Originally published, November 5th, 2014 in the Portland Mercury
WOW‚ PORTLAND, so many of you took this year’s Mercury Sex Survey! THANK YOU! I wonder how many of you completed it pants-less? (We gotta put that on next year’s survey!) For those just joining us, two weeks ago I wrote the roughly 50 questions that made up the 2014 Mercury Sex Survey. In response, a whopping 3,100 Portlanders (twice as many as last time) turned down the lights, pumped the Marvin Gaye, and sexily examined your inner-deviant. [Note: Some of you answered all the questions, but some of you couldn’t be bothered—so that’s why some of the results may not equal 100%, math-nerds.] Now for the monumental task of decoding these fat stacks of survey results. I aim to scientifically answer these questions: Who are you, Portland? And who you fuckin’? LET’S GET INTO IT.
WHO ARE YOU?
You are mostly 26 to 35 years old—gee, I’m so shocked. One percent of you are 66 to 75 years old, probably because my parents are VERY supportive. 50% of you are ladies, and less than 50% dudes, while 2% of you would like us to stop asking about yer gender. (Message received, homies).
For a city that’s been accused of being promiscuous, being a temporary home to tons of bands rolling through between Eugene and Seattle, and attracting young ballers looking to make a killing in the real estate game—a whopping 63% of you are married or are co-habitating. DAYUM, Portland, y’all are inrelationships. NO WONDER I HAVEN’T MET ANYONE! (That makes me feel much better about my cold, empty bed. What a great, life-affirming sex survey this is!)
You sexually minded folks are hella educated. Most (40%) of you have bachelor’s degrees, while about 200 of you learned everything you know from “the streets.” (Hey man, the streets don’t lie.)
In the survey, I asked you about your jobs… mostly just to be polite, also so you don’t feel like our relationship is just about sex (sometimes you have to nod and smile supportively while the person you’re banging goes on and on about their jerky boss). 7% of you work for the government, and coincidentally, government workers are most likely to jerk off daily! (No wonder those lines at the post office are so long! They’re licking their own stamp… if you get my meaning.)
67% of you identify as heterosexual. ONLY 5% are old-fashioned gay folks, which means that a lot of folks are identifying as newfangled queers! 14% of you are bi, and 4% of you are pansexual. And because I had to look it up, you might need this definition of “pansexual”: sexually attracted to all the genders, without acknowledging a gender binary. Basically it seems increasingly popular not to bring this subject into the bedroom. Fuck first, ask about pronouns later, right? PORTLAND, you transformed the Kinsey Scale from a line into a polydodecahedron… and I love you for it!
By the way, 1% of you identify as asexual, and that’s cool too. Thanks for taking this survey. I hope it doesn’t gross you out too much. Hopefully knowing how the other 99% lives will help you figure out what’s going on with your non-asexual friends, and maybe even Mulder and Scully.
Let’s talk for a moment about the much-made-of “Poly People.” The poly community really stepped up to take this sex survey, as 42% of you identified as something other than monogamous (as in either polyamorous, monogamish, or polyamorous-ish). That seems like a lot! Like if I went out on 100 first dates (which was actually in the ballpark this past summer), 42 of those guys could be like, “This was really great, you’re really special… you remind me of my wife.” Geez, Portland, you are killing it with being Portland-y right now
HOW INTO SEX ARE YOU?
The people having the most sex are those who are living together, but aren’t married(18% say they have sex two or more times a week). It’s amazing how a childless, nuptial-free apartment can really set the mood.
Who’s having daily sex? 6% of you say you bang every day. People who fuck two or more times a week represent the biggest piece of the pie at 35% (single, living together = 18%, married = 9%, single = 4%). There was also a good showing for people who hit it once a week (14%), while 18% of folks get wet three times a month. 10% of you bang once a month, 8% of you bang a couple of times a year. 6% of you aren’t getting any at all, and since only 1% of you are asexual… I’m sad now.
