British couples are having less sex than a decade ago, people have become more disapproving of extramarital affairs and women are getting more into trying out sex with other women. So says the latest Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviour, published in the Lancet this week.
But women aren’t just getting more adventurous with the types of sex they indulge in, they’re doing it with a wider variety of partners. Women aged 16 – 44 reported an average of around 8 lifetime sexual partners which is nearly double the number reported 20 years ago, while the number for men hasn’t changed a lot and has even gone down in the last decade, now standing at 12.
So this is when we all start making a mental tally of our encounters from way back, to see where we rank in the bed-post notch count. It’s well known that while men tend to exaggerate their number of conquests, women are more likely to downplay the variety of their sexual experience. But Cath Mercer of University College London, one of the report authors, says that the survey methods this time round were designed to control for willingness to report and they’re pretty confident that these increases in sexual behaviours are real.
So why are women having sex with more men?