This Week in Sex is a weekly summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, STIs, and more.
Valentine’s Day is for hearts, chocolate, and surveys about what people really want out of their sexual and romantic relations. Of course, it’s also a $19 billion holiday. Though most of that money may be spent on candy and flowers, this year some may also be spent on teledildonics.
Be My Valentine (Or Partner for the Rest of the Year)
Each year around this time, Match.com surveys single adults to find out what they want in a partner. The 2015 survey, Singles in America, asked 5,675 single adults (who were not users of the site) a variety of questions about the characteristics and behavior of their ideal partner.
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Single women have a lot of thoughts about the kind of person they’re looking for, according to the survey: 94 percent want a partner who is comfortable with their sexuality, 89 percent want their partner to have a sense of independence, and 86 percent want someone with the same level of intelligence as them. They’re also pretty firm about their deal-breakers: 61 percent of single women are not willing to have a partner who is less intellectual than they are, and 55 percent refuse to support a partner financially.
Meanwhile, 87 percent of single men said they’d date a woman who is more intelligent, more educated, or making more money than they are, and 58 percent would date a woman who’s considerably taller than them.
Both men and women overwhelmingly said humor is key. In fact, 97 percent of single women and 90 percent of single men said they consider a sense of humor just as important as physical attractiveness in a partner.
Once one finds that partner, however, there appear to be a lot of rules that single people think everyone should follow, especially when it comes to technology. Seventy percent of singles think using a cell phone on a date is taboo. When it comes to social media, 73 percent think airing emotional issues on a public forum is a no-go, 57 percent dislike excessive selfies, and 55 percent are turned off by a partner who asks them to unfriend their exes.
Perhaps the strangest finding, though, is about the use of emojis. Singles use emojis to show personality and find them faster than traditional text messages. But here’s the weird part: The survey found that singles who use emojis—whether they be smiley faces, lips, or hearts—are having more sex. Fifty-four percent of emoji-users had sex in 2014, compared to just 31 percent who used, you know, words.
Canadians Reveal Their Sexual Secrets
Our neighbors to the north also took part in a Valentine’s Day survey: The Toronto-based Globe and Mail conducted an Internet poll of 20,000 anonymous readers who answered questions about what they think, do, and really want when it comes to sex and relationships.
The results suggest that most readers (73 percent) are happily in a relationship, with the others being split evenly between unhappily coupled and single. But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing: 59 percent say they and their partner bicker occasionally, and 8 percent say they have full-on fights all the time but make up. As for whether that relationship might be one-on-one for life, just over half (52 percent) believe in lifelong monogamy, 37 percent aren’t sure, and 12 percent don’t think having just one partner is for them. Of course, 34 percent admitted they had cheated (not on necessarily on their current partner), and 14 percent said they’d thought about it.
The majority of readers (71 percent) want to have more sex, which might be because only 5 percent are having sex at least once a day. Most (46 percent) say they have sex about a dozen times a month, 36 percent say they have it “once or twice if I’m lucky,” and 14 percent have a hard time remembering what sex is. Unfortunately, it appears that most of that sex isn’t exactly fantastic—38 percent of readers say it’s been a long time since they had mind-blowing sex and 3 percent have never experienced that at all. This may be why 42 percent of readers admit to having faked an orgasm.
Despite this, there are some pretty high expectations for Valentine’s Day—38 percent of readers expect sex on the 14th, with 46 percent saying it’ll only happen if the mood strikes, and 16 percent not anticipating anything. About a third of readers would love it if their partner gave them sex as a present for Valentine’s Day, 27 percent want something sentimental, 5 percent want chocolate, and 5 percent want their Valentine to go all-out with a romantic dinner and a gift. Of course, there are a decent number of V-Day skeptics: 32 percent don’t want anything at all, because they see the holiday as a cash grab.
Valentine’s Day: Big Business
Those last folks may be cynical, but they’re not wrong. In the United States, anyway, V-Day sales are expected to total almost $19 billion, and that doesn’t even count ticket sales for 50 Shades of Grey. According to a survey from the National Retail Foundation, the average American will spend $142.31 celebrating Cupid. Most of that money ($96.63) will go toward gifts for their significant other, and the rest will be split among family, coworkers, teachers, children’s classmates, and pets. Overall, candy remains the most commonly purchased gift, though men tend to favor flowers more than anything else. Dropping cash on greeting cards and evening plans is also common, followed by jewelry, gift cards, and clothes.
The Perfect Gift for a Long-Distance Valentine?
Though sex toys didn’t make the list of most purchased Valentine’s Day gifts, we imagine at least a few lucky people will be unwrapping vibrators, dildos, and or something else to play with this weekend. There are even options for people in straight relationships who live far away from their Valentine: The Dutch start-up company Kiiroo believes it has invented the perfect solution. Cleverly termed teledildonics, the Pearl (vibrator) and the Onyx (a penis masturbation sleeve) work together over WiFi to track your movements and transmit them to your partner. For example, if one person starts thrusting a little faster into the Onyx, the Pearl will kick its speed up a notch to match. The company also has a video chat platform, if you’d like to watch what your partner is up to in addition to feeling them.