As far as sexual history, 19% of you have banged five or fewer people, and 17% of you have banged 31 or more people. And yet, here we all are, living in the same city together, taking the same sex survey. Beautiful. Good thing to remember, because say you just started dating someone and you can’t understand why they aren’t making moves to get in your pants… perhaps they’re part of the 19% percent, and trying to keep their numbers down. Maybe you’re confused because you’re part of the 17%; you’re a big bag of come-covered Friday nights, and it’s highly likely misunderstandings could run amok. It’s tough to ask someone about their sexual experience in an era when both slut-shaming and chaste-shaming are rampant! Just goes to show you can’t really make assumptions in relationships. Experiences vary so wildly, even in Portland!
I got some feedback about our survey’s masturbation questions, saying I was gearing them toward men. “Hey Bri, don’t you think broads masturbate?” Actually, yeah, I do! I believe ladies all over the world are dimming the lights, putting on some D’Angelo, and jerking their bits to climax right now! Women jerk, too. So maybe can we just cool it with gendering all the verbs? Ugh. So much gendering, so little time! ANYWAY. Back to jerkin’ it. As for treating your body like an amusement park, how much are you doing it?
On the whole, some of you jerk off a lot. If I exercised as much as you jerk off, I’d be a college football cheerleader (or a college football player, for that matter). 8% of you jerk it 9 to 15 times a week… but y’know what? I’m proud of you. You have a loving relationship with your body. I sincerely, if maybe over-optimistically, hope you weren’t crying during some of those self-love sessions—AKA a “sob job.” Just a tip for you compulsive self-flagellators: Change it up from time to time. If you treat your dick/clit like Pavlov’s dog, your next partner might not know to ring the bell. I’m not saying don’t jerk off, I’m saying switch it up. If you always watch porn, maybe try using your imagination once a week. Instead of your hand, use a fun toy, or try a different hole… live your life! Okay, I think I’ve made my point.
Speaking of speculating on jerking off: Did you know that 20% of boys don’t use lube when they are shooting solo? But WHY? Isn’t it better all wet and messy? How are you going to piston the engine block with no OIL? Wait… what am I saying? See, when you make assumptions about how other people jerk off, you make an ass out of “u” and me—especially when your go-to Valentine’s Day gift is a giant bottle of Jergens. It’s such a cliché… the guilty male masturbator, pumping a hot wad of Lubriderm into his palm; like the mighty gymnast clapping chalk, or the mighty professional bowler drying his hands and donning fingerless gloves. Wet, dry, chalky… do it the way you want. You’re all champions, is what I’m saying.
Isn’t this demystification fun? Okay, so what else? 53% of you watch porn and it’s a pretty close split between ladies (22%) and dudes (31%). Not many of you had opinions about porn websites—which is a shame because I really wanted some new suggestions. There isn’t really an online pornography gold standard yet. (Where you at, Google?) Besides the options provided: YouPorn, XTube, and RedTube, your write-in jerk-spirations were: 4tube, Bing video search, erotic fiction, Extremetube, FetLife, xHamster, Motherless, NudeVista, PornHub, Reddit subreddits, RedTube, Chaturbate, Spankwire, Tumblr porn, X-Art, XVideos.
31% of you like to do it the old-fashioned way with DVDs. 6% still have VHS porn tapes and players, and enjoy the antiquated pleasure of watching pornography in high-speed reverse to the beginning, before Ginger invited her boyfriend over to her babysitting gig to “study,” and before Mr. and Mrs. Johnson came home early! Whoopsy!
(BTW, 17% of you said you watch porn on Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope—and frankly that’s 17% more snarky goofballs than I thought would be taking this survey. You wise-ass knuckleheads, I bet you took the survey pants-less, too.)
Okay, REAL TALK: 47% of you said you’d like to act out your favorite type of porn IN REAL LIFE. Challenge to you: (1) Tell your partner/lover/just a good friend about your “thing.” And do it like this: “Can I tell you something that turns me on in theory that I’d maybe like to try in real life, without you making me feel shitty about it? Really, I can?! You’re a good friend. I’ve always wanted to do _______ .” (2) Put it on your sex-bucket list in the “maybe” column. (3) Just wait for “the secret” to kick in. (4) Profit.
BEFORE IT GOES DOWN
Those of you using sex toys are buying them on the internet (20%), or keeping it local at She Bop (16%) or keeping it corporate at Fantasy (9%), while 6% of you got your toys from your lover and you aren’t sure where they buy their stuff, because you enjoy mysteries? 2% of you are DIY as fuck, buying things at the grocery/hardware store to put up and around your butt. Martha would be proud (that’s Ms. Stewart, if you’re nasty).
