Matthew Yglesias points out the startling findings of a recent survey,

What with all the partisanship here in Washington, it seems like none of the politicians want to tackle the country’s real problems. For example, despite being the second-sexiest nation on earth, Americans actually have a below-average quantity of sex, only 118 times per year as opposed to the global average of 127. Tragic.

Indeed. Well, this is certainly one we can’t blame on Bill Clinton. The man tried to bring the average up. Lord, how he tried.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. melvin toast says:

    I can tell you from personal experience that there is an
    inverse relationship between work and sex. Productivity
    here is much higher than Sweden. We don’t have time
    for sex!

    One other theory may be that we have better sports
    broadcasting than most nations. I heard a comment
    on Rome yesterday about someone who turned down
    sex because they were watching a basketball game.

  2. Stentor says:

    If you can’t blame something on Bill Clinton, you’re not trying hard enough. Here’s a possibility: the kind of sex that Clinton had was so distasteful to the American public that they were turned off to the idea of sex in general. He provoked a prudish backlash.

  3. Jamie says:

    Could it be that the amount of time Americans spend thinking about sex is far greater than the time they actually spend engaged in it?

  4. Quantity may be low. But quality is probably much better!

  5. Kate says:

    Senator, I disagree…

    Perhaps it’s just that we know we can’t live up to the wonderful sex that Bill had and theirfore have decided not to try. Sex is never dirty…unless it’s done right!

  6. Alex says:

    Taking Melvin’s observations from another perspective, you could say that the Swedes have more sensible priorities than us and are too busy following them to have time for work.

  7. Yak says:

    118 to 127 times a year?

    I don’t know of anyone who’se managed that with a partner.

  8. Sebastian James says:


    Get off the internet and get a girlfriend. Or reignite the passion with the wife. There are people who will meet and surpass that annual number….

  9. sidereal says:

    Never have I seen a more blatant example of systematic lying in a survey. The average American (I assume here that they polled people of sexually active age. . 18 (winkwink) to 45 or something) does not have sex once every three days. Do lots of people? Yes. Enough to make up for the masses of married couples who have sex once a week (if that)? No.

    Next lets check up on the surveys of what men say their penis size is and whether people think they are ‘above average’

  10. Crank says:

    Another way to look at Melvin’s point: assuming that (non-Clinton) Americans have only a statistically trivial amount of sex at work, and given that Americans on average work longer hours, isn’t it possible that our sexual productivity per non-working hour is above average?

  11. Sacrebleu says:

    It’s cuz Americans are ugly and fat.

  12. wcw says:

    the mass of married couples having sex once a week is counterbalanced by new couples doing it three or more times a day — hence the penny-jar story. you know that one, right?

    for the math impaired: if one of four ‘couples’ is two singles getting none at all and two thirds have sex only once a week, and the small remaining fraction (one in twelve) are a new couple who do it three times a day… the average days per year people have sex is 126.

    I totally believe the surveys.

  13. These numbers seem inflated – while wcw’s calculations are correct, I find it hard to believe that a quarter of Americans are having sex three times a day. Unless people around age 30 are making up for college students.

  14. This is the basic problem with the ‘mean’ versus ‘median’. Exclude politicians and pro athletes, and our national average drops to 6 times/year.