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“You’re faking it.”
“Aw, go watch some porn.”
This conversation could be taking place in a British Columbia bedroom tonight.
When Harry Met Sally is one of my favourite films. I watched it when I was 15, too young to enjoy most of the nuances of dating life (in fact, every time I watch the movie, I find something new to laugh about), but old enough to understand what Meg Ryan’s character pretended to do at the deli. And, judging by the response to our recent survey on sex, it seems that a lot of men in British Columbia are also witnessing “no-gasms.”
We’ve tackled some challenging topics in our Angus Reid Public Opinion polls for Vancouver Magazine: drinking, politics, religion, education. This time, we made the most of online technology to ask British Columbians about relationships and sex. There would be no operator to “judge” them on the other side of the telephone. Respondents simply clicked their way onto a road map of province’s bedrooms. And one of the first questions included in our “have you ever” section was: how many BC women have pulled a “Sally” on their partners?
When all results were collated, 49 percent of women interviewed in this survey admitted to having faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. There also seems to be a higher number of “fakers” on Vancouver Island than in other areas of the province.
The “have you ever” question yielded other fascinating results. While almost half of British Columbians (47%) claim to have been cheated on at one point in their lives, only 28 percent readily admit to having been unfaithful to a partner.
Pornography is alive and well, with 75 percent of men saying that they have visited a pornographic website—and a clear preference for X-rated online material coming from those aged 18 to 34. One-night stands are more popular for middle aged British Columbians, with 55 percent of people aged 35 to 54 admitting to doing the “walk of shame” at least once. And 16 percent of men have paid cash to have sex with someone, roughly half of whom are aged 55 and over.
Aside from their apparent penchant for porn, younger British Columbians are also more likely to rely on technology to meet someone (31% of them have used an online dating site), and then advise them to take a hike (35% of those aged 18 to 34 have broken up with a person over the phone; 21% via e-mail or text message).
When asked to remember their “first time”, men are more idealistic than women. Just over half of adult British Columbians (54%) say their first sexual experience was “satisfying”, with men (at 75%) clearly having a better time than women (34%). In fact, two in five female respondents (40%) openly describe their first experience as “dissatisfying”, and a further 26 percent say they prefer not to talk about it.
However, when asked about their last sexual experience, the level of true satisfaction jumps by 20 points to 74 percent among all British Columbians. Still, 11 percent say their last encounter left them less than happy—including 15 percent of those over the age of 55.
For those of us single and looking, what do we seek in a partner? While less than one in seven British Columbians would nix a prospective companion based on race, country of origin or political views, about one in five would not date a person of a different religion. The main turnoffs, however, are cigarettes and drugs. Only 26 percent of BC residents would date a smoker, and just six percent would date a drug user.
Respondents with a partner were asked how often they have sex. About a quarter of them do it “several times per week”, with 41 percent of those aged 18-to-34 fitting this description—compared with 11 percent of those over the age of 55.
The average “romp” takes about 47 minutes, with foreplay occupying just over 14 minutes, intercourse just over 15 minutes (although, it must be said that while men report “lasting” 17 minutes, women have timed them at 13 and a half), and cuddling afterwards for about 17 minutes. While younger respondents claim to be active in all three phases for an hour and six minutes, those over the age of 55 are more efficient, going from foreplay to cuddling in 35 and a half minutes. If they can find the time, that is.
The biggest disagreement comes when British Columbians are asked about the right time to “go all the way.” Only 12 percent abide by the three-date rule before having sex with someone new. But exclusivity means a great deal for women with 37 percent saying no sex should happen until each partner has agreed to date “only” each other—a view supported by just 19 percent of men. In fact, 28 percent of men are ready for sex on the first date, compared to just eight percent of women.