with the absence of sexual activity or its associations with self-reported happiness. Using the U.S. General Social Survey-National Death Index 2008 dataset, a series of nationally representative surveys (1988-2002), this study analyzed the sociodemographic and lifestyle factors associated with past-year sexlessness and self-reported happiness among American adults (n = 17,744). After adjustment for marital status, there were no significant time trends evident in the proportion of American adults reporting past-year sexlessness. Among participants (age = 18-89 years), 15.2% of males and 26.7% of females reported past-year sexlessness while 8.7% of males and 17.5% of females reported no sex for 5 years or more. For both genders, past-year sexlessness was most strongly associated with older age and being currently non-married in the multivariable models. Among males, the multivariable analysis also showed that sexlessness was associated with providing less than 20% of the household income (OR 2.27). In female participants, sexlessness was associated with very low income, poor health, lower financial satisfaction, absence of children, and having conservative sexual attitudes (OR 1.46-3.60). For both genders, Black race was associated with a much lower likelihood of sexlessness among currently non-married adults. The purported detrimental impact of sexlessness on self-reported happiness levels was not evident in this large, nationally representative study after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Sexless Americans reported very similar happiness levels as their sexually active counterparts.

KEYWORDS:

Abstinence; Asexuality; Celibacy; DSM-5; Sexual activity; Virginity

PMID:
28275930
PMCID:
PMC5889124
DOI:
10.1007/s10508-017-0968-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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