Okay, I’m going to drop some knowledge on you right now. 11% OF YOU AREN’T GETTING TESTED FOR STDS… AT ALL, AS IN NEVER! And only 3% of you who have never been tested are married and monogamous, so some of you need to take some personal responsibility and GET TESTED. You go to Planned Parenthood, you plunk down the 150 or so bucks (sometimes they run a $100 flat-rate screening), or you get a cheap screening from the Oregon Department of Health. OR you use your fancy insurance and look your doctor in the eye while you ask for a full STD screening. DO IT: for a clean conscience and clean genitals.
Do you ever wonder where all the ANAL SEX IS HAPPENING IN PORTLAND? Why… IN NORTH PORTLAND! You are fucking more butts than any other borough (at 16%), which means we’ll have to start calling you “Sauvie Brown Eye-land.” Instead of St. Johns, “Taint’s John’s” (as in “John owns your taint”—hey, puns are hard sometimes). Southeast, you came in second place at 14%. (Good job, Division-between-the-cheeks.) And Northeast, you placed third at 8%. (Solid showing IRVING-BUM, and Sullivan’s Gulch… already sounds like it’s about butts.) Not a lot of butt stuff happening on the Westside. (Loosen up, Westside, it only hurts for a second.)
Fun fact: 4% of you are not using lube with anal sex. Really? I can’t even with you right now.
28% of you meet people to fuck through your friends, 20% of you meet people to fuck online, and 13% of you just meet people randomly. Oh, you free-spirited Portland, you just fall into genitals like open manhole covers! (Ha, man hole.) Here are some of the write-in examples of unexpected places you’ve boned: 24 Hour Fitness, a baby shower, a car accident, a D&D campaign, a funeral, a Timbers game, Ben & Jerry’s, Chopsticks II, Circle K, Enchanted Forest, Home Depot, “my kid’s school” (with his teacher), the pumpkin patch,Ren Faire, and the downtown library. (So apparently I need to kick it at Circle K more. Message received, INTERNET.)
OkCupid is the most popular online place to meet potential fuck puppets at 23%. Tinder(10%) and Craigslist (6%) are also hot spots. Other sites also see quite a bit of action—PlentyOfFish, Match.com, eHarmony, and the like—but my guess is these sites were always more geared toward relationships. You fornicators are savvy.
All right, so you’ve met the person, and you’re ready do some freaking. 30% of you reach for a condom, 18% of you are like, “I’m just using my IUD,” while 15% pop the pill before you pop that pussy. (Glad to see the IUDs are on the rise… not to show journalistic bias, but I love IUDs! Ask about them RIGHT AFTER YOUR STD SCREENING. Am I being clear about that? Go get screened. Right now.)
One-third of you don’t have a fuck buddy, while a little over one-third of you DO have a fuck buddy. Meanwhile, 12% of you want a fuck buddy—and some of you didn’t answer this question. Probably because you took this quiz WITH your fuck buddy, and it was awkward.
And most of you are more long-term oriented when it comes to your sexual relationships.22% of you keep your bang buddies for years, 22% of you have had your sexual partnership for a year, and 22% of you have an average sexual relationship of about a month. Only 7% of you usually stick to one-night-stands, and 2% of you fuck and run after an hour. Where’s the fire?
10% of you have made the decision to get an abortion. Big hugs, my courageous, dear friends. 10% of you have paid for an abortion, and some of you foot your own bill. 20% of you have been tangled up in an accidental pregnancy. Don’t worry, it worked out for your parents.
My favorite moment of this survey came from the last question… “Has a one-night stand ever become a longer relationship?” One of our stock answers was, “No way, relationships = death.” AND NO ONE PICKED THAT OPTION. You’re into ongoing relationships, Portland… I can tell. Those relationships are casual, sexual, unorthodox, or involve multiple people, but they are connections and you OWN IT. Hope you continue to make lovely connections and keep each other coming and smiling throughout what will undoubtedly be a long, dark, wet, sexy, cuddly winter.
And keep reading my semi-regular column (“Let’s Do It by Bri Pruett”) on Blogtown!
Wishing you great love and good sex,