Quantity and qualityHow would you define your sexuality?
Don’t know: 1%
At what age did you lose your virginity?
Under 12 1%
Never had sex 3%
Men tend to lose their virginity before women, although the difference is not great (average age 16 and 17 respectively). Britons are losing their virginity younger than in the past: for over-55s the average age was 19; within the 25-34 group it was 16; and among 16-24s, 15. Londoners lose their virginity later than those living in any other area (18). In total, 32% of Britons lost their virginity before the legal age of consent of 16.
How many sexual partners have you had?
The average Briton has had 10 sexual partners. There is a distinct gender split with the average among men almost double that of women (13 and 7 respectively). The 35-44 age group is the most promiscuous (average of 13) while over-65s have had the least number of sexual partners (average of 5). People in Wales are the most promiscuous (13) while those in Yorkshire and Humberside have the fewest sexual partners (6). Only 23% of Britons have had more than 10 sexual partners (32% of men and 15% of women).
Are you currently in a stable relationship?
If yes, how long have you been in your current relationship?
Less than 6 months 6%
6 months-1 year 6%
1-2 years 8%
2-3 years 8%
3-5 years 10%
5-10 years 17%
10-15 years 11%
15-20 years 8%
20-30 years 11%
More than 30 years 15%
66% of UK adults are currently in a stable relationship. Even within the youngest age group (16-24) 49% are in a stable relationship. The average length of relationships is just under 13 years. Unsurprisingly, there is a correlation between age and length of relationship,but even among the relatively young (25-34) the average time in their current relationship is 5.3 years.
How many times a month do you have sex?
The average Briton has sex eight times a month, although this figure does include the 23% of Britons who do not have any sex in an average month.
Are you happy with your sex life?
Despite having sex less frequently, married Britons are happier with their sex lives than singles (84% and 64% respectively). Among those in a stable relationship, 85% are happy with their sex life.
How would you rate your sex drive?
Very high (5) 22%
Very low (1) 9%
Mean rating of sex drive: 3.44
How would you rate your performance?
Very good lover (5) 23%
Very poor lover (1) 1%
Mean rating of performance: 3.72
And the performance of your most recent partner?
Very good lover (5) 31%
Very poor lover (1) 4%
Mean rating of recent partner: 3.76
Those aged 16-24 have the greatest sex drive (30% are ‘very high’) while each successive age group has a lower sex drive. Among over-65s only 9% have a ‘very high’ sex drive. Interestingly, singles are almost twice as likely to have a ‘very high’ sex drive as married people (31% and 16% respectively) suggesting familiarity breeds boredom and, eventually, lack of interest.
Britons consider themselves good lovers. A mere 1% consider themselves ‘very poor’. It may be youthful bravado or sheer exuberance but the age group most likely to consider themselves ‘very good’ lovers are 16-24 (30%). Single Britons are more likely to consider themselves good lovers than their married counterparts: 30% of singles consider themselves ‘very good’ lovers compared to 17% of married people (those who are married are likely to consider themselves ‘average’ – 47%).
Levels of sexual satisfaction seem fairly high, with 58% rating their most recent sexual partner as either a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ lover (27% and 31% respectively). Perhaps surprisingly, women are more likely to be satisfied with the performance of their most recent lover than men: 63% of women rated performance as ‘good’ compared to 54% of men.
Are you happy with the size of your penis?
Almost 1 in 4 men (23%) is unhappy with the size of his penis. Men aged 35-44 are most likely to worry about penis size (29%) but such concerns do not diminish with age as 26% of over-65s are also unhappy.
Have you ever used sex aids (such as sex toys)?
Britons aged 25-34 are most likely to have used sex aids (54%), but there is a distinct drop off among the over-45s group. However, there is little gender difference.
Have you ever been unfaithful to your current partner?
Which of the following best describes how frequently you have been unfaithful? (asked of those who have been unfaithful)
Only once 33%
Men are more likely to have been unfaithful than women (22% and 13% respectively). Londoners are the least likely to cheat (7%) while the Scottish are most likely to be unfaithful (34%).
The majority of those who have been unfaithful to their current partner have cheated on more than one occasion. Only 33% of those who have been unfaithful to their partner say infidelity occurred ‘only once’. Women are more likely to have strayed on just one occasion – 40% of women who have been unfaithful say it has only happened once compared to 29% of men.
