Commenter Rico (who stopped by yesterday) had the following to say on the comment section of the blog post linked yesterday -Why Won’t My Wife Have Sex With Me?:
You know what’s sad? The fact that only twice a month is considered “not terrible”… it might even be “average”, but you know what else is “average” these days? Being overweight. Being thousands of dollars in debt. ”Average” is nothing to crow about.
This was in response to a wife rationalizing that she had a decent sex life at twice per month and her husband should be happy about that. I had to unpack this a bit and dig deeper as to what was “average”, especially since this blog is entitled “Average Married Dad”. Based on my findings presented below, at one point I probably was pretty close to “average” in many of these items, but have fought my way out of this with teamwork and perseverance At this stage in my life, I am not “average”, will never settle for “average” again and will always promote a higher standard of life conditions for my wife and children. We end up average because we just go through life like we’re on a raft floating down the river, not really trying to be like this and not realizing there’s a better way to do things or better way to BE. While the findings here were unsurprising, it doesn’t mean it has to be like this.
The Table provided below courtesy The Kinsey Institute and the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB). Findings from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, Centre for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University. Journal of Sexual Medicine, Vol. 7, Supplement 5.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get access to the data of the study, but if we make the broad assumption that the age groups are equally represented and focus on men from 25 to 49 (as this is the demographic I’m aiming towards in my writings), then 67% of men (that’s 2 out of 3 people) in this bracket have sex AT MOST once per week. To find what the average married sexual frequency is, I need to make some additional assumptions I used the following (educated guesses):
- Not in the Past Year = 0
- A few Times per Year to Monthly = 7.5 per year
- A few Times per Month to Weekly = 3 per month
- 2-3 times per week = 2.5 per week
- 4 or more times per week = 4.5 per week
Plugging it into my supercomputer, I come up with an average of 1.3 times per week. This is skewed by the top 1/3 as well as those in the 25-29 age group. If you leave just the 30-49 age groups, that average number drops to an even 1.0 times per week (with my assumptions) with a distribution as noted below (click to make larger). So nearly 50% of 30-49 year old men have sex a “few” times per month to monthly (2 – 4 times per month), 7% not once in the past year and that nebulous “few” times per year to monthly (1-12 times per year) is at 16%. In total this is 73% of married men in this group. While every couple and individual is different in what constitute an adequate intimacy frequency, my opinion is that nearly 3 out of 4 men are getting laid less than they’d like.
While in the interest of brevity I won’t get into the women’s version of this table, but across the board they are shifted down to less frequent P in V sex than men for each age demographic though only by a few percentage points. This is likely accounted for by men marrying younger women.
So there’s what you get to shoot for to have “average” sex frequency according to this study (and Kinsey Institute is highly regarded in this arena).
According to various sources such as the CDC, two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and the “average” american is 23 pounds over their ideal body weight. It’s normal to be fat in this country, and the hamsters are acting like it’s the way it always was. They’ve been resizing women’s clothing for years so that they don’t feel so fat. Says this New York Times article:
Over the years, many brands have changed measurements so that a woman who previously wore a 12 can now wear a 10 or an 8, a practice known as “vanity sizing.”
In men’s clothes, the dimensions are usually stated in inches; women’s clothing involves more guesswork.
Oh, but it’s ok, because our idea of an “ideal” weight is also changing. This article states:
Not only has the average woman’s weight increased, so has our perception of what our ideal weight should be, which has increased almost 10 pounds over 20 years, jumping from 129 pounds to 138 pounds. The same survey found that even though the average woman weighs 30 pounds more than the “ideal weight” of 1990, over half of men and women think their weight is “about right.”
Delusional is what we are as a society. So if you’re “average”, you’re a good 23 pounds overweight and seeing yourself as the perfect weight. Congratulations on being heavier than you should be!
And let’s not forget exercise, we suck as a country. Check out this graphic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Of this data, 30% of those stated “walking” was the exercise can’t find too much wrong there, walking is good. Second at 13.1% was weightlifting. Good! third at 12.7% was cardiovascular equipment (dreadmills that type of thing – get outside people ). Then dropping off precipitously with swimming, running basketball and golf rounding out the top 7.
A 2011 Gallup poll stated that about 30% of adults didn’t do any exercise, 19% did 1-2 days per week with the remainder(52%) doing 3 or more days per week. So the “average” exercises maybe twice per week. I thought it would be worse, but if you think walking twice per week is enough, I believe you’re sorely mistaken. Walking twice per week and weightlifting and/or sprinting and/or some running/playing games with the kids that twice per week is a better place to be.
The average family household had a median income in 2011 (est.) of $62,273 according to US Census numbers.
Let’s assume for a moment that home ownership (and mortgage debt) is a long term good thing, and also, let’s make a giant leap of faith that that degree from Big University hanging on your wall will get used to pay your student loans incurred. This leaves the primary “bad” debt I’d like to focus on: Credit Cards.
The average credit card debt per household was nearly $16,000 in 2011 (source). But there’s actually good news here. In 2007, only 46% of U.S. families had credit card debt, though I’d guess that has increased due to the recession. Balances are declining as people are being more careful. The bad news is that based on the “average” CC debt, those who are in debt are in debt by a lot. Ouch. It takes a lot of hard work to get out of that mess and back on even ground. Holly and I, after years of shuffling and incurring college and early-mid 20′s debt while not making a whole lot of money are only recently in the black. That is going to be one of the key things we teach our children.
Random thoughts and other information:
The Average man is 34.4 years old, married with two kids, sleeps 7 hours on a work night, can bench press (one time) 160 lbs, do one pull-up, doesn’t belong to a gym (only 12% of men do apparently), is 5’9″, 175 lbs (According to this) and watches 35 hours of tv per week.
While you can’t peak behind the curtains, what I see from the”average” man and family seems to fit these stereotypes. Ray Romano in “Everybody Loves Raymond” seems to be pretty typical of what we as family men have become, except the real average man is fatter. Fortunately, my daily interactions and circle of friends are above average and that has a positive influence on my life as well. Danger and Play had a great post that’s since been taken down awhile back about hanging out with quality people and losing those that bring you down.
Let’s not celebrate “Average”. Let’s all strive to be more than the norm and bring that average up to something not so sad.