What IS normal in sex?
How much you can really learn from putting numbers on something as complex and complicated as sexual behaviour is debatable. But that doesn’t stop us wanting to do it!
As a point of interest and for broad comparison, sex research stats are definitely worth a browse.
I’ve based the following on reputable studies I’ve come across over the last five years.
Check out how you stack up against the average - though don’t make yourself paranoid!
How much sex do married couples have?
This is a ‘How long is a piece of string?’ question because statistics vary wildly depending on your age and whether or not you have children.
Accuracy also isn’t helped by the fact that nearly all research focuses on intercourse only, rather than other activities like oral sex.
We do know, the amount of sex you have falls with age and the length of the relationship.
We also know that old stereotypes - like the older you get, the less sex you have - aren’t true.
Lots of studies have shown the sex lives of 70+ people worldwide are rather healthy!
Otherwise, it’s bad news!
One recent study by a Cambridge University statistician found there’s been a 40 per cent decrease in the amount of sex the average British couple is having.
We used to have sex around five times a month in 1990 but now (2016) it’s down to three times.
If current trends continue, couples won’t be having sex at all by 2030!
Is there a way to predict how much sex you’ll have as a couple?
It’s thought that you can predict how often you’ll have sex later on by how much sex you have in the first year of your relationship. Nearly all couples experience a ‘drop off point’ two years in.
When are people most likely to have an affair?
When life circumstances change dramatically (new job, death of a parent) and also when you’re just about to reach a milestone birthday.
If you’re 29, 39, 49 - just about to enter a new decade - you’re highly likely to reflect on your life and identify what’s missing.
If that’s sex, you might well decide to have an affair, according to results of one study of more than 8 million men. (The researchers also surveyed women and found similar patterns, though not quite as pronounced.)
Is it normal to fantasise about other people while having sex with your partner?
A UK study of nearly 20,000 people found 96 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women fantasise but 95 per cent of us don’t share them because most of them revolve around people other than our partner.
How long does it take men to climax?
Once he’s penetrated, most men ejaculate within four to ten minutes.
How many men have problems getting an erection?
Erectile dysfunction affects more than half of all men aged between 50 and 70 but recently stats indicate one in four men under 40 also frequently have erection problems.
How many women orgasm from intercourse alone?
Pretty impressive research that analysed 33 studies spanning the last 80 years found only a quarter of women consistently orgasm during intercourse.
Recent research suggests the size and placement of the clitoris - the bigger it is and the closer it is to the vaginal opening the better - influence this.
What’s the easiest way to make a woman orgasm?
The most reliable is through using a vibrator.
Men, rather sensibly, appear to be no longer threatened by this fact, with 70 per cent of 3,000 men surveyed saying they now don’t find them intimidating.
How often do people masturbate?
Studies vary dramatically but, according to research, a good estimate would be around 75 per cent of men and 45 per cent of women regularly masturbate.
In reality, I’d put it higher for both - as would most of the sex therapists and people I know.
It’s entirely normal to continue to masturbate, even if you’re having regular sex.
If you’re having sex less than 10 times a year, you’re officially in a ‘no sex’ marriage.
This is the criteria sex therapists use.
Around 20 per cent of UK marriages are believed to be ‘no sex’. You’re in a ‘low sex’ marriage if you have sex less than 25 times a year.
How many positions do the average couple enjoy?
Most couples alternate between two to three favourites. One American study of 10,000 people found 40 per cent of men prefer doggie-style, 30 per cent of women prefer missionary.
The most common positions are him on top, her on top and rear-entry.
How many couples have tried anal sex?
Around 20 to 35 per cent - compared with about five or ten per cent a decade earlier.
Does everyone give oral sex?
In one US study, 91 per cent of women did - compared to 79 per cent of men.
How many partners does the average person have in their lifetime?
If there was a prize awarded to The Sex Statistic That Least Reflects Reality Today, this wins hands down.
According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles 2013 study, the mean number of partners for men was 11.7 and 7.7 for women.
Subsequent ‘official’ studies don’t stray too far from these statistics despite the huge popularity of ‘hook up’ apps like Tinder - and anecdotal evidence and articles suggesting more than a few young people of this generation have clocked up 20 partners by the time they reach 25.
Which goes to prove that, as much as it’s fun to compare ourselves against the norm, most sex statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt!