prri-logo

Americans more likely to say unsatisfying sex life is a major problem for couples, rather than political or religious differences

 

WASHINGTON – As Americans prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a new survey shows significant differences in how men and women view the links between sex, money and romance on February 14.

Men are more likely than women to see connections between traditional Valentine’s Day activities and sex. At least three-quarters of men who say they are somewhat or very likely to watch a romantic comedy (73 percent) or go out to dinner (75 percent) on Valentine’s Day also say they are somewhat or very likely to have sex. By contrast, fewer women who say they are somewhat or very likely to watch a romantic comedy (41 percent) or go out to dinner (50 percent) predict that they will have sex, finds the February PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

Nearly 3-in-10 (28 percent) men plan to spend at least $100 on Valentine’s Day, compared to 11% of women. More than 6-in-10 (61 percent) women say they will spend less than $50. Overall, Americans who report that they will spend more money on Valentine’s Day are also more likely to say they will have sex: more than 6-in-10 (61 percent) Americans who are spending at least $100 say they are very likely to have sex, compared to 41 percent of those spending between $50 and $100, and one-quarter (25 percent) of those spending less than $50.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans say they are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. A majority (54 percent) say they are somewhat or very likely to go out to dinner, while nearly half (47 percent) report that they are somewhat or very likely to have sex. More than 4-in-10 (42 percent) say they are likely to go to bed early, while one-third (33 percent) say they are likely to watch a romantic comedy.

“Traditional Valentine’s Day activities like going out to dinner and watching a romantic comedy are more closely linked to sex for men than they are for women,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director. “It’s not surprising, given these connections, that men who participate in these rituals are more likely to predict that they will have sex on Valentine’s Day.”

Americans see an unsatisfactory sex life as the largest obstacle to a successful marriage or romantic relationship, compared to political or religious differences, the survey finds. A majority (54 percent) of Americans say that an unsatisfying sex life is a major problem for a couple. By contrast, less 3-in-10 (29 percent) say that having different religious beliefs are a major problem for a couple, and less than 1-in-5 (17 percent) say the same of having different political views.

“For most religious groups, an unsatisfying sex life is the biggest potential problem for couple, with the exception of white evangelical Protestants,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, PRRI CEO. “White evangelical Protestants report that divergent religious beliefs pose as much of a major problem for couples as an unsatisfying sex life.”

 

Among the findings:

Americans in new relationships are more likely to say they will celebrate Valentine’s Day than those in more established relationships. Six-in-ten (60 percent) Americans in relationships that are less than 2 years old say they are very likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day, compared to only 45 percent of Americans who are in 20+ year relationships.

Men (57 percent) are much more likely than women (37 percent) to say that they are very or somewhat likely to have sex on Valentine’s Day. Men (60 percent) are also more likely than women (47 percent) to say they are somewhat or very likely to go out to dinner. Men are, however, about equally as likely as women to say that they are very or somewhat likely to go to bed early (42 percent vs. 41 percent) or watch a romantic comedy (29 percent vs. 35 percent) on Valentine’s Day.

A majority (57 percent) of religiously unaffiliated Americans, a slim majority (51 percent) of Catholics, and nearly half (48 percent) of white evangelicals say they are likely to have sex on Valentine’s Day, compared to 4-in-10 (40 percent) white mainline Protestants.

Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans are married, while 1-in-10 (10 percent) are living with a partner but not married. Sixteen percent of Americans report that they are currently in a romantic relationship but not married or living with a partner, and more than 1-in-4 (26 percent) say they are not in a relationship.

  • More than one-third (35 percent) of Americans who are currently in a relationship say they met their spouse or partner through friends and family. Roughly 1-in-5 say they met their spouse or partner at work (18 percent) or at school (17 percent). Less than 1-in-10 report that they met their spouse or partner at a bar or nightclub (8 percent), at church (6 percent), around their community or in their neighborhood (5 percent), or online (4 percent).

Men (61 percent) are more likely than women (48 percent) to say that an unsatisfying sex life is a major problem.

Republicans (38 percent) are more likely than Democrats (22 percent) or Independents (29 percent) to say that having different religious beliefs is a major problem. Republicans (25 percent) are also more likely than Democrats (13 percent) or Independents (15 percent) to say having different political beliefs poses a major problem for couples.

 

The survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) telephone interviews conducted between February 6, 2013 and February 10, 2013 by professional interviewers under the direction of Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS). Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 1,021 adults 18 years of age or older in the continental United States (411 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

The topline questionnaire can be found online here: http://publicreligion.org/research/february-2013-prri-rns-survey/

Public Religion Research Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization specializing in research at the intersection of religion, values and public life.

-END-

Contact

Shannon Craig Straw
shannon@rabinowitz-dorf.com
202-265-3000

Tom Fazzini
tom@rabinowitz-dorf.com
202-265-3000

Notice

The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.