How Often Americans Have Anal Sex

Dr. Evan Goldstein

The Fun Stuff October 28, 2019

Adults have preferences when it comes to their bedroom habits, but there are some social stigmas that prevent us from speaking freely about them. This has been especially true when it comes to anal sex. Only in the past few years have mainstream publications such as Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan started talking about consent and enjoyment around it. This suggests it’s no longer something on the fringe (or something you should keep hush-hush). It’s not that people have only recently started doing it, either. Rather, society has become more open to the topic of conversation, especially since the idea of a traditional, binary relationship is no longer as reinforced.

With this in mind, we decided to find out more about Americans’ butt play habits. We ran a survey of over 880 adults in the United States (who had active love lives) and asked them about their experience with butt play. Our results show how many people have tried it, how often they typically partake, what other types of play they’ve tried, and more. We break these numbers down by gender, orientation, age group, and more. Read on for our full study findings. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What Percentage of Americans Have Tried Butt Play?
  • How Many Gay Men Have Topped or Bottomed?
  • How Many Times Do Americans Have Butt Play Each Month?
  • Which Types of Butt Play Have Americans Tried?
  • Which Types of Butt Play Have Straight or LGB Americans Tried?
  • Which Types of Butt Play Has Each Generation Tried?
  • How Comfortable Are Americans Discussing Butt Play?
  • What We Learned 

  • What Percentage of Americans Have Tried Butt Play?

    Chart showing the percentage of adults who have had anal sex

    First, we wanted to see how many Americans have tried butt play. We asked respondents if they’ve bottomed or topped. Overall, 28% of Americans have never tried either, while 72% have tried at least one. Just over 1 in 4 Americans have bottomed and topped. Women are more likely to have bottomed than men (69% vs. 32%).

    We also asked about the enjoyment of it. 42% say it’s somewhat or significantly more pleasurable than other types of play, while only 20% say it’s somewhat or significantly less. 38% say it’s about the same.

    How Many Gay Men Have Topped or Bottomed?

    Chart showing the percentage of gay men who have topped and bottomed

    We also wanted to learn more about the preferences of gay men. Many will define their position as a top or bottom, but this can actually limit what you do in the bedroom. It turns out that 85% of gay men have tried both topping and bottoming. It’s slightly more common for them to have tried bottoming (94%), compared to topping (91%) however.  

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    How Many Times Do Americans Have Butt Play Each Month?

    Chart showing how often men and women have anal sex on average

    Next, we looked at the frequency of butt play. Overall, Americans partake about 2.6 times each month. This represents a very broad group, so digging into the results by demographic gives more context to the numbers. Those who identify as straight have butt play about 1.9 times each month on average, compared to 6.9 for those who identify as gay or lesbian, and 3.1 for those who identify as bi.

     

    Which Types of Butt Play Have Americans Tried?

    Chart showing the types of anal play that Americans have tried

     Next, we dug into our survey results to find out which types of butt play Americans have tried. Overall, 72.1% have tried going all the way, while only 16.7% have tried pegging. 52.8% have used toys or fingers on their own body, while 48.9% have used these on someone else. Finally, 42.0% have received oral in this area (a.k.a. rimming), while 41.6% have given it.

     

    Which Types of Butt Play Have Gay, Straight, and Bisexual Americans Tried?

    Chart showing the types of anal play that straight, gay/lesbian, and bisexual Americans have tried

     Next, we broke these same results down by sexual identity. In general, those who identify as Straight are much less likely to have tried different types of butt play. Interestingly, 80.0% of those who identify as Bisexual have used toys or fingers on themself, but only 57.1% have used these on someone else. The percentages are much more close for those who identify as Gay or Lesbian -- 77.2% (self) and 72.2% (someone else).

     

    Which Types of Butt Play Has Each Generation Tried?

    Chart showing the types of anal play that Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X have tried

    We also broke down these numbers by age group. Although Gen Z respondents have had fewer “active” years, many have already tried certain types of butt play, relative to Millennials and Gen X. This is likely due to the less taboo nature of butt play in the current social climate. Still, Millennials are the most likely generation to have tried going all the way, pegging, or oral in this area. 

     

    How Comfortable Are Americans Discussing Butt Play?

    Chart showing how comfortable Americans are talking about anal sex

    Finally, we wanted to know how comfortable Americans are talking about butt play. Even with it becoming less taboo, it’s still not something everyone would bring up at a dinner party. Luckily, 44.3% are somewhat or very comfortable talking about it with others, while only 33.2% are somewhat or very uncomfortable. Considering the topic of intimacy, in general, isn’t always easy to discuss, these figures are promising.

     

    What We Learned

    These results are both illuminating and promising to our team at Future Method. We were excited to learn just how many Americans welcome diverse bedroom experiences into their lives, especially regarding the stigma around butt play. Our goal is always to make play accessible by having conversations and providing tools where they matter –with the people who need them most. As it turns out, that’s way more people than you might think.

    Butt play can be -- and should be -- enjoyable for everyone. There are many myths about butt play and how you should prepare, so be sure to read up before diving in. There are certain do’s and don’ts about “doing the deed.” According to our survey, 12% of adults have never tried any method to prepare for butt play. However, our product empowers the way you play. So next time you’re in the mood, make sure you have some on hand -- then get into the moment.

    About the author

    Dr. Evan Goldstein is the Co-Founder of Future Method and the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, the leading private practice in health and wellness for gay men. He received his MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Goldstein is the go-to butt and bottoming expert, having been published in Huffington Post, Men’s Health, Healthline, and more. Learn about Dr. Goldstein by visiting his practice, bespokesurgical.com.

    The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Future Method, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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