How many people is it 'normal' to have had sex with?
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What is the average number of sexual partners for men and women in the UK? Well, it seems that the figure is rising. Women aged 16-44 have had an average of 7.7 sexual partners, according to Lancet – 20 years ago the average was 3.7. Now, men claim to have slept with an average of 11.7, which is up from 8.7 previously. Conversely though, and despite our increased number of sexual partners, we seem to be having less actual sex than in the past – the number of times we’ve had sex in the past four weeks is now less than a decade ago. It has also been revealed that the numbers of women experiencing same sex partnerships is increasing, alongside tolerance of same sex relationships in general. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), carried out by medical journal the Lancet, surveyed 15,162 men and women aged between 16 and 74 and living in Britain between 2010 and 2012. It is the third time the survey has been carried out – results are gathered and published once per decade, showing how behaviours have changed across the nineties, noughties and now. It also gathered information on STIs, finding that, of the sample group that were tested for Chlamydia, 1.5% of women and 1.1% of men tested positive – but that this rises to 3.1% and 2.3% in those aged 16-24. Social deprivation and lack of condom use were the biggest risk factors for catching Chlamydia – although maybe surprisingly 60% of cases in women and 43% of cases in men were in those who had only had one sexual partner in the past year. 54% of women and 35% of men said that they had been tested in the last year, however, an increase that researchers describe as “encouraging.”
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