Global sex sur­vey shows mar­riage is the best place to be

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Jen­nifer Harper

Swing­ing sin­gles rule? The gospel ac­cord­ing to su­per­mar­ket mag­a­zines and cheesy prime-time TV has met its match.

The world’s first true study of global sex­ual health re­vealed on Nov. 1 that mar­ried peo­ple are hav­ing more sex than their sin­gle peers. Mr. and Mrs. are just fine in the bed­room, said Bri­tish re­searchers who in­ves­ti­gated the sex­ual mores of more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple in 59 coun­tries.

Among Amer­i­cans, more than 90 per­cent of mar­ried cou­ples re­ported that they had sex in the pre­vi­ous month, com­pared with just over 50 per­cent among sin­gle men and women. The find­ings were sim­i­lar in France, Bri­tain and other in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions — though Bri­tish and French sin­gles fared the best in the bunch, with more than 60 per­cent of sin­gles re­port­ing some re­cent luck in the bed­room.

There were a few highs and lows. The least sex­u­ally ac­tive mar­ried cou­ples were found in some African coun-


tries, with less than 50 per­cent re­port­ing that they had sex re­cently. The most ac­tive mar­rieds, in or­der, were found in France, Kaza­khstan, Rwanda, the United States, Bri­tain and Aus­tralia.

“We did have some of our pre­con­cep­tions dashed,” said Kaye Wellings, a pro­fes­sor of sex­ual health at the Univer­sity of Lon­don’s School of Hy­giene and Trop­i­cal Medicine. She based her con­clu­sions on an anal­y­sis of 161 med­i­cal, so­cial science and pub­lic health stud­ies that were com­pleted in the past 10 years.

“Monogamy is the dom­i­nant pat­tern ev­ery­where. [. . . ] Most peo­ple are mar­ried, and mar­ried peo­ple have the most sex,” she wrote in the study, pub­lished in the Lancet, a Bri­tish med­i­cal jour­nal.

What’s more, folks aren’t en­gag­ing in sex at ever-ear­lier ages as some provoca­tive cul­ture mavens, per­form­ers or cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers might want us to think. Though there are re­gional vari­ances, sex­ual ac­tiv­ity be­gins for most men and women “in the late teen years,” the study found.

The me­dian age for first sex­ual in­ter­course in the United States is just over 17 for young men and al­most 18 for young women — about av­er­age on the global stage. The low­est me­dian age for los­ing vir­gin­ity among men was about 16 in both Peru and Bri­tain. For women, it was 15 in sev­eral African na­tions, though many of those na­tions also re­ported the av­er­age age to marry among women ranged from 15 to 17.

Al­though mar­keters may fos­ter a rep­u­ta­tion of racy young Amer­i­cans, the per­cent­age of youths who had sex be­fore 15 in the United States has dropped in the past three decades, from about 20 per­cent in 1975 to about 15 per­cent to­day.

“Peo­ple who fear a tide of youth­ful promis­cu­ity might take heart in the fact that trends to­ward early and pre­mar­i­tal sex are nei­ther as pro­nounced or preva­lent as is some­times as­sumed,” the study said.

The so-called swing­ing life re­plete with mul­ti­ple sex part­ners ap­pears to be a myth, it found.

“Most peo­ple re­port hav­ing only one re­cent sex­ual part­ner,” the study said, though the phe­nom­e­non was more com­mon among men than women on a world­wide ba­sis. In ad­di­tion, men and women who re­ported hav­ing more than one part­ner lived in in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions rather than de­vel­op­ing ones.

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