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Could there be a more universally fascinating topic than sex? Are you having too much? Not enough? With the right person? Did you start early, or late? Are you normal? Every day, it seems, surveys are released promising new insights into our sex lives.
But what can we really believe? Scroll down for video. Research proves that over the past three decades the average adult in Britain has gone from having sex five times a month to just three. After all, our sexual behaviour has a profound effect, not only on our own lives but how society is shaped, too. Read on to find out.
How often does the average Briton make love — once a week, twice a week? The answer, according to the respected National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, is three times a month for those 16 to year-olds who are heterosexually active.
This compares with five times a month inand four times a month in If the trend continues, you could, rather naively, predict that by the average person will not be having any sex at all. In particular, consider the 25 to year-old age group.
The average 25 to year-old man or woman also makes love just three times a month, while one in four have not had sex in the past four weeks. What will probably shock many of those young people is how much sex the older generation is having. Do you assume that everyone else out there is enjoying marathon love-making sessions? Researchers in Montreal instructed 21 volunteer couples to have sex once a week for a month. The only condition was they had to wear an armband during sex that measured their energy expenditure. The team found that the sessions lasted 25 minutes on average, with men burning calories and women 69 calories.
To put it into context, 85 calories is about what you get in a small glass of wine, a chocolate biscuit or a bag of cheesy Wotsits, so the average session is hardly athletic. A quarter were having sex at least four times a month — yes, more than the average 25 to year-old. Meanwhile, even those over 65 still enjoy sexually active lives. While the UK survey only goes up to 74, a U. They found 17 per cent of women and 39 per cent of men in this age group had been sexually active in the year, with around three-quarters of the activity involving penetrative sex.
So why is there less sex going on? One explanation is that more people are living on their own — the proportion of people living in one-person households almost doubled from to and now s for around a third.
This has squeezed out time we would have spent with our other halves. And the pressures of modern life do not just involve electronics, either. Undoubtedly was a time of recession and anxiety about employment, which is a big turn-off when it comes to sex. The sandwich generation simply have no energy left at the end of the day for passion. When it comes to helping us live longer, the answers are less clear. More sex is associated with better health, but does good health lead to more sex or vice versa?
A study of men there have been no studies of how regular sex influences life expectancy for women in Caerphilly, South Wales, compared those who reported having sex less than monthly; monthly to weekly; or twice a week or more. As a source of exercise, sex has been found to be half as effective as 30 minutes on a treadmill, although the participants of this survey with one intriguing exception rated it as considerably more enjoyable. In essence, sex will help you live longer in the same way regular mild exercise will help you live longer. We may be having less sex, but has that stopped us thinking about it so much?
Despite extensive research, I can find no origin for that statistic. Slightly more reliable figures come from surveys such as the U. Food was just as fascinating a subject as sex for men — on average they thought about it 18 times a day, while women thought about food 15 times. Another study got people to record every sexual thought they had: the psychology students carried golf clickers for a week, recording when they thought about sex, food and sleep.
Men estimated in advance that they thought about sex five times a day, whereas the average man actually clicked 19 times a day. Meanwhile, women predicted they thought about making love three times a day, but actually clicked ten times on average. In the meantime, food was just as fascinating a subject as sex for men — on average they thought about it 18 times a day, while women thought about food 15 times a day. These chemicals subside over time, and as relationships become more established, more time-consuming distractions occupy our thoughts. The average 16 to year-old couple who had been together less than two years said they had sex seven times in the past month, while for those who had been together for five years, that figure was nearly halved.
When we first fall in love, testosterone levels in both men and women surge, making them more interested in sex. In addition, dopamine — the hormone that controls the part of the brain that makes you crave your partner — is also higher than usual. These chemicals subside over time, and as relationships become more established, more time-consuming distractions outside the bedroom — from running a home together to caring for children — occupy our thoughts. Case study: Syirin Said 37 and Lee Gaze have sex three times a month as they juggle their busy lives. Syirin Said, 37, is a marketing executive in the financial sector and lives in Hackney, East London, with husband Lee Gaze, 39, who runs their coffee shop.
The couple have sons Daniyal, six, and Zachy, five. I believe men naturally think about sex anyway, but women need to be able to put other things such as work, children and chores out of their minds first.
Now, life is a dizzying whirl of school runs, career and homework. My evenings are spent doing domestic and work-related paperwork. My day starts when I get up at 6. I then meet Lee at our shop and help him set up for the day. Last night, it was Where would I find the time or energy for more sex? Before we had children we probably averaged sex a couple of times a week. My sex drive seems to have rocketed again in the past two years and it drives me mad. Aside from having children and demanding careers, I do believe technology eats up time that Syirin and I have together.
She uses the internet far more than I do for work in an evening. Syirin often reminds me of people she knows who only have sex every couple of months, but surely couples must want to have sex? It makes me think that three times is an achievement for us. Alfred Kinsey was perhaps the most famous sex researcher ever. InU. At the time, her study was shocking for the intimacies it detailed. In it she revealed that of married women, 81 per cent reported having sex at least once a week, and 9 per cent at least once a day.
His work at his Institute for Sex Research — though the subject of criticism because he sought out interesting groups to study rather than interviewing random samples of the population — has been credited with paving the way for modern sexology. He was fascinated by love- making positions through history. Did you know, for example, that the most common depictions of sex in ancient Greek and Roman times show the woman on top? But fashions have changed. According to a Cosmopolitan magazine survey, 61 per cent of women preferred the missionary position.
The finding was backed up by a Nineties survey of American university students, which showed that women prefer men on top, while men prefer women on top — s that are good enough to show a clear difference of opinion between the genders. They also feel more self-conscious about their bodies if they are on top.
Fifty Shades Of Grey may have us thinking that everyone is indulging, but official UK sex surveys have so far steered clear of asking about sexual practices such as bondage and sado-masochism BDSM. But are people who fill in these online surveys representative of the general population? A more reputable Australian survey concluded that 2. And it does seem that bondage and sado-masochism are becoming more popular.
Meanwhile, whether you practise oral sex is almost entirely down to your age. According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, around 80 per cent of 25 to year-olds said they had given or received oral sex in the past year, compared with less than half of people around We can work out the level of activity on the basis that of Put a different way, it works out at about 2. But what does sexual peak actually mean?
For Kinsey it was purely the of orgasms men and women experienced, by any means. He concluded that men peaked between the ages of 16 and 20, at just over two orgasms a week. For women he found no clear peak, running at an average of around one a fortnight between 16 and But his data were unreliable. When later investigated by statisticians, his assertions were not backed up when it came to men. In fact, male sexual activity continues at an almost constant rate until It tends to decline after around 30 for a mix of reasons — the state of relationships, age, familiarity and ill-health.
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