Have you ever been unfaithful with a friend of your partner or someone known to your partner? (asked of those who have been unfaithful)
Proving that the source of trouble is often close to home, 45% of those who have cheated have been unfaithful with someone who is either a friend of their partner or known to their partner. There is little difference between the genders in this respect with 47% of men and 41% of women cheating with someone who is known to their partner.
To the best of your knowledge, has your current partner ever been unfaithful to you?
Don’t know 13%
11% of people in a stable relationship believe their current partner has cheated on them while a further 13% are unsure. Suggesting that we tend to judge others by our own standards of behaviour, 25% of those who have been unfaithful themselves also believe their partner has been unfaithful. 26% are unsure.
Have you ever had a one-night stand?
Have you ever slept with someone whose name you did not know?
63% of men and 39% of women have had one-night stands. Those living in the North are most likely to have done so (64%). 35% of men and only 8% of women have slept with someone whose name they did not know. The age group most likely to have done this is 25-34 (33%).
Do you believe monogamy is natural?
Do you believe monogamy is desirable?
Britons believe in monogamy, though among those who have cheated on their current partner, only 32% believe monogamy is natural and 52% believe monogamy is desirable. Once again there is a distinct gender split with 68% of men and 80% of women viewing monogamy as natural. However, the gender gap is less pronounced in terms of viewing monogamy as desirable (79% of men and 86% of women). Older Britons are significantly more likely to consider monogamy both natural and desirable: 84% of over-65s consider monogamy natural and 91% consider it desirable.
Of the different components of a marriage/relationship, which of the following do you think most important?
Britons are overwhelmingly of the opinion that the most important aspect of a successful relationship is trust. Sex was considered the third most important aspect but was selected by only 7%. However, men are more than twice as likely as women to consider it the most important aspect of a relationship, and age makes a significant difference. As people get older, they are less likely to consider sex important. Singles are also more than twice as likely to consider sex the most important aspect of a relationship (12% and 5% respectively).
Is it possible to maintain a happy marriage/relationship without sex?
It appears fair to suggest that many of those holding this view have had personal experience of a sexless relationship. Women are more likely to believe a happy relationship can be maintained without sex (55% compared to 42%). 55% of married Britons believe sex is not necessary to maintain a happy relationship while only 35% of singles concur.
Do you have any close friends of the opposite sex?
Younger Britons are more likely to have close friends of the opposite sex, and men are slightly more likely to have close female friends than vice versa (81% and 73% respectively).
Are you sexually attracted to your close friends of the opposite sex? (asked of all who answered yes to the above)
Yes, all of them 2%
Yes, some of them 48%
Men are more likely than women to be sexually attracted to friends of the opposite sex: 65% are attracted to at least some of their female friends while the same is true of only 35% of women in relation to male friends.
Have you ever had sex with a work colleague?
Have you ever had sex in your place of work?
Yes, with a work colleague 15%
Yes, with someone who didn’t work there 5%
Would you ever sleep with someone to further your career?
Men are more likely than women to have had sex with their work colleagues (39% and 23% respectively) and are almost three times as likely to have had sex in their place of work (28% and 10% respectively).
Considering the large proportion who would consider having sex for money it comes as no surprise that 18% of Britons would sleep with someone if they felt it would enhance their career prospects. Men are significantly more likely to make this ‘sacrifice’ for the sake of their career (31% against 7%). While singles are almost three times as likely to use sex to enhance their career prospects, 10% of married Britons would do the same. It is the young and ambitious, as opposed to the middle-aged and settled who are more prepared to sleep their way to the top. Almost 1 in 3 of the 16-24 age group (31%) would have sex to further their career. 33% of those who have previously slept with a work colleague would have sex to further their career, raising the suspicion that there may have been an ulterior motive to some of their previous exploits.
Paying for it
Have you ever visited a prostitute?
Would you ever consider paying for sex? (asked of those who said no to the above)
Would you consider having sex for money if the amount offered was large enough? (asked of everybody)
Yes, definitely 22%
Yes, would consider it 19%
Should prostitution be legalised?
15% of all men have visited a prostitute; the same is true of 1% of women. The use of prostitutes is not limited to the single and lonely as 6% of married Britons have visited one. The 35-44 age group is most likely to have visited a prostitute (10%). Londoners are most likely to have visited a prostitute (13%).
