Men’s Health reports that Austin, Texas, is the most sexually active city in the United States, but I knew immediately I couldn’t believe it.
I knew because the highest ranked California city is Bakersfield, which came in 9th out of 100. Any native Californian knows this is not possible. Even Bakos know it’s not possible, and they live there!
The magazine based the rankings on condom sales, birth rates, sex toy sales from Babeland.com and Pure Romance home parties, and the rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported by state health departments.
I confess that I can’t help but look into these kinds of things. I can’t see an internet poll without voting, a quiz without taking it, or data (however bogus) without drilling down. Back in my Sex Drive days, I could roll around naked in Pew Research Center for hours and hours.
In this case, I couldn’t help myself. I had to look for the cities where I have lived. (San Francisco, 74th; Los Angeles, 54th; Sacramento, 36th). Even though the magazine considered sex toy sales information from just two retailers, whose combined annual sales are a wee fraction of adult retail grandaddymommy Adam & Eve. Even when the rankings are reported without a key to how they weighted each factor (lower birth rates could indicate more contraception-enabled sex, and lower condom sales could indicate higher rates of birth control pills, IUDs, and implants).
Austin ranks 1st in condom sales, 15th in birth rates, and 23rd in STD infections. Bakersfield boasts the 12th highest condom sales, the 3rd highest birth rate, and the 48th highest STD rate, which makes me wonder if people are buying the condoms but not using them properly. A higher rate of condom sales should translate to lower rates of STD transmission and pregnancies. Typically, condoms have about an 85 percent effectiveness rate as a contraception. (Birth control effectiveness comparison at About.com.)
Sex toy purchases are not broken out as a category on their own, alas.
Portland, Oregon, has a reputation as a relatively sex-friendly city. Free speech advocate Darklady resides there, as does Onyx game developer Franklin Veaux. Yet Men’s Health ranks Portland as the least sex-happy city on the list, number 100. It has one of the lowest rates of condom sales (95th), yet it also has the lowest rate of STD transmission (100th) and has almost the lowest birth rate (95th — lower than Yonkers, New York, but higher than Burlington, Vermont.)
Men’s Health inflates its Web traffic numbers by putting one city on a page, forcing you to click through 100 times to see them all. The print-friendly version only includes the top 10 and the bottom 10. This irritates me so much, I don’t even want to give them link love, but of course that would be rude of me. Also, I don’t want to make the decision for you. Maybe you need a distraction from the workday and want to see each city individually. So, ClickClickClickClickClick.
If not, Austin blogger Robert Quigley helpfully lists all 100 cities by their overall sex happiness rank.
What number is your city? Do you think it’s about right?