Devout, married Catholics have the best sex of any demographic group, the Family Research Council said at an event Wednesday, pointing to a collection of studies from the last several decades.
The socially conservative Christian group relied heavily on statistics from the University of Chicago's last National Health and Social Life Survey, conducted in 1992, which found the most enjoyable and most frequent sex occurring among married people, those who attended church weekly – any church, whether Catholic or not – and people who had the least sexual partners.
"Those who worship God weekly have the best sex," said Patrick Fagan, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and a former George H.W. Bush official, in a talk hosted with the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education Wednesday. "I want to see this on the cover of Playboy sometime."
Fagan said the group was working on gathering more recent data on sexual enjoyment, but that the existing statistics spoke for themselves, and specifically as they relate to Catholics.
One audience member questioned Fagan on the "danger" of selling the idea that Catholics were guaranteed better sex if they waited for marriage. But Fagan said it was clear "those who are monogamous have the best sex they ever could – because its the only sex they'll ever know."
The notion that Catholics have better sex isn't a new one, especially coming from Catholics. In 1994, Andrew Greeley, a Catholic sociologist and priest, published "Sex: The Catholic Experience," which released a litany of new statistics: 68 percent of Catholics professed to have sex at least once a week versus 56 percent of non-Catholics; 30 percent of Catholics had bought erotic underwear versus 20 percent non-Catholics; and 80 percent of devout Catholic women approved of having sex for pleasure alone.
In 2008, Gregory K. Popcak, a Catholic pastoral marriage and family counselor, released a book with a similar theme, called "Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving."
But the Family Research Council, which promotes traditional family values, also cautioned Wednesday of the possible negative effects of enjoying sex outside of marriage, or of watching porn. Among the effects: poverty, domestic abuse, crime, drug addiction and loss of a job, according to the group.
Responding to a much-talked about New York Times piece this week on the hookup culture at the University of Pennsylvania, Fagan said pornography was helping to "feed a culture that was distorting matters sexual."
"What we have here is a pagan sexuality," he said, decrying the growing presence of pornography in dorms and among married couples. "Homosexuality, infidelity, euthanasia, infanticide – these were all common sexual practices of pagan Rome. Christians were for being very different, for being monogamous, faithful."
Fagan told Christians in attendance that they "have to claim a place that's very different in sexuality – and that by the way is very superior, even in matters sexual."