Single mothers and fathers of the world, guess what? You're getting just as much action as those single suckers who don't have kids.
That's the surprising conclusion from a study published last month in the Journal of Sex Research, which found no real differences in sex lives and dating behaviors of single parents of young children, compared to single people with no children (h/t to New York Magazine). There also wasn't much of a difference between singles with young children (5 and under) and singles with older children.
The findings come from the 2012 Singles in America survey. A nationally representative group of 5,481 single men and women answered questions about how often they had sexual thoughts, how often they had sex and how many sexual partners they've had in the past year and how many people they dated in the past three months.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas associate professor Peter Gray, a study author, said he was surprised by what researchers found.
"If anything, single parents of younger children were slightly more likely to have had sex recently than single parents of older children," Gray said.
This all runs counter to the notion that having a baby means the end of your sex life. "Anyone who's had kids in a recent time frame is not surprised that kids can impact your sexuality," Gray said.
Being a new parent can be exhausting. Dating? That takes effort. Being a new parent is more physically demanding on a woman; breast-feeding, for instance, has an energetic impact on women. "One could say if a woman had a baby two months ago and is nursing, is she really designed to have sex at that moment?" Gray said.
But there seems to be another force resulting in single parents of young kids having just as much sex as their non-parent counterparts. Researchers don't know what's at play, but they put forward a couple of ideas. Perhaps single parents of young kids feel a strong motivation to get out there and find a mate "for support, for another partner who might help with investing in the child," Gray said.
The sample also surprised researchers for another reason: Statistically, there should have been more single parents with kids younger than 5. But such parents were under-represented in the sample, and perhaps this means some parents hold off on splitting up until kids are slightly older, Gray said.
But sorry single folks, don't get too excited: Previous surveys have shown that partnered people still have more sex than you, Gray said.