What does it take to have good sex? According to Match.com's annual Singles in America Survey, it's surprisingly simple. American singles list a caring and enthusiastic partner (83 percent), communication (78 percent), and good kissing (76 percent) as their top three criteria for an enjoyable night in the sack. Achieving orgasm comes in at number four, with three in four singles admitting it was essential for good sex.
Meanwhile, most women say a lack of foreplay equates to bad sex, while men prefer the lights off and find the words "I love you" a turn on (how sweet). Both men and women can agree that too much talking (82 percent), no passion (74 percent), little movement (63 percent), and bad kissing (62 percent) kill the mood.
But it appears that American singles are – on the whole – a forgiving bunch. Most will give a potential partner a second chance after a disappointing night. If things don't improve after a few tries, however, 52 percent admit that bad sex is a deal breaker.
The survey, funded by the dating website and conducted by Research Now, is the largest and most comprehensive insight into the romantic lives of American adults today, involving a demographically representative sample of more than 5,000 US singles aged 18 to 70+.
"Americans are having long overdue conversations about people's diverse sexual lives, respect, pleasure, and consent," Justin Garcia, a professor of gender studies at The Kinsey Institute and a Scientific Advisor to Match.com, explained.
"Singles of all ages, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, and genders report that an enthusiastic, caring, and communicative partner are the key ingredients for a pleasurable sexual experience, which further emphasizes that affirmative consent and mutual respect and engagement is paramount to good sex."
It's not just how to have good sex. The survey reveals when US adults have good sex – and it might be a little later than you expect. Women have their best sex aged 66, whereas men reach their sexual peak a little earlier at 64.
The survey also highlights the continued popularity of casual friends-with-benefits style relationships. Fifty-five percent of singles have had a friends-with-benefits at some point, even though only 19 percent actively seek them out. Endearingly, 45 percent of respondents revealed they have had a friends-with-benefits turn serious.
Most seem to agree that there are certain rules to follow in a friends-with-benefits relationship: close friends can't be told of your relationship (69 percent), close friends are off-limits as dating partners (61 percent), you must disclose all current sexual partners (61 percent), and – most importantly – contraception is a must (92 percent).
In other news, 62 percent of hetero singles are up for threesomes, having sex with a robot is considered cheating by almost half, and, refreshingly given the current political climate, 72 percent of singles are open to dating people from a different political party.