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Match.com Single In America Study: 11 Secrets Of Singles' Sex, Dating And Politics

First Posted: 02/03/2012 7:45 pm EST Updated: 02/04/2012 5:57 pm EST

In a world of one-night stands, friends with benefits, online dating and coupledom that comes in any number of forms, the sex lives of singles have never been more diverse. Yet stereotypes persist of single women as desperate to settle down and men as commitment-phobic. Dating site Match.com's survey of over 6,000 single American men and women busts these myths wide open.

The website ensured a representative sample by making sure participant demographics mirrored those reflected in U.S. Census data on race, gender, age and other factors. And though Match.com spearheaded the study, the participants were not drawn from the dating service's membership.

Some key findings included evidence that single men defy common male stereotypes, senior citizens still know how to get down, and Democrats and Republicans have a marked difference in sexual proclivities. "The way you vote is gonna play out in the way you behave in the bedroom," said Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist from Rutgers University and one of Match.com's scientific consultants.

Fisher also told The Huffington Post that this is the largest study that's ever been conducted on singles in America -- and she hopes that it makes people wake up and see the reality of singles' lives, rather than the stereotypes. "Women are just as sexual as men, and men are just as romantic as women," she said. "The study moves [us] in that direction."

SLIDESHOW: 11 Secrets Of Singles Sex Lives

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  • Men Aren't Such Commitment-Phobes

    The survey results undermined several tired stereotypes about men. "We've spent 50 years trying to bust myths about women," said Fisher. "I've been very eager to get to the men. ... This study showed a broadened understanding of what a man is." When asked the question "Would you just like to date a lot of women?" only 3 percent of men answered affirmatively. Fisher said that once men do fall in love, they're actually willing to make big, life-changing decisions -- like moving in with a partner -- more quickly than women are. In fact, 46 percent of men said that they'd move in with someone after less than a year, compared to only 26 percent of women. Bonus: These results also seriously undercut the "women-as-desperate-harpies-who-rush-into-relationships" stereotype.

  • Men Are More Likely To "Settle" Than Women Are

    Even though women are supposed to be constantly watching their biological clocks, men are actually the ones who are willing to settle for a less-than-ideal relationship. When asked, "Would you make a long-term commitment to someone who had everything you were looking for but you were not in love with them?" and "Would you make a long-term commitment to someone who had everything you were looking for but you did not find them sexually attractive?" men were more likely to say yes to both of these questions than women were. "Women were [also] more likely to say that bad sex was a deal-breaker," said Fisher. "A hundred years ago, women didn't have much choice about the sex."

  • Post-50s Aren't Asexual -- And They're Not Desperate Either

    We've known for a while that seniors aren't saying goodbye to their sex lives as they age, but they also aren't willing to give it up for just anyone. Young men in their 20s and 30s are the most willing to compromise when it comes to love and sexual attraction, but both women and men in their 50s, 60s and beyond are the least likely to make a commitment without sex and romance. "The older aren't desperate -- they're the least desperate," said Fisher. "They're really settled in their communities. They're not going to overturn their lives unless they're really in love."

  • Democrats And Republicans Want VERY Different Things...

    ... especially when it comes to choosing a partner. Conservative Republicans were more likely than any other group to say they must date someone from the same political party, ethnic background and religious background who has similar views on money. Republicans also tended to look for a partner who wants to get married. Democrats, on the other hand, valued a partner who respects them and has a sense of humor, independence, a similar level of education and the ability to communicate wants and needs.

  • Everyone Has One-Night-Stands -- But Not Everyone Thinks They're Okay

    Sixty-five percent of liberal Democrats told the researchers that they'd had one-night stands as opposed to 49 percent of Republicans. However, while Dems didn't seem to take issue with one-time sexual encounters, a large proportion of Republicans were against them completely. Among other sexual no-no's of the right-wing the survey found include sex before marriage, friends with benefits and having sex on the first date.

  • Democrats Have More Sex, But Republicans Have More Orgasms

    While conservative Republicans had -- by far -- the least sex in the last year, Fisher told The Huffington Post that they also reported having the most orgasms per sexual encounter. Perhaps this is a question of quality vs. quantity? Fisher hypothesized that it might just be a matter of confidence. "[Republicans] tend to be very sure of their values. ... Being relaxed in your life-vision makes you more relaxed in the bedroom," she said. "Liberal Democrats, we tend to question, we live in the nuances, the world isn't black and white -- [maybe this leads to being] somewhat less relaxed in the bedroom."

  • Liberal Men Appreciate Older Women

    Fisher told The Huffington Post that liberal Democrats are the group most likely to commit to a woman 10 years older than they are. They're also much more willing to date someone who comes from a different family structure than they do.

  • Gay Singles And Straight Singles Want The Same Things

    According to Fisher, the survey showed that sexual orientation doesn't matter much when it comes to seeking out a partner. "Gays and straights are just as likely to want somebody who they can trust and confide in, somebody who respects them, somebody who's well-educated and somebody who they're sexually attracted to," she said. The only significant difference between gay and straight singles' dating preferences was that gay men and women are somewhat less likely to care about their partner's religious and ethnic background.

  • That Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis Film Happens In Real Life

    Although we're usually told that friends-with-benefits relationships can never work, the survey showed that they often can. When asked whether they've has a friends-with-benefits situation blossom into something long-term, 20 percent of people said yes.

  • Our Dating Lives Can Withstand The Recession

    This economy is definitely stressful -- <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/14/us-poverty-levels-record-high" target="_hplink">debilitating in many cases</a> -- but when asked whether or not the economy had affected their dating habits, 60 percent of participants said it hadn't. "Economies go up and down -- they've been going up and down as long as humanity's been around," said Fisher. "But much more deeply ingrained in the human brain is courtship. [I predict] that it will be one of the aspects of human nature that will be least affected by changes in the economy."

  • A Partner With Opinions? Some Say "No, Thanks"

    Conservative Republicans were the group least likely to want a partner that expressed strong opinions, while liberal Democrats were the most likely to. So it seems best to avoid an impassioned defense of gay marriage if you're trying to court a Santorum fan.

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