In our June issue we described our reasons for commissioning the Debonair Sex Survey --- namely, a desire to know more about a subject that concerns us deeply but which, for a variety of reasons, we know little about.
The intention was not to present a conclusive report but to make a beginning that will hopefully generate discussion and lead to more openness.
Ignorance breeds assumptions which may not necessarily be true, as we discovered in the course of this survey. Over the next few months we will be presenting a detailed analysis. In this, the first of the series, we present the basic findings with comparative figures – results that shatter several myths about the sexual habits of Indian men.
95.8% have masturbated. 46.4% first masturbated before the age of 15, 29.9% masturbated almost every day. 68.1% of the unmarried men have already had sex. 8.0% had a homosexual experience in their first encounter. 62.0% of the married men had their first sexual experience before marriage. 43.4% of the married men did not have sex on their wedding night. 42.4% of married men have sex every day. 10.7% have experienced group sex. 29.4% have had homosexual intercourse. 5.1% have participated in homosexual group sex. 30.0% have had paid sex. 65.7% experience orgasm every time they have sex. 25.0% watch blue films. 72.9% feel that it is alright to sleep with someone even if you are planning to marry her. 35.4% feel that it is important to marry a virgin. 61.5% of the married men feel that it is alright to have extra-marital affair. 7.3% have suffered from STDs. 46.0% suffer from premature ejaculation. 16.3% have anal sex with their wives. 49.0% use condoms.
(Base - 1442)
INDIANS ARE NOT OPEN ABOUT THEIR SEX LIVES
We embarked upon this survey with some trepidation. We were afraid readers might consider it an intrusion on their privacy, that people might not take the trouble to reply or that respondents might not necessarily reveal the truth.
We were wrong. The morning after the issue hit the stands, we received our first reply hand – delivered. It was the beginning of a deluge.
Every day thereafter about 50 completed questionnaires arrived at the office, many accompanied by hand-written, typed or computer-printed additional information.
The problem is not that Indians are unwilling to talk about sex, but that they have never been asked before. This is brought out by the fact that by July 31, the official deadline, nearly 1500 replies had been received. More followed, which for practical reasons we could not accommodate.
There are of course limitations to any magazine survey, to the extent that it reflects the views and behavioral patterns of only its readers. But the sample that emerged cut across all categories in terms of age, income, community, region etc – all except gender.
We received only 67 replies from women – a sample so small that we were forced to redefine the survey as a study of the sexual habits of Indian males.
The replies came from 24 states in India (see tables for details of profile) and 43 different communities. In terms of religion too, the sample was representative with 79.2% Hindus 4.8% Muslims, 7.4% Christians and 4.7% Sikhs.
Sixty – five per cent of the sample comprised executives, professionals and businessmen. 10% were students, and the rest workers, traders and shop-owners. By and large the respondents came from the urban middle class.
Though replies came from all age group - fifty-three per cent were between the ages of 20-29 and 34.7% between 30-44, the age groups that correspond to the sexually active part of a man life.
Respondents ranged from the lower to the highest income groups, with over earning between 2,000-6,000 rupees a month. They were well-educated --- 67.3% had studied in the English medium. Fifty per cent were unmarried. 46% married. Only 20 respondents were separated, widowed or divorced.
The sample size was large enough to do a scientific analysis, and was an even spared amongst the urban middle income group.
The results of the Debonair Sex Survey therefore reflect the behavior of an extremely important segment of the Indian population – the urban, middle and upper socio-economic, upwardly mobile, section.
BASE: 1424 MALE RESPONDENTS
PROFILE OF THE RESPONDENTS
Upto 20 years 5.8%
20 - 24 years 22.5%
25 - 29 years 30.5%
30 - 34 years 17.7%
35 - 44 years 17.0%
45 - 55 years 6.5%
Less than 2000 14.2%
Rs 2001 – Rs 4000 34.1%
Rs 4001 – Rs 6000 20.2%
Rs 6001 – Rs 8000 8.4%
Rs 8001 – Rs 10000 2.7%
Over Rs 10000 7.3%
Not disclosed 13.1%
Some years in school 1.0%
Passed school 3.7%
Some years in college 5.9%
Post graduate 30.8%
Skilled / Unskilled workers 6.6%
Petty trader / shop owner 0.7%
Businessman / Industrialist 15.2%
Self-employed professional 14.3%
Clerk / Salesman /Supervisor 8.1%
Officer / Executive 35.9%
Not disclosed / others 8.1%
INDIAN MEN DON’T MASTURBATE BECAUSE OF SOCIAL TABOOS
Myths about masturbation persist, as any reader of Debonair Advisor would know. One respondent wrote. “My mother caught me masturbating when I was 13. I had a beating from my father that day. He told me I would become a pervert if I continued. Since then I have always felt guilt. I cannot stop myself and am plagued by guilt feelings.”
