Monday, January 20, 1997
The rich are different from the rest of us and not just because they have more money. They have more sex, more fantasies about sex and more sex partners. But, then again, so do people living in Queens.
Yes, Queens, that bastion of single-family homes and front lawns, is New York’s most libidinous borough, edging out the reputedly licentious Manhattan and putting Staten Island positively to shame.
So say the findings of the Daily News lifestyle poll on matters sexual.
Overall, the poll found, New Yorkers’ sexual appetites tend more toward the regular than ravenous.
And their thinking is more conventional than kinky on questions like when it’s appropriate to lose your virginity.
“We might like to think of ourselves as being wilder than the rest of the country, but we’re not,” said Julie Weprin, of Blum & Weprin, which conducted the poll.
Still, respondents revealed a wide array of habits and attitudes. Not surprising, perhaps, men and women differ on everything from the frequency of sex to the number of partners.
More surprising, perhaps, the number of New Yorkers not having sex is almost twice the national average.
There also are differences according to age, ethnicity, education, income and residence.
Now, then, everything you wanted to know about New York’s sex life but didn’t know where to ask:
The Don Juan Index
Maybe it’s the potholes, or those long subway rides home, but New Yorkers are not frequent lovers.
Less than half 46% say they have sex at least once a week, and only 20% report three to five sexual encounters weekly.
A tiny minority 4% say they have sex daily, while nearly one in five say they have not had sex in the last year.
The poll also found that New Yorkers, by and large, are not promiscuous.
About half 44% say they have had five or fewer sex partners in their lives, with four being the median number. A minority 15% say they’ve had more than 10 partners, and about the same number report having had only one.
Men vs. Women
Look at how male and female New Yorkers describe their sex lives, and you could fairly conclude that one is from Mars and the other, Venus.
New York men report they have sex far more often than New York women. Nearly 60% of men say they have sex at least once a week, but only 36% of women do. And very few men admit to having had no sex over the past year, compared with a quarter of women.
Men also claim to get around far more than women. Nearly 30% say they’ve had more than 10 partners, but only 4% of women do.
“Men are told from when they’re kids to be with a lot of women,” said Eddie Assad, 45, a Staten Island electrician who claimed he has had 60 sex partners. “It starts in school, how’d you do with this girl, how’d you do with that girl. I don’t think it’s like that for girls.”
Edna Dyepp, 75, of Brooklyn, said she has had only two sex partners in her life her first and second husbands.
“I can only be with one man at a time,” she said. “Men like to prove themselves by being with many women. Women have other ways, cooking or cleaning.”
How the Boroughs Stack Up
While the results were close, Queens residents said they have sex the most, with half the poll respondents reporting they have sex at least once a week. Following by a hair were Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.
“I’m at a loss to explain it, but I guess it’s a good thing,” chuckled Sherman King, 30, a UPS supervisor who lives in Laurelton, Queens, with his wife and children. “Maybe we got more married people, or more younger people. I know it’s not the air or the water that does it.”
Staten Islanders, on the other hand, may be the borough of the perpetual bedtime migraine. Slightly more than a third of Staten Islanders say they have sex at least once a week. And a quarter have had only one sex partner.
“Maybe it’s the garbage dumps out here, the aroma will kill your desire,” said Edith Jones, 83, a retired nursing attendant who lives on Staten Island. “Who wants to be involved in any pleasure with all that stuff around?”
The Money Factor
No one is more sexually active than those earning more than $ 100,000 a year. Nearly 70% of the big earners say they have sex at least once a week. And almost half have had six or more lovers.
Nearly one in five say they have had more than 20 lovers.
Russ Brink, 28, a Queens businessman, earns more than $ 100,000 and says he has had 20 sex partners.
But he says it has nothing to do with money.
“I had all my partners before I started working, when I was in college,” said Brink, who attended Oneonta College. “College was all about going to bars and meeting women. You were bound to sleep with five or six in a year. All you had to do was keep drinking.”
New York’s wealthiest are more likely to have carnal daydreams, with 14% saying they regularly fantasize about sex. In contrast, only 5% of those earning between $ 10,000 and $ 25,000 say they daydream about sex.
When to Start
The prevailing view is that young people should wait until they are at 17 to 19 years old before they have sex. But that attitude is not shared equally among New Yorkers of all ages. For example, most poll respondents under 30 said they think it appropriate to begin having sex in the late teen years.
“If you start at 18, it gives you experience,” said Jose Ramos, 22, a plumbing salesman from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. “I started when I was 15, I can’t remember who it was, but I think that was maybe too early. I could have made a mistake, gotten the girl pregnant, then what would have happened?”
Elderly New Yorkers, on the other hand, feel that young people should wait until they are married before having sex.
“I’m from the old school, people shouldn’t do it unless they’re married,” said one Queens respondent who asked to be identified only as Pauline, 75. “That’s the way I was brought up. Morally, it’s the thing to do. It’s proper.”
Getting to Know You
More than half 65% say couples should date for at least a year before getting married. Blacks show the most support for long-term courtship, with 75% saying couples should be involved for at least a year before heading to the altar. Fewer than 60% of whites and 46% of Jews agree.
“You need at least a year to really know someone, so you don’t rush into anything and make mistakes,” said Mary Gonzolez, 26, a children’s store manager from Queens.
At the same time, though, Gonzolez is unlike most New Yorkers 54% who believe couples should live together before marrying.
Respondents earning more than $ 100,000 are the most likely to endorse cohabitation. But less than half of those earning between $ 10,000 and $ 25,000 agree. And men are more likely than women to favor the idea, by 62% to 47%.
“If you live together, there’s less incentive to get married,” Gonzolez said. “Then marriage is just a piece of paper, it’s not something that you grow into.”
Sidebar: ITS OWN WORLD
Staten Island has the fewest people who:
Have sex at least once a week.
Have had more than five sexual partners in their lives.
Say 17 is a good age to start having sex.
Say living together before marriage is a good idea.
Admit having affairs.
It has the most people who:
Have had one sex partner.
Say you should be married before having sex.
Say it’s wrong to have an affair.
Would tell if the spouse of a good friend were having an affair.
Sidebar: NEW YORK CITY vs. AMERICA
Look to your left on the subway, look to your right nearly one out of every five of your fellow straphangers hasn’t had sex in the last year.
According to the Daily News poll, 18% of New Yorkers say they have gone that long without making love.
That statistic is nearly double the national average.
In other respects, though, New Yorkers are typical Americans. They have sex with about the same frequency and have about the same number of partners as everyone else.
“They are neither more or less sexually active than the larger number of folks in the society,” said John Gagnon, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and co-author of “Sex in America,” a comprehensive 1994 study of sexual behavior.
Why, then, does the city have so many people going without sex for so long?
The answer is likely the city’s demographic composition.
“There are more single people and elderly people in New York, and those are the people who tend to have the least sex,” Gagnon said.
Notes: Graphics by TRINE GIAEVER DAILY NEWS are not available electronically.
NEW YORKERS WHO SAY THEY HAVE SEX AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
NUMBER OF SEX PARTNERS
SEX AND MONEY
WHEN TO START
Series: NEW YORKERS THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Second of five parts.