Survey uncovers Americans’ sexual inhibitions

· Sep 7, 2001 Tweet

In high school, it’s your parents in the next room. Freshman year, it’s your roommate in the top bunk, and in years to come it will be neighbors, houseguests and even your children. These are the people who could be inhibiting your sex life: A sex life that could be great if only you weren’t so worried about everyone else.

According to a recent survey, nearly one in every three Americans admit that worrying about being overheard while making love hurts their sex life. The survey, by Yankelovich Partners, polled 1,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 about their sexual attitudes and inhibitions.

Being overheard during a sexual escapade is not the only fear Americans face in the bedroom. The survey found that drug use and fears about pregnancy and body insecurities also affect sexual intimacy.

It’s a trend sociologists have studied close to home.

University of Wisconsin sociology professor John DeLamater said that despite Americans’ unabashed love of all things sex, our country is relatively tame compared with others.
International differences in restrictions on advertisement, television shows and movies, DeLamater said, show Americans are not quite as sexually liberated as other foreign countries.

Even our biggest sex scandals are incomprehensible to foreigners. “Other countries are just less inhibited,” DeLamater said. “Many Europeans do not understand why Bill and Monica captured so much attention for so many months.”

One of the nation’s largest mail order distributors of erotica sponsored the survey about sexuality. Boasting 30 years of excellence in adult product circulation, Adam and Eve offers its own solutions to overcoming intimacy fears.

Although DeLamater and others admit sexual inhibitions like those reported in the survey are quite common, many say it is important to be comfortable and self-accepting in sexual interactions.

Companies that sell products similar to those available through Adam and Eve look to help customers overcome these sexual inhibitions and explore sexuality with a variety of “tools” for the bedroom. From the company’s patented strawberry body butter to its wide variety of phallic playthings, the possibilities for couples to relax their sexual constraints are endless.

“The more people realize that making love is a natural and healthy experience between two consenting adults, the fewer anxieties they’ll have,” Zvolein said.

Madison also offers a few options to the eager adult-merchandise customer. Red Letter News, 2528 E. Washington Ave., is one of many adult stores throughout the city. The store sells many items found on the Internet without the hassles of waiting for shipping.

One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said the store sees a vast clientele at the East Side store.

“We see everyone in this store,” she said. “It’s not just drunk, old sickies. I see college kids and nice old married couples. Most people just want to try something new and have fun.”

The employee praised the role Red Letter News plays in overcoming sexual fears.

“I think people who try something new and are willing to use stuff that we have in the store are more comfortable with sex all around and they probably aren’t scared as much as people who don’t just go for it,” she said.

DeLamater offered his own advice on having more positive experiences with sex.

“I think one becomes comfortable with his or her sexuality through experience in a long-term relationship with a committed partner,” he said.


This article was published Sep 7, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 7, 2001 at 12:00 am


UW-Madison's Premier Independent Student Newspaper

All Content © The Badger Herald, 1995 - 2023