These taboos have not, however, acted as a deterrent to the majority of Indian men. Over 95% of our respondents have masturbated; with 79% of those who do saying they currently masturbate once a week or more.
NUMBER OF TIMES MEN MASTURBATE
Base - 1364, those who have masturbated
Almost every day 31.2%
2-3 times a week 33.5%
Once a week 14.8%
2-3 times a month 10.6%
Once in 2-3 months 3.8%
Less often 4.5%
Men generally begin to masturbate in their teens: 63% started masturbating before the age of 16.
FIRST TIME MASTURBATED
Under 10 years old 4.4%
11-13 years 23.2%
14-15 years 36.3%
16-17 years 20.2%
Most boys appear to have discovered the activity on their own, while rubbing the penis with the hands or against the bedclothes. At other times, the first experience occurs with friends – especially in schools. In lavatories, while comparing sizes, or peeing.
Age does seem to make a difference: younger men masturbate more often than the older. Forty per cent of those under 24 were masturbating almost every day, compared to 22% of those 30%.
Marriage also makes a difference. Thirty – seven per cent of unmarried men masturbated almost every day, compared to 25% of the unmarried – still a remarkably high figure. Seventy-three per cent of the married respondents masturbated once a week or more – masturbation is obviously not the activity of the young and single alone.
INDIANS DO NOT HAVE PRE-MARITAL SEX
It is usually assumed that the Indian man’s first sexual experience is with his wife. Though virginity is rarely talked about in the male context, most would probably believe that only the bad boys have done it before – not the ones who are “educated”, brought up right, and from good families, certainly not the middle class but living next door.
Eight-one per cent of our sample had had sexual intercourse, 41% of these having had sex before they were 20 years old. Only 38% of those married said their first intercourse was with their wives. Five per cent had had sex with their wives-to-be before marriage.
If it was with the wife, who was the first experience with? People generally feel that if a young man has premarital sex it must be with a prostitute. Certainly not the girl next door. The survey indicates otherwise. The maximum (28%) first had sex with a friend, indicating that society is not as conservative as we think it is, and a surprising 13.2% first had sex with a relative. Paid sex was the first experience for only 22%.
Many people think that Indian women are reserved, sold, never take the sexual initiative. Here again are some surprises. A quarter of or respondents said that the initiator for the first sexual experience was a woman.
AGE AT WHICH RESPONDENTS HAD FIRST SEXUAL INETERCOURSE
Base - 1158, those who have had intercourse
Under 13 4.6%
14 – 16 13.4%
17 – 19 23.2%
20 – 25 38.7%
26 – 30 20.1%
For example: “I was at a relative’s marriage. One day whilst taking a bath, this girl came into the room and locked it. When I came out, all wet, she grabbed and smooched me all over. She undressed and wrapped herself around me. This was the first time I had seen a woman in the nude.”
For 114 men (10%), the first sexual experience was with a person of the same sex. A quarter of those below 20 who have had intercourse had it in a homosexual situation. It is difficult to know whether this reflects a growing homosexual tendency: it could be that with the increased availability f sexual stimulation (blue films or pornography) experimentation has become more prevalent and the person most available and willing could perhaps be a male friend.
Can men be raped? Have sex against their will? It seems so; 23% said their first sexual experience had been a little forced. Interestingly, more younger men (26% under 24) answered this positively compared to the older (17% over 35).
WITH WHOM WAS THE FIRST SEXUAL INTERCOURSE?
Paid person 21.8
Casual person 2.8
SEX WITHIN MARRIAGE IS NOT SATISFYING
Forty-six per cent of our samples were married, with 59% of these having arranged marriages. More of the younger groups were going for “arranged cum love” and love marriage, 61% of those married, had married before they were 25 years old.
It is often thought that sex within marriage is not satisfying, especially in the case of arranged marriages.
Not for the men who answered our questionnaire. Over 80% had sex once a week and more with their wives. Age did make a difference: 71% of the married in the 20 – 24 age groups had sex every day, compared to 16% of those aged 45-55. However, this doesn’t mean the older group was inactive --- 50% said they had sex at least once a week.
The first night after marriage. A bed covered with flowers. The wife coy, bashful. The man eager, waiting. Do men have sex on the first night of marriage? Surprise: Only half said yes.
AVERAGE NUMBER OF TIMES MARRIED MEN HAVE INTERCOURSE WITH SPOUSE
Base -- 661, those who are married
Almost every day 42.4%
Once a week 37.7%
Once a fortnight 8.8%
Once a month 3.2%
Once in 2-3 months 1.4%
Less often 2.4%
INDIAN MEN ARE FAITHFUL
Fifty-five per cent of married respondents admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse (an affair, not paid sex). Mostly with a friend (53%). Again, surprisingly, relatives come second, with a quarter of our respondents saying they had had intercourse with someone in the family.