Among Britons who have not previously visited a prostitute, 7% would consider doing so: 15% of men who have not visited a prostitute would consider it in the future, meaning that 30% of all British men have either previously visited a prostitute or would consider doing so.
In terms of selling sex, men are more than twice as likely as women to sell their sexual services – 37% of men would sell their services and another 20% would consider it. In comparison, only 8% of women would sell their bodies for a sufficiently large sum and a further 18% would consider it.
A significant majority favour legalisation of prostitution. While men are more likely to favour legalisation (70%) a majority of women (53%) are also in favour. The youngest and the oldest are the only two age groups which are more likely to oppose legalisation: 54% of the 16-24 age group and 51% of the 65+ age group oppose legalisation.
Have you ever had sexual contact with someone of the same sex?
Should gay sex be made illegal?
Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Should same-sex couples be allowed to adopt children?
Should the age of consent for homosexual sex be the same as for heterosexual sex?
While only 6% classify themselves as either homosexual or bisexual, 11% say they have had sexual contact with someone of the same gender.
The other answers reveal quite polarised views. Despite the gradual absorption of gay culture into the mainstream there remains a significant minority of Britons vehemently opposed to homosexuality. Almost 1 in 4 (23%) believe gay sex should be made illegal. What is startling about this is the support the suggestion generates across the age spectrum. While over-65s are most likely to support criminalisation of gay sex (40%), a significant proportion of the 16-24 age group concur (27%). Men are more than twice as likely as women to support this (32% and 14%). And yet a majority of Britons (58%) believe the age of consent for homosexual sex should be lowered to the same as it is for heterosexual sex.
Half of us believe same-sex couples should be able to marry, and 41% feel they should be allowed to adopt children. In respect to all these questions women are significantly more liberal. Social class is also a determinant of opinion to some extent with ABC1 adults generally more likely than C2DE to espouse liberalism.
What form of contraception do you use?
None, leave it to my partner 32%
The pill 21%
Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease
Have you ever had an HIV test?
How worried are you about sexually transmitted diseases in general?
Not particularly 22%
Not at all 26%
Men are more than twice as likely as women to have had an STD (13% and 6% respectively) – probably a re¤ection of the greater average number of sexual partners for men.
Men are also more likely to have had an HIV test (16% and 10% respectively). In terms of age, the 25-44 age group is most likely to have had an STD (12%) while the 25-34 group is most likely to have been tested for HIV.
While there is a clear correlation between levels of sexual activity and fear of disease there is still a signiÞcant minority of sexually active Britons who feel invulnerable to the threat of disease.
Encouragingly (as it suggests they will take the necessary steps to avoid infection) it is the youngest age group (16-24) which is most concerned about STDs (69% are either ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ concerned).
Which of the following statements is closest to your views about HIV and Aids in this country?
Only homosexuals and intravenous drug-users are at risk from HIV 5%
HIV presented a huge risk in the past but is now under control 7%
Everyone is at risk from HIV if they do not take precautions 88%
Despite fears that complacency is creeping in regarding the threat of HIV and Aids, the vast majority of Britons (89%) acknowledge that everyone is at risk from infection if they do not take the necessary precautions.
Should the Government spend more on education and information about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases?
Do you always practise safe sex with a new partner?
Although 89% of us acknowledge that everyone is at risk from HIV and Aids, 30% say that they do not practise safe sex with new partners as a matter of course. Men are almost twice as likely as women to admit that they have unprotected sex with new partners (38% and 21% respectively). 16-24 year olds are least likely to have unprotected sex with new partners (21%) while over-55s are the least likely to take necessary precautions.
Worryingly, 42% of those who have contracted an STD in the past fail to practise safe sex with new partners while the same is true of 31% who have been tested for HIV.
Are children in school given…
Too much information about sex 13%
Too little information about sex 49%
About the right amount of information about sex 38%
Those most likely to hold the view that schoolchildren are given insufÞcient information are those who have had the most recent personal experience of sex education: 65% of the 16-24 age group believe children should be taught more.
Each successive age group is then more likely to think children are given too much sex education at school.
A sample of 1027 UK adults were interviewed by ICM Research in August 2002. Participants completed a confidential questionnnaire, placed in a sealed envelope. Innterviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.