Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Erotic diversity rising in Britain

But frequency of sex on wane, researchers find

  • Print

LONDON -- When it comes to the bedroom, the British may be getting less busy but more creative. According to results from the latest national sex survey, Britons are having sex less often, but the kinds of sex they're having are more diverse than in the past.

Scientists also found the sex habits of British women are changing faster than those of men, with a fourfold jump -- from four per cent to 16 per cent -- in the proportion of women who had a same-sex experience since the first survey was done in 1990. In comparison, the number of men who reported a same-sex experience has remained virtually unchanged since 1990 at about seven per cent.

On average, the number of sexual partners reported by women has doubled, from four to eight, whereas the number for men rose from nine to 12. The research also found an increasing sexual repertoire among both genders, with higher levels of anal and oral sex reported.

"It reflects a shift away from sex being seen purely in the context of reproduction toward a greater emphasis on pleasure and recreation," said Kaye Wellings, head of social and environmental health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the leaders of the research. She said similar results about changes in women's sex lives have been found in France.

The study found half of Britons reported having sex at least three times in the last month versus five times when the first survey was done in 1990. Wellings noted the drop occurred at the same time as major changes in the use of technology and the financial crisis, which could interfere with a regular sex life.

"People are taking their iPhones and iPads into bed," she said. "They're also working harder and maybe have less time for sex."

Researchers found half of Britons lost their virginity by the time they were 17, about the same as 20 years ago. The study found people under 25 are at greatest risk of sexually transmitted infections and being forced or coerced into sex.

The series of six papers was published online Tuesday in the journal Lancet. Researchers interviewed more than 15,000 people ages 16 to 74 between 2010 and 2012, using in-person interviewers and a computer-assisted part for sensitive questions. No names of participants or other identifying details were shared. The studies were funded mostly by U.K. government groups and the Wellcome Trust.

Other scientists said the findings supported previous research that found sexual orientation for women tends to be more fluid than for men.

"Women are more changeable in relation to social norms than men," said Cynthia Graham, a sex researcher at the University of Southampton, who was not involved in the study. "Orientation isn't just gay, straight or bisexual," she said. "The boundaries are getting fuzzier."

Debra Lynne Herbenick, who led a survey on American sexual habits at Indiana University in 2009, said the U.K. findings were comparable with evolving attitudes in the U.S. "There's been a relaxation of constraints on sexual expression," Herbenick said. "People are now more free to explore their sexual interests," she said.

Still, she said she doubted current trends on increasing rates for certain kinds of sex would continue to increase indefinitely.

"Not everybody is going to want to do certain things, like have sex with somebody of the same sex," Herbenick said. "So there will be limits in terms of people's attractions."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 26, 2013 C11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Perry Bellegarde elected as national chief of Assembly of First Nations

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Winnipeg’s best friend the dragon fly takes a break at English Gardens in Assiniboine Park Wednesday- A dragon fly can eat  food equal to its own weight in 30 minutes-Standup photo- June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you watch The Interview?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google