Monday, March 5, 2007

Pucker Up

You’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Just how many? In a 2004 ABC Prime Time Live telephone poll, women reported an average of six sex partners in their lifetimes; men, 20. I’m always wary of statistics. To quote another aphorism: Figures lie and liars figure. But I’m willing to believe men are more sexually adventurous than women. Or liars.

The same poll says 57 percent of respondents have had sex out of doors or in a public place. Bonus for all those frisky scenes we talked about a while back as romance readers and writers---I guess they’re somewhat true to life. But a whopping 29 percent have had sex on the first date. Oops. Now that doesn’t usually happen in romance novels. We don’t seem to mind sex before marriage so much, but marriage is always implied.

And what about porn, handled so cutely in many a historical where the innocent heroine finds a naughty volume in the paneled library? Men are three times more likely to look at sexually explicit sites online than women, and 11 percent of them have participated in sex chat rooms. Guys don’t see a problem with this; gals view it as “cheating.”

According to this poll, only three percent of adult Americans are still virgins. We've come a long way, baby.

But here’s the big kicker. 75 percent of the men say that always have an orgasm. Only 30 percent of the women can say the same.

So, what do you think? Is sex just perceived differently for men and women? Still okay for the hero to be experienced and not so much for the heroine? What about porn? Is it “cheating?”

March 5-11 is World Folk Tales and Fables Week, so be on the lookout for those frogs. You never know. Someday your prince will come. Maybe you will, too.


Sara Lindsey said...

Trust me, I'm clinging to that promise of someday! And sheesh, only three percent were virgins?! Come on, people, we must not let that flame in Rome die out!

terrio said...

The thing about men being more sexually active than women is that I'm assuming those men are having "intimacies" with women. So someone is putting out somewhere. I think the women are the liars.

I have no problem with the men being more experienced than the women but in historical romance when the heroine is an 18 year old virgin who upon seeing a man for the first time is sure it will not fit, it is hard for me to believe that she suddenly turns into this passionate sex-kitten and is better than every other woman he has ever been with. Come on. What are the odds?

Now my dunce moment - Sara - what flame?

Elyssa Papa said...

Terrio, I think that Sara/s talking about the flame of virginity not dying out. *g*

I think the rule of thumb is for that whatever number the man gives you for his sexual partners, divide by 3 and for a women multiple by 3. So if a man says that he's slept with 6 women, then it's really 2 and if a woman says she slept with 1 person then it's 3. I think it's from a movie or something maybe When Harry Met Sally.

But anyways... Maggie, great topic as usual. I think that in the passing years that romance heroines have gotten less inhibited thank god. I've gotten really sick of a "spinster" woman of 27 years getting all weirded out when she sees her lover's penis for the first time and thinking: oh god, it's not going to work. And I really hate it when the heroine has no idea where babies come from especially if she's supposed to be "smart."

I want my heroines to be strong and it doesn't make sense to me that when throughout a book they've battled evil family members, solved a crime, risked their reputation, gone after what they wanted yet at the display of their lover's penis, they go into turtle hiding into their shell mode.

On a separate note: don't you all find it rather funny that the romance heroes are always endowed? It would be rather amusing for the heroine to see the man's penis and think: That's it? Oh this was so going to work. LOL.

terrio said...

Ely, that would be a case of the hero going into the turtle hiding in the shell mode. LOL!

RevMelinda said...

OK, is it too much infomation to admit that "OMG this is not going to work" is EXACTLY what I thought at the Crucial Moment? (And I was 25 with a Graduate Degree, LOL)

I started with a new OB recently and on the "new patient" paperwork they asked the following questions: "How many sexual partners do you currently have?" and "How many sexual partners have you ever had?" (It was the "currently" question that took me aback somewhat. It made me so curious about what kind of numbers women admit to.

Lenora Bell said...

Hah, Elyssany, is that the next, er, big thing in romance? We already have more kick-ass, intelligent heroines, so how about some men of average endowment to balance the scales. I like it!

Maggie--great topic. I'll come out and say that I've been guilty of downsizing my list of partners when asked...

Tessa Dare said...

Okay, so men are 3 times more likely than women to look at internet porn? I'm guessing that means 33.3% of women are looking at online porn, because show me a guy who doesn't download the occasional Paris Hilton clip, and I'll show you a guy without Internet access.

As for why there aren't more heroes of average size (why does that remind me of ROUS from the Princess Bride?) -- I didn't even mention my hero's size in the book. I mean, he's her first, and he's gonna be her last - what's the difference?

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Who knew sex and math would be so fscinating? I'm loving all of your responses, although I'm having trouble with the turtle in the shell image!

Sara Lindsey said...

Ely's right. The flame I was referring to was the always burning flame at Vesta's temple (Goddess of Hearth and Home) im antiquity. Only virgins were allowed to tend the fire , thus the phrase "vestal virgin." My best friend and I joke that we're still virgins because someone has to keep the flame alive! *g*

Sarah Palmero said...

I have to say, I've never gotten into the penis measuring thing. Honest. I've had a few partners, I've had a good look at them, I've never given it much thought other than that they weren't smooth in front like Ken.

