It’s often seen as a taboo subject, but a new study is finally lifting the lid on Britons’ sex lives.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia surveyed more than 5,000 Brits to decipher what the average men and women’s sex lives looks like.
And there’s good news if you haven’t been getting much action – you’re not alone.
The results reveal that most Britons have either had zero or one sexual partner in the preceding three weeks.
Dr Julii Brainard, who led the study from the University of East Anglia, said: ‘Often people assume everyone else is having lots of sex, but surveys like this show the real story is a lot more complicated.’
Between the sheets: It’s often seen as a taboo subject, but a new study is finally lifting the lid on Britons’ sex lives. This graph illustrates the percentage of people who have had sex recently
Researchers from the University of East Anglia surveyed more than 5,000 Brits to decipher what the average men and women’s sex lives looks like (stock image)
|Percentages are how many have had sex in the last three weeks|
In the study, the researchers surveyed more than 5,000 people in Britain last year, asking if they had had sex in the previous three weeks.
Just 31 per cent of heterosexual women aged 45 to 49 said they had zero sexual partners in the past three weeks.
But that jumped to 47 per cent of women aged 50 to 54.
Among women in their early sixties, two-thirds had gone without sex for at least three weeks.
The figures will include women not having regular sex with their husband or partner, and those who are single – perhaps following a midlife divorce.
In contrast, among heterosexual men, the number reporting no sex in the previous three weeks did not rise dramatically with age.
Dr Brainard said: ‘These results could be viewed as good news for older women who are having less sex than when they were younger, as they can know they are normal.’
Just 31 per cent of heterosexual women aged 45 to 49 said they had zero sexual partners in the past three weeks. But that jumped to 47 per cent of women aged 50 to 54 (stock image)
The findings come from a snapshot study seeking to understand the risk of infection from mpox, previously known as monkeypox, and looking at gay and bisexual men, heterosexual men and heterosexual women.
The authors conclude that everyone is less likely to have regular sex as they get older – but this shift happens at a younger age, and more dramatically, in heterosexual women.
Only about a quarter of women surveyed who were in their late twenties and early thirties had not had sex with any partner in the last three weeks.
This rose to about 37 per cent for those in their late thirties and early forties, and then stood at 31 per cent for those in their late forties.
But then came the jump to 47 per cent of women in their early fifties not having had recent sex, and 52 per cent of those in their late fifties.
By the time women hit their sixties, around two-thirds had not had sex in the previous three weeks, and in their seventies, more than three-quarters said they had not.
For heterosexual men, only about half said they had not had recent sex, with this percentage staying about the same for every age group from late forties to 75-plus.
Men may avoid a middle-aged sex slump by having partners younger than them, who are still more interested in sex.
But it may also be the case that male pride means men are less likely to admit or remember not having had sex in the past three weeks, while women are more likely to under-report the sex they are having.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, interestingly found very few British heterosexual people have had two or more different partners in the past three weeks.
Having multiple recent sexual partners was most common in 18 to 24-year-olds, and reported by about 14 per cent of this age group.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SONGS PEOPLE LISTEN TO DURING SEX?
According to Spotify some of the top sex songs this year are:
- Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey) by The Weeknd
- Birthday Sex by Jeremih
- Often by The Weeknd
- All The Time by Jeremih, Lil Wayne, Natasha Mosley
- Pony by Ginuwine
- Ride by SoMo
- Sex With Me by Rihanna
- Slow Motion by Trey Songz
- Or Nah (feat. The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and DJ Mustard) – Remix by Ty Dolla $ign
- The Hills by The Weeknd
A new app called Bed Beats lets couples personalize their sex playlists based on their movements during sex