Taking Sex Off Their To-Do List: Most Couples Prefer Spontaneity in the Bedroom

International poll also finds most men and women around the world do not discuss sexual health issues with physicians

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sex is spontaneous, or unplanned, for the majority of men and women in the U.S. and around the world, a recent survey found. In the U.S., 76 percent of all respondents said they do not plan ahead for sex, compared to the global average of 86 percent.

According to the poll, in the U.S., 71 percent of 34 to 45 year olds, 79 percent of 46 to 60 year olds, and 77 percent of those over age 60 have spontaneous sex.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) sponsored the international online poll, conducted by SKIM Healthcare, that collected information on sexual behavior among men and women aged 34 years and older from 13 countries. The findings reveal how people across the globe are similar – and different – in their sexual behaviors.

North Americans led the poll in having discussed sexual health and performance issues with their doctors:

  • 38 percent of U.S. male respondents, and 22 percent of female
  • 37 percent of Mexican male respondents, and 38 percent of female
  • 35 percent of Canadian male respondents, and 27 percent of female

This is compared to just 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women in South Korea, 19 percent of men and 14 percent of women in Denmark, and 19 percent of men and 16 percent of women in the United Kingdom who said they have discussed the topic with a doctor.

Though North Americans had the higher rates, some respondents still stated they had been too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about sexual health issues, even though they had questions:

  • 15 percent of U.S. male respondents, and 28 percent of female
  • 20 percent of Mexican male respondents, and 29 percent of female
  • 23 percent of Canadian male respondents, and 23 percent of female

"Sexual health issues are less taboo subjects than ever before, yet many men and women are still not discussing them with their doctors," said Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh, president of the International Society of Men's Health and director, Division of Urology, Maimonides Medical Center in New York. "It is hugely surprising that at the end of 2011, the conversation around sexual health is still so often difficult for men and women to initiate. I really thought that by now we had softened the barriers to communication."

The survey findings also reveal where men and women in the U.S. go to get information or help with sexual health issues. About one-third of respondents (34 percent) indicated they used the internet as a source of sexual health information; respondents also selected books to a much lesser extent (12 percent), magazines (11 percent) and doctors (10 percent) as their go-to sources.

"A truly amazing cultural shift has happened around the world in that the internet has replaced the doctor as the number one source of health information," said Shabsigh. "When we think about it, we can understand why: The internet is always available while doctors are not; and the internet is full of information – both accurate and inaccurate – while doctors are focused on diagnosis and treatment, rather than education. But patients need diagnosis by a doctor to ensure proper treatment."

When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction (ED), about one-third (29 percent) of the men polled in the U.S. have used an ED medication, the highest of all the countries surveyed. Of those who reported using an ED medication, about 20 percent said they ordered it from the internet.

Asked what they think motivates men to order ED medication online versus going to a traditional pharmacy, 70 percent of U.S. respondents chose "avoiding embarrassment" – nearly double that of the next-highest answers, which were cost (35 percent), convenience (34 percent) and believing a prescription is not required (30 percent). The global results for the same question were: avoiding embarrassment (74 percent), convenience (33 percent), believing no prescription is required (29 percent) and cost (24 percent).

"It is fascinating that the top reason men give for ordering ED medications online is to avoid embarrassment," Shabsigh said. "ED has become a household term and millions of men are being treated for the condition, yet there remains a stigma that keeps some men from getting medications through legitimate sources."

Shabsigh added, "Ordering medications online can be dangerous. Patients are at risk when they order from online sources that they cannot confirm are legitimate. Many sites offering ED medications are unlawful and unreliable, and people who purchase from them may get counterfeit medications with no quality control and potentially harmful ingredients."

Patients can help ensure they are getting legitimate medications is by getting a prescription from their doctor and taking it to an accredited local pharmacy or an accredited online pharmacy to have it filled.  Those who purchase medication online can use the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program or LegitScript to help them identify legitimate, safe online pharmacies. These databases can be accessed by visiting www.nabp.net and/or www.legitscript.com.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by SKIM Healthcare on behalf of Eli Lilly and Company among 13,063 men (60 percent) and women (40 percent) aged 34 and older. The poll comprised 24 questions on such topics as current sexual behavior, dealing with sexual health issues and using and purchasing ED medication. Participants in the poll were from 13 countries, with a minimum of 1,000 respondents per country: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About SKIM

SKIM is a market research agency, located in Rotterdam, Geneva, London and New York. Combining market-specific expertise and knowledge of advanced research methodologies, SKIM has been a sparring partner for multinational companies for over 30 years. SKIM guides clients around the world in their new product development, positioning and pricing decisions. Typical SKIM clients operate on the cutting edge of product innovation and marketing, in consumer goods, healthcare, consumer health, telecommunications and financial services. SKIM also serves many leading international market research agencies with research services and software. To learn more, visit: http://www.skimgroup.com/.

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers - through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.


Dr. Shabsigh is a paid consultant for Eli Lilly and Company.

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SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company