Britons Having Sex At Younger Ages, Staying Active Into Their 70s
November 26, 2013

Britons Having Sex At Younger Ages, Staying Active Into Their 70s

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Results from a newly released UK national survey on sexual attitudes has found Britons are becoming sexually active earlier than before and staying active into their 70s.

Published in the journal The Lancet, the survey results also showed both men and women are having sex less often than in the past.

"People are working very, very hard, they are very busy," Kaye Wellings, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggested to Reuters regarding the drop off in average sexual frequency.

The results were published across six papers in The Lancet and one of these papers revealed one in 10 women and one in 70 men reported being forced to have sex against their will at least once since their teenage years.

"We need to start thinking about sex differently - sexual health is not merely the absence of disease, but the ability to have pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free from coercion," said Wellings, a study co-author who presented the findings at a briefing in London.

The study team said improving the quality of people's sex lives and relationships is necessary for improving the larger public health.

"Men and women who enjoy an active sex life are fitter, have lower rates of depressive symptoms and improved cardiovascular health as compared to those who do not," the researchers wrote in a commentary published alongside the survey results.

The studies considered data from the recent third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, which included more than 15,000 people between the ages 16 and 74, as well as similar surveys conducted in 1990 and 2000.

The researchers found an increase from 4 percent to 16 percent from 1990 to the most recent study for the percentage of women who reported having a same-sex experience. The team noted the increase appeared to coincide with more tolerance in general in regards to same-sex relationships.

The researchers said the survey results suggested the average Briton is progressing with the times in term of sexual attitudes, reflecting a general separation of sexual activity from being functionally for reproduction.

“People are more willing to tell us about their sexual behavior than their income,” Wellings told Allison Connolly of Bloomberg News.

“We may not be having the quantity or type of sex we see in films or porn, but what’s refreshing is that nine out of 10 in the population aren’t worried about their sex life,” added Nigel Field, an academic clinical lecturer at the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research.

Genevieve Edwards, from the sexual health non-profit Marie Stopes International, told the BBC's Nick Triggle that the study has wider implications for British society.

"A key insight from the survey is that people are having sex earlier and having children later, which means that, on average, women in Britain spend about 30 years of their life needing to avert an unplanned pregnancy, yet many are not being informed about or offered the full range of services,” Edwards said. "Long-acting contraceptives, for example, can be extremely effective and convenient but too many are never offered the choice."