I've also had more partners than The Engineer. I guess I break rules all over the place. :)

I have discussed porn and how sex works, etc, with him and we do agree, though, that it's different for men and women. It ties into those studies that say that men are visual and women are ... mental's the wrong word. Cerebral!

I don't know a lot of women who look at a guy's fly and think 'wow, nice package, wonder how he looks in his boxers', but The Engineer relates that 'wow, nice tits, wonder how she'd look without her shirt' is quite a common thought.

terrio said...

I have to send Tiff over here to comment on this one, Maggie. This subject just has to have her take.

I admit I was incredibly curious about the last guy I went out with. Let's just say, he was tall. Very, very tall. Like well over a foot taller than I am. I'm 5'4" so that tells you something.

Here's the thing. He was, for lack of a better word, proportional but didn't really know what to do with what he had. I realize this is TMI big time but my point is that even though size does matter, it's not all that matters....*wink*

Tiffany Clare said...

Oh do I ever love this topic. I have never lied about the amount of partners I've had. My husband knows I tally well above him and well he came well experienced at least...that and he's got 14 years on me... And I think men and women do's been ingrained subconsciously into us to think men are supposed to live life the the 'fullest' pun intended, and women are supposed to be meek and ruled by the man.

Now sex in public places...of course, you've got to be adventurous...parks, stairwells, parking garages, cars, bars, name it I've tried it :)

Now on that size topic. I like 'em big what can I say, I'm an honest gal. But a man has to know how to use it, well he needs to know how to use his tongue too. As to all heroes in books being well endowed..I don't get it and all Casanova's to boot I don't get either..back then when mistresses were part of most men's of means lives, they weren't in it to please their courtesan partners! It was a paid service for them to get off, so I prefer less experienced men (as in fewer partners) and a willingness to learn.

I will avoid mentioning the size of my Etienne's penis...
My heroine is 21 and Georgian time frame..and she is NOT stupid in the normal heroine sense.

Hellie Sinclair said...

*LOL* I love it, Ely. That so has to go in a book. "That's it? This is so going to work."--I'd buy that book in a minute.

Does it count as ME looking at porn if it's a guy who pulls up the email and insists on showing me? Seriously, it's not something I would have sought out...though it was highly entertaining that the men were all "OMG, look at her go! This is real!" and my friend and I are both exchanging looks and going, "I don't think that's real." And then they were pissed we weren't buying into it. (Almost like a fake breasts argument.)

Have you guys ever compared "girl porn" to "guy porn"? I admit I haven't exactly made a case study of it--being that the bit of guy porn I ever saw was in a hotel room and I only watched it for about 10 minutes before going, This IS stupid. (I mean, it had a French virgin...we all know the French don't have virgins. And if she were a virgin, she wouldn't be wearing flame red thong underwear. And the high school jock she was tutoring looked old enough to have fathered her. Come on.)

However, "girl porn" even looks different. It makes an effort for plot (though still cheesy), and even a bit of romance--and when it gets to crucial scenes--it kinda fades out some areas that aren't as pretty to watch in motion (you could say). Some is still left implied. (Okay, very little is...but I was surprised ANYTHING was left implied.)

RevMelinda said...

I remember in college and grad school how it was embarrassing to admit to virginity, like it meant you weren't "really a woman," or that you were un-adventurous, or backward, or completely unattractive, or whatever.

I always knew intellectually that being a "liberated" woman meant that one could choose the direction of one's life, including its sexual expression--nevertheless, I must admit to feeling heaps of emotional distress about it, too, doubting my worth as a woman and a person because I was still a virgin.

Twenty years later I realize it was just my life unfolding the way it was meant to. I now feel like my experience (one partner, one husband, LOL) is my unique life experience and no better or no worse than that of others who have had many partners--not less interesting, just interesting in a different way. I wouldn't trade my experience (or my husband, LOL) because it worked for me, and it still works for me! (Who knew it would just keep getting better as the years went by?)

I do love hearing about the experiences of "sisters" whose lives and loves have been different from mine (real ones and romance novel heroine ones, LOL)--storytelling is the stuff of life and what better stories are there than the stories of love (and sex)? Here's a toast to all of us and all of our different journeys (sexual and otherwise)--and the beautiful and interesting women we have all become!

PS Maggie, I am SO JEALOUS of all the signed books you have been winning lately. . .

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Beautifully put, RevM! I hate to think of all the pressure put on young women (and men, too) to conform to whatever standards (or lack thereof) society seems to set. You gotta do what's right for you.

Shelli Stevens said...

LOL those numbers seem a little odd to me. But I wouldn't be surprised. I do think you see a lot more sex right away in some books nowadays. Romance novels are pushing the envelope. Especially in erotic romance.

Ericka Scott said...

Oh, lordy, I fit the female statistics (does that mean I'm just average??)

BUT, I beat my husband by a rather large margin! (grimace)

As for the size, out of my um, er, partners, there's only been one that stands out in my mind as "oh, that poor guy!" :O