HOW MANY PERSONS RESPONDENTS HAVE HAD EXTRA-MARITAL AFFAIRS WITH
1 – 2 23.3%
3 – 5 24.9%
6 – 10 16.4%
Over 11 26.3%
For 50% it was a few affairs – below 5. Others had had even more. And 153 respondents (22% of those who had affairs and includes married and unmarried) admitted to group sex, often with their wives involved. Twenty-five per cent had had group sex only a couple of times. But 4 went up to 50 times.
INTERCOURSE WITH INDIVIDUAL OTHER THAN SPOUSE OR PAID PERSON
Work collegue `8%
Work collegue `8%
HOMOSEXUALITY IS A WESTERN PHENOMENON
Homosexual behavior is often seen as an import from the decadent West, where is has been getting much attention due to the gay rights movement. At an international AIDS conference a few years ago, a top government official representing India got up on, the dais and proudly proclaimed that AIDS was not a problem in India and would not be because there was no homosexual behavior in India!
Bombay Dost, India’s first registered magazine for alternative sexuality, which started publication recently points out that even the Kamasutra, contains a chapter on homosexuality.
Of those who have had sexual intercourse 427 (36.8%) had had sex with another male. Is this a relatively new phenomenon? It appears not, since the percentages of those who had a homosexual experience are highest in the youngest and oldest age group.
It is an experience that occurs early in a man’s life and approximately 87% had their first homosexual experience by the age of 20. Forty men had had homosexual encounters by the age of 10.
Does marriage make a difference to homosexual encounters? Thirty-two per cent of those who are married have had sex with another man, a lower percentage than the unmarried who have had intercourse (41.7%). The majority of relationships were with a friend (64%). Then came relatives with 19.2%. WITH AIDS being so freely discussed, we asked if their spouses knew about their homosexual behavior. Thirty-one per cent of the married men had told their wives.
Homosexual behavior has often been related to cruising and having sex with many partners, many of whom are unknown. This is not substantiated by the survey. Only 21 respondents (5%) said they had sex with casual acquaintances.
Forty per cent had had sex with only couple of people. This possibly indicates that this group experimented with this form of sex, and it was not something that they fancied. The 35% who have had sex with over 10 men probably reflect those who have a sexual preference for men.
Since homosexuality is rarely talked about openly, it does seem to create some tension for those who have had the experience.
“I had sex with an older man when I was 18. I really enjoyed it, and find myself being more attracted to men than to women. However. I am scared to make a move because I will be ridiculed. I feel very guilty about being attracted to men. Is there any treatment for this?”
Seventy-three respondents (17%) have had (homosexual) group sex, but most of them did not disclose how often.
AGE AT WHICH FIRST HOMOSEXUAL EXPERIENCE OCCURRED
Base --- 427, those who have had homosexual experience
Below 13 26%
14 – 16 38%
17 – 20 23%
21 – 30 10.5%
Over 30 1.3%
ONLY THE POOR & UNEDUCATED GO FOR PAID SEX
Our image of paid sex is usually of sleazy red light areas where poorly paid girls fulfill the needs of thousands of men. The picture we have of such men is of someone with little education, scarce resources and no respectable way of meeting their basic need for sex. However, it seems that paid sex is something that men of all backgrounds indulge in, for a variety of reasons. Thirty-seven per cent of our sample who have had sex admitted to having paid sex, 41% of the unmarried, 32% of the married. This isn’t the behavior of the new generation, and age and income made little difference to the pattern.
Fifty per cent of those who had been for paid sex had first gone by the time they were 21. Half had been on 5 occasions and less, while 34 men side they had been to over 50 different persons. Surprisingly married men. (27.4% of the married men had been to over 20 women, compared to 12.4% of the unmarried men). We see the same relationship with age – only 14.5% of those under 30 had been to more than 20 women, compared to 23% of those over 30.
This probably reflects a tendency on the part of a ,am to go for paid sex as he grows older. If he cannot get what he wants or expects from his wife. It could also reflect a tendency to get habituated to paid sex, particularly when coupled with other factors such as the wife not being available, the presence of children and so on.
AT WHAT AGE RESPONDENTS FIRST WENT FOR PAID SEX
Base – 428, those who have had paid sex
18 and under 22.1%
19 – 21 29.6%
22 – 25 30.3%
26 – 30 9.6%
Over 30 5.4%
NO OF TIMES RESPONDENTS HAVE GONE FOR PAID SEX
1 – 2 24.3%
3 – 5 19.2%
6 – 10 17.6%
11 – 20 10.2%
Over 20 15.5%
Our respondents said that the main reasons for indulging in paid sex were sexual experience, or because the person just felt like it. A quarter went for paid sex whilst on tour. Only 56 men (27% of the married men who had paid for sex) had told their spouses that they transmitted diseases are a problem. It was discouraging to find that even in this highly educated group, only 16% of the married men used condoms in such situations.