- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In terms of intimacy, America’s over-40 crowd has little to worry about, as the U.S. ranked among the top five most sexually satisfied nations in a study by University of Chicago researchers released yesterday.

The world’s first large-scale sex study of those older than 40 ranked Austria No. 1 based on factors such as physical and emotional pleasure in sex, satisfaction with sexual performance and overall importance of sex.

Spain came in second, followed by Canada, Belgium, the United States, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Sweden and Britain.

On average, about 66 percent of men and women in the West were contented with their sex lives, and 80 percent were satisfied with their sexual performance.

In Middle Eastern nations, 50 percent of men and 38 percent of the women were satisfied with their sex lives, with 70 percent happy with their performance.

In eastern countries, 25 percent of men and women reported sexual satisfaction, with 66 percent of the men and 50 percent of the women happy with their performance.

“Men reported higher levels of satisfaction than women, regardless of sociocultural context,” the study stated, with levels of satisfaction 10 points lower on average for women across the board.

The differences were more pronounced, however, in “male-centered cultures,” said study director Edward Laumann, where sexual behavior is geared to procreation and feminine sexual experiences discounted.

The study was funded by Pfizer Inc., the maker of Viagra, the impotence drug. The findings were open to interpretation in the international press: “Middle Aged still enjoying sex” (British Broadcasting Corp.), “Equality equates to better sex life” (Chicago Tribune), “Global sex survey shows men get more satisfaction (Reuters news agency).

More than 27,500 people in 29 countries answered a complex questionnaire about their most private moments, revealing that equality between the sexes influences the bedroom — the most satisfied couples were in Western countries, rather than “male-centered cultures.”

And what about those Austrians? The study found that they were a confident lot: 91 percent of men and women, for instance, reported they were satisfied with their sexual performance.

U.S. numbers were not too shabby: 73 percent of American men were satisfied with their physical pleasure in sex; 65 percent of the women agreed. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. men found emotional pleasure in their relations, compared with 68 percent of the women. Eighty-four percent of the men were satisfied with their sexual performance; 83 percent of the women agreed.

And last but certainly not least, 37 percent of American men said sex was important to them, compared with 28 percent of the women.

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