Married Americans Remaining Faithful; Federal Report Studied Adult Sexual Behavior

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

More than 90 percent of married Americans said they were faithful to their spouses in 2002, according to a new federal report on sexual behavior that includes data on men for the first time.

The data - and many more facts about Americans' sexual behaviors, attractions and orientations - is designed to help researchers and policy-makers respond to public health matters, said William D. Mosher, lead author of the report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

"These are private behaviors, but they have public consequences," Mr. Mosher said.About 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are diagnosed each year. Roughly 85 percent of HIV/AIDS cases are acquired through sexual contact.

Much of the NCHS report's data come from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which surveyed 12,571 persons ages 15 to 44.

The previous five NSFGs were of women only and focused on fertility, childbearing and reproduction.

The 2002 NSFG included answers from 5,000 men and asked new questions about sexual attraction, sexual orientation and sexual practices, such as oral and anal sex.

The NSFG found, for instance, that when people ages 18 to 44 were asked for their sexual identification, 4 percent of men and 4 percent of women said they were either homosexual or bisexual. Those percentages would translate to a total of 4.5 million self-identified homosexuals and bisexuals ages 18 to 44 in the U.S.

However, when everyone in the NSFG survey group, ages 15 through 44, was asked about their sexual partners in the past year, smaller proportions - 1.6 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women - said all of their sexual partners were of the same sex as them. …