A few months ago (back in August), I started running a survey asking about couple’s habits regarding sex, clothing, lighting and a few other things. I’ve had some random questions lately from people asking if lingerie makes a difference, or if having sex with the lights on or off, or under the covers or not makes a difference to sexual frequency.
Well, since we’re known for our surveys, I thought I’d put one together. But this time with a larger sample audience. I didn’t want to do this for under 700 responses. We made it, even after filtering out for potential duplicates because the survey ran so long.
Another thing we got is more responses from wives than usual. Usually we get about 25% from wives and 75% from husbands. This time we’re slightly under 1/3rd of our data from women, which is great!
So, let’s see what we’ve got!
Clothing during sex
Now, I asked both husbands and wives these questions about themselves and their spouses. The idea was to have a check against people’s self-reported answers, which might skew one way or another. Or at least, that’s the complaint I get from someone almost every survey I run.
I’m pleased to announce that for every question, the variation between spouses answering for themselves vs. their spouse was only 1% or less. In short, it seems like our readers are pretty truthful.
So, onto what they actually said … or wrote I guess.
Let’s start with the wives. According to both the women and their husbands, the wives end up fully clothed for sex about 6% of the time, partially clothed about 27% of the time, and naked 78% of the time. Furthermore, they wear pajamas 15% of the time and lingerie 29% of the time.
And yes, I know they don’t add up to 100%, but the questions weren’t structured in a way that gives us a nice pie chart. It’s possible to start having sex fully clothed, and then partially clothed, then in lingerie, and finally naked. So, the answers can be a bit messy. This may be why I had trouble finding correlations. More on that later.
Husbands reported being fully clothed for sex about 3% of the time (some mentioned in the comments that it was mostly for quickies), partially clothed 16% of the time (seems that for men, if some clothes are coming off, they might as well all come off), and end up naked 87% of the time. They also wear pajamas occasionally (6% of the time) and apparently lingerie 2% of the time … I’m not sure if that’s an admission of crossdressing, if they’re wearing silk boxers and counting that, or they just hit the wrong checkmark.
Lighting and sex
I was amazed at how close these answers were as well.
Both husbands and wives agree, they tend to have sex with the lights on about 49% of the time on average. Higher than I expected. Unsurprisingly though, given this number, wives and husbands say they have sex with the lights off about 46-47% of the time. That matched up pretty nicely.
As well, respondents said they use candles or dimmed lights about 43% of the time.
When are people having sex?
Apparently, on average, we’re having sex about 33% of the time in the morning , 28% during the day and 73% at night. Again, I’m pleasantly surprised by these.
Both wives and husbands say they have sex under the covers about 39% of the time, and on top or without covers about 64% of the time. However, some have said in the comments that this shifts more with the weather than with attitudes or moods.
Now we start getting different answers. I’m not sure why. I’m guessing it’s that for the large majority, women are more likely to be hesistant to have sex when the kids might hear, but don’t think they have as strong an aversion to it as they do. Or, they don’t want to admit it.
According to the wives, they have sex while the kids are awake about 37% of the time, whereas the husbands say it’s only 30% of the time.
The wives say they have sex while the kids are asleep about 75% of the time, whereas the husbands say only 70%.
Though they both agree, that if the kids are out of the house, there’s about a 50/50 chance that sex is happening.
Body image and attraction
On a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (absolutely), wives answer about an 8.2 on average to “I believe my spouse likes to see me naked. Husbands, on the other hand only answer a 6.1.
When asking their spouse the opposite question (I like to see my spouse naked) with 0 being “not at all” and 10 being “absolutely”, the wives answer with an 8.4 on average. So, the men need to have a bit more self-esteem there. So do the wives, as the husbands answered with a whopping 9.6.
What’s amazing, I find, is that when we ask the wives how they feel about their own body, despite feeling their husband is attracted to them, and despite their husbands reporting being attracted to them, on a scale of 0 (disgusted) to 10 (proud), they’ll only answer a 5.5. Husbands, being asked the same question answer with a 6.7. What is it about the female and male mind that does this? You would think the results would be opposite given the other data. But it’s not. Women just seem to grow up with more negative self-image, regardless of reality.
And we know it too. If we’re asked how we think our spouse feels about their body, men say that their wives will answer with a 5.2, whereas wives think their husband will answer with a 6.9. Not far off from their real answers.
Sex and vocalizations
It seems women are more vocal though during sex. When asked about how loud they are (0 being silent, 10 being loud), women answered with a 5.6 on average. Men answered with a 4.8. When we asked about their spouses, it was even worse!
Husbands said their wives only scored a 4.2, whereas wives said their husbands are about a 3.8. We seem to think we’re more vocal than we are. Probably a lesson in there for most of us.
I fully expected there to be a ton of correlations in this data between sex habits and frequency of sex. I was severely disappointed. Almost nothing correlated. There were a few though that I’ll share:
If you are a man and you believe your spouse wants to see you naked, guess what. You’ll likely have more sex. Those that indicated “not at all” answered that they have sex about once every two weeks. That climbed steadily to 2.2 times per week as their belief about their spouse wanting to see them naked improved.
What’s weird though is according to the women, wanting to see their husband naked had no impact on their sexual frequency. I’m not exactly sure what to do with that…
However, if your spouse feels better about their body, you’ll likely have more sex. At least, if you’re male and we’re talking about how your wife feels about her body it does. How the husband feels about his own body doesn’t seem to affect sex much.
And, the use of candles and/or dimmed lights seems to have some bearing on sex. Those who never used them had sex about 1.3 times per week, whereas those who used them all the time had sex about twice a week. The wives, in particular, liked to use them about 80% of the time, resulting in having sex nearly 2.5 times per week. So, apparently, they like some variety.
Oh, and according to the husbands, the more vocal their wife is in bed, the more often they have sex. Or perhaps the more often they have sex, the more vocal their wife is in bed. It’s hard to say which. Could be both. Perhaps the more you have sex, the more you like it, and the more confident you become in your sexuality and more willing you are to be vulnerable with your spouse, and so you’re more vocal. And being vocal lets you let go more and feel sex more strongly, and so you enjoy it more, and so you have sex more often, because, well, it’s good. See, works either way. So, no comments about correlation vs causality.
Plus, there’s an inverse correlation between having the lights off and frequency of sex. The more sex you have with the lights off, the less sex you have. I suspect this has to do with not feeling confident about sex, your body, feeling sex is somehow dirty, sinful or needs to be hidden. Of course, with any of those possible reasons to have sex with the lights off, it’s more likely you won’t be having much sex. In fact, if you always have sex with the lights off, you’re likely having sex less than once a week. Whereas if you never have sex with the lights off, the average is about twice a week, depending on who you ask (wives say 2.9 times a week, their husbands say 1.5 times).
Lastly, there was an obvious one that I just had to point out. If you have sex every morning, you will have more sex. It was just funny to see a huge data spike when checking for correlations and then go “What is that? Oh … right … duh”.
So, there you go. We’ll probably run another survey in the New Year, so stay tuned for that! If you haven’t already, I suggested subscribing to the mailing list below.
37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex
Subscribe to get the 2 page PDF full of questions to help you and your spouse start to talk about your sex life.