Adults have preferences when it comes to their sexual 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 having anal sex, 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’ anal sex habits. We ran a survey of over 880 sexually active adults in the United States and asked them about their experience with anal sex and other types of anal play. Our results show how many people have tried it, how often they typically partake, what other types of anal play they’ve tried, and more. We break these numbers down by gender, sexual identity, age group, and more. Read on for our full study findings.
Table of Contents
- What Percentage of Americans Have Tried Anal Sex?
- How Many Gay Men Have Topped or Bottomed?
- How Many Times Do Americans Have Anal Sex Each Month?
- Which Types of Anal Play Have Americans Tried?
- Which Types of Anal Play Have Gay, Straight, and Bisexual Americans Tried?
- Which Types of Anal Play Has Each Generation Tried?
- How Comfortable Are Americans Discussing Anal Sex?
- What We Learned
What Percentage of Americans Have Tried Anal Sex?
First, we wanted to see how many Americans have tried anal sex. We asked respondents if they’ve have receptive sex (i.e. bottomed) or penetrative (i.e. 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 sex, 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?
We also wanted to learn more about the preferences of gay men. Many will define their sexual position as a top or bottom, but this can actually limit your sex life. It turns out that 85% of Gay men have tried both topping and bottoming. It’s slightly more common for Gay men to have tried bottoming (94%), compared to topping (91%) however.
How Many Times Do Americans Have Anal Sex Each Month?
Next, we looked at the frequency of anal sex. 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 anal sex 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 Bisexual.
Which Types of Anal Play Have Americans Tried?
Next, we dug into our survey results to find out which types of anal play Americans have tried. Overall, 72.1% have tried anal sex, while only 16.7% have tried pegging. 52.8% have used anal toys or fingers on their own body, while 48.9% have used these on someone else. Finally, 42.0% have received analingus (a.k.a. rimming), while 41.6% have given it.
Which Types of Anal Play Have Gay, Straight, and Bisexual Americans 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 anal play. Interestingly, 80.0% of those who identify as Bisexual have used anal 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 Anal Play Has Each Generation Tried?
We also broke down these numbers by age group. Although Gen Z respondents have had fewer sexually active years, many have already tried certain types of anal play, relative to Millennials and Gen X. This is likely due to the less taboo nature of anal sex in the current social climate. Still, Millennials are the most likely generation to have tried anal, pegging, or analingus.
How Comfortable Are Americans Discussing Anal Sex?
Finally, we wanted to know how comfortable Americans are talking about anal sex. 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 sex, 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 sexual experiences into their lives, especially regarding the stigma around anal play. Our goal is always to make sex 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.
Anal sex can be -- and should be -- enjoyable for everyone. There are many myths about anal sex 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 prep for anal sex, whether that’s douching or otherwise. However, our anal douching solution 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.