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Romance is the best part of love making – men think so too!

By Sarah Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 13:37
When it comes to sex and relationships, what are the most common ways for men and women to heat things up and express their love? Read on for the surprising findings of a large US study.

What are you into when it comes to sex and relationships? Whether it’s getting spanked that drives you wild or a candlelit room that turns you on, you might be curious how common your sexual likes are.

So too were a group of US researchers. Though past studies had looked at the prevalence of things like vaginal intercourse and masturbation, theirs was the first study to cover a wide range of sexual behaviours (32, to be exact), from using a dildo to being tied up during sex.

But the researchers didn’t stop there. They also asked the over 2000 men and women who participated in the study how appealing they found each of about 50 behaviours related to sex and romance.

Busting the stereotypes

When it comes to sexual behaviours, both men and women find romance and affection more appealing than, well, sex itself, the results showed. That includes things like lots of cuddling, kissing and talking sweetly during sex, and setting the mood say with candles or romantic music.

‘Contrary to some stereotypes, the most appealing behaviours, even for men, are romantic and affectionate behaviours,’ said the study’s lead researcher, Debby Herbenick, in a press release.

From oral to anal

That’s not to say that Americans aren’t also into sex, in all its forms. Not surprisingly, vaginal intercourse, giving/receiving oral sex (both at over 80 per cent) and mutual masturbation (about 55 per cent) are the most common ways to get it on with a partner – for both men and women, the study found.

Sex in public (more than 43 per cent have done it) and anal intercourse (43 per cent of men have had it, 37 per cent of women have received it) are also high up on the list for both sexes.

Of course, there are plenty of differences between guys and gals. At 75 per cent, most women have worn sexy lingerie at some point in their lives, and about half dig the dildo, the research showed.


Guys are more likely to have sucked or licked their partners feet or toes (about 25 per cent vs. 11 per cent of women) and though about one in four men and women have sent a nude pic of themselves, at about 40 per cent, more men have received one (vs. 27 per cent of women).

Other kinkier forms of sex are definitely not uncommon, the results showed. About one in four men and women are down with role-playing and just under that have been tied up during sex. Roughly 30 per cent have spanked – or been spanked – at some point in their lives.

Talking about sexual desires

So what’s the take-home message of this study? ‘These data highlight opportunities for couples to talk more openly with one another about their sexual desires and interests,’ said Herbenick. ‘Together they may find new ways of being romantic or sexual with one another, enhancing both their sexual satisfaction and relationship happiness.’

That, and don’t downplay romance and affection: it turns out there’s not a lot that guys and gals find more appealing.

This article was first published on 2017-09-20. 

Reference: Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLOS ONE (2017). Published online July 20.

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