At its most basic level, sex is a fundamental human behaviour that transcends all boundaries. But in today’s world of shifting cultural and geographical complexities, sex has taken on new meaning for adults from a variety of backgrounds. To find out how sexual habits and preferences vary across the Atlantic, we built our own mouse-tracking technology that allowed us to survey 500 Americans and 500 Europeans from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria in a novel way — by tracking the movement of their cursors.

Once all 1,000 respondents had completed the mouse-tracking simulation, we were able to extract real, numeric data from it by parsing out where different users placed their cursors at different points in time. The asset below displays our female respondents’ cursor data from the last second of the “What is your favourite body part on others?” slide.

What is your favourite body part on others?

Looking at our respondents’ cursor data in this way reveals some interesting insights. The diagonal line cutting across the above graphic is the line along which both American and European females have an equal favouritism for the body part in question.

While body parts such as men’s “shoulders” and “head/face” are preferred about equally by both American and European females, the graphic above also reveals some interesting differences as well. American females value “penis,” “arms,” and “stomach” over European women, who value “back” and “butt” to a greater extent than their American counterparts. In addition, American women value “chest” more than European women who favour the “groin” region to a greater extent than their American counterparts. Of special note here as well is the fact that “penis” and “arms” share the same spot on the scatter plot. What we can infer from this is that while American female respondents tend to favor “penis” and “arms” over their European counterparts, across both groups, “Arms” is favored to an extent as “Penis.” Perhaps if men need a little help compensating, they should consider ditching the Ferrari in favour of some dumbbells.

Male response about favourite body | ZAVA Infographic

Compared to our female respondents, preferences amongst American men and European men showed a lot less variation. This fact is revealed by the amount of body parts/regions that lie along the central diagonal line, along which Europeans and Americans prefer body parts/regions with the same prevalence. Of note in the above image is that Americans seem to be “butt” men to a greater extent than their European counterparts, which is interesting given that this situation is reversed for female respondents.

A key insight from the above two graphics is the fact that men are far less divided on what they like than women. Men are all about the groin, chest, and butt regions and show far less deviation from this preference than women overall, who preferred a wider range of parts/regions. Body parts/regions below a 2 percent preference were excluded from our graph above, and — unlike females — this caused fewer body parts/regions in total to make the cut in the above male graphic.

Who knows their reproductive anatomy the Best?

Reproductive anatomy infographic from ZAVA Online Doctor

When it comes to sexual education, American males lead the way: On average, 58.4 percent of them were able to correctly identify the prostate, seminal vesicle, testis, vas deferens, cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, and/or ovaries. On the other end of the spectrum, only an average of 40 percent of European females managed to answer correctly, perhaps suggesting that a refresher course is in order. Overall, Europeans answered correctly 41.9 percent of the time, while Americans answered correctly 58.1 percent of the time.

The way each culture approaches sexual education may account for these differences in knowledge. In America, often known for its many abstinence-based programs, most sexual education is confined to a health or science curriculum in school. In many European countries, and particularly in Germany, the Netherlands, and France, sexual education focuses more on societal openness and comfort with sexuality as well as access to sexual health information services.

How many times have you cheated?

Total responses about cheating | ZAVA Survey

It may come as a relief that the majority of our respondents have never cheated, and when asked how many times they’ve cheated, American males are the most likely to say never. Almost 70 percent of men from the U.S. indicated that they’ve never cheated, followed by almost 60 percent of American women, 50 percent of European men, and about 35 percent of European women.

The idea of the archetypal American male being the least likely to cheat seems almost counterintuitive, but then again, these numbers are self-reported — perhaps American males are more likely to lie about cheating on a survey.

What is your favourite sex position

For their favourite position, most males — at 28.1 percent — answered doggy-style, with cowgirl coming in at a close second at 27.2 percent. While males most preferred being on top in the doggy-style position, females most preferred being on the bottom in both the missionary and doggy-style positions. Might females be a little less apt to expend physical effort under the sheets, or is it the males who refuse to relinquish dominance?

Favourite Sex Position in US and UK | ZAVA Infographic

While America may be home to the Wild West and the birthplace of the cowboy, Europeans have them beat in their affinity for the “cowgirl” position. Europeans prefer the missionary and cowgirl positions at 29.4 and 27.7 percent respectively. Americans, on the other hand, lean toward doggy-style at 30.3 percent, with missionary following in second place at 28.1 percent. The least-preferred position, once again, is the “held-up” position. For the most part, it looks like both geographical regions like to keep things fairly simple in the bedroom.

Sexual Preferences and Similarities

Despite geographical, cultural, and gender differences, Europeans and Americans do share similarities in their various sex lives.

Condoms are the most-preferred contraceptive method for all but European females, who prefer the pill. For favourite fetishes, most males replied either “none” or “other,” while the females agreed on role-play.

All groups prefer to have sex in a bed except for European males, who would rather do it on the beach; however, the majority of respondents lost their virginity in a house.

Most males rated their erections a “4” on a 1–5 scale of hardness, and they agreed that they’re “growers” rather than “show-ers.” And for their favourite body part on themselves, men chose penis, while American women leaned toward their heads/faces and European women showed a proclivity toward their stomachs.

Not only are American males most likely to pull out — at 22.7 percent — but they also claim to have the hardest average erection; 49.8 percent report a “4” on a hardness scale of 1–5. European males, on the other hand, most report wanting to have sex at the beach at 19.5 percent. They’re also most likely to be “show-ers,” with 33.3 percent of respondents identifying with the "shower" graphic.

What Is Your Favourite Contraceptive?

Condoms are the favourite contraceptive method for the majority of respondents overall and especially men. 40.8 percent of European women would rather rely on the birth control pill, while American women are torn between the condom and the pill at 27 and 25 percent respectively. Perhaps men prefer condoms while women prefer the pill because each form of contraceptive gives that particular gender a sense of control and reassurance in their sexual pursuits.

At 22.7 percent, American males are the most likely to prefer pulling out which is in no way a legitimate form of contraception. It’s estimated to have a 27 percent failure rate annually among typical users, which means that every year, over 1 in 4 people using it as their only method of birth control will become pregnant. In addition, pulling out does not protect against the spread of STD’s. There are many forms of contraception that are far more effective in both birth control and STD prevention.

Besides this pulling out consideration, the above graphic also reveals that American females are more likely to favour an IUD or injection than European females. Overall, Americans are more varied in their contraceptive preferences, while Europeans mostly stick to the Contraceptive Pill or the Condom.


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Your Questions About Sex Answered

While this mouse tracking simulation answers some questions about sexual habits and practices, sex and sexual topics in many different ways, from the mundane to the explicit, the moral to the educational. But when you have questions about sexual health, you deserve straightforward and reliable answers. At, we offer trustworthy advice from reliable experts on a variety of sexual issues, ranging from erectile dysfunction to sexually transmitted diseases and much more. If you’re seeking help with sexual issues, contact to get the assistance you need — at any time.

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