First-Ever Fly Fishing Sex Survey

Fly Fishing Sex Survey

William Master, dry fly expert?  Virginia Johnson, swinger?  Washington University Libraries photo

In the first study of its kind, the Federal Institute of Human Sexuality and Sexual Health (FIHSSH) surveyed 2 million American fly fishers about their sex lives, in a search for data about the potential impact of fly fishing on human sexual behavior.

Research scientists at FIHSSH carried out the “The American Fly-Fishing Omnibus Sex Survey” over four years, from 2008 to 2012, and released both the test results and their final report to the public yesterday in a press conference in Washington, DC.

Both the survey and report contained some surprises—indicating that some fly fishers are wildly sexual as related to their fishing, others not—and the results might trigger further research.

In analyzing the survey results, the FIHSSH researchers determined six definable study groups: Dry-fly trout, general trout, bass & sunfish, salmon, pike, and inshore saltwater.

Nationwide, more fly-fishing hours are spent angling for trout, but the dry-fly group and general trout ranked sixth and fifth respectively in overall sexual satisfaction and frequency.

“With the two trout groups, we’ve never seen before any study group whose sex life is so closely tied to stream flow and insect health,” said Dr. Sebastian Dangerfield, one of the survey report authors, during the press conference. “Hardcore dry-fly fishers also often wish their partner would embrace, or at least accept, a fetish for tweed.”

People who cast flies for pike turn out to be both the most sexually satisfied and most frequently engaged in sex.

“It’s clearly something about the sexy dangerousness of pike that make this group stand out,” said Dr. Candice Christian, chief author of the survey report. “The twisting and turning, the vicious slashing and leaping of this species is symbolic of the sexual energy of the fly fishers who pursue it.”

The written survey, often conducted streamside, asked four basic questions and did not select for gender or sexual preference: 1. How satisfied are you with your sex life? 2. How often do you engage in sexual activity with a partner? 3. What would you change about your sex life? 4. What is your main fly-fishing endeavor?

Question 1 was based on a 1 to 6 scale, with 6 being “mega-satisfied.” Question 2, frequency of sex, offered four possible brackets: Daily, several times a week, multiple times a month, and “seasonally.”

Saltwater fly fishers were found to have the second highest level of sexual satisfaction, rating a 5 of 6 on question 1, with sexual frequency matching that of pike anglers. Boats play a most prominent sexual role with saltwater fly fishers, who in their answer to question 3 most often reported a desire for sex aboard a Maverick Mirage.

Salmon anglers came in a close third, also rating a 5 on question 1, and showing weekly sexual frequency between early fall and late spring.

“Salmon anglers sex rates drop dramatically as soon as soon as you see the first chromers in the river mouths,” said Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the third author of the survey report. “But salmon fisher sex frequency will spike sharply during the season after an angler nets a big fish. The salmon crowd appears to be the most sexually celebratory about a good catch.”

A fly box full of bass bugs is indicative of a slower-paced sex life, with bass fly fishers scoring a 3 in sexual satisfaction, and indicating monthly sex frequency, on average.

“We have a theory about that,” Dr. Dangerfield says. “Hot weather. You’ve got people fly fishing for bass across the South, and it’s just too humid to get it on, you know?”

Both Drs. Dangerfield and Christian, however, are keen to look deeper into the smallmouth crowd. “I think smallmouth anglers could be more sexually excitable than the largemouth crowd, but we need more data,” Dr. Christian said. “We didn’t collect enough data in Maine. Nobody on the Kennebec wanted to talk about sex.”

The fly-fishing sex researchers at FIHSSH believe that further data collection could help develop species-specific results.

“We want to know about tarpon and sailfish,” Dr. Serizawa said. “Does fly fishing for these species raise human sexual response?”

If you think such studies are utterly frivolous, consider that the American Council of Mercantilism helped fund this research.

“Sexual-behavior data is crucial for marketing,” Dr. Serizawa said at the press conference. “If you know that your target angling audience celebrates sexually mostly in the summer months—I’m talking salmon here—then maybe you introduce a new fast-action rod in the late spring, and there’s a tequila or lite-beer tie-in. There are many possibilities.”