Every decade, British researchers publish the Natsal, which stands for National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. The third Natsal, Natsal-3, was published yesterday. And it found that many more types of sex are happening! Particularly: sex before age 16, anal sex, and lesbian sex.
So people are either doing more things or getting more candid. Surveys like these often just reveal what people are comfortable revealing in a survey. Remember that sex and people have been on Earth for a while — at least 30 years, according to this study. So keep a teaspoon of salt on hand while you take notes. Here’s what people are up to:
• Teen sex: 29 percent of women ages 16 to 24 report having had sex before the the age of 16. This percentage drops steadily as age groups increase, with only 4 percent of women aged 65 to 74 reporting having had sex under 16.
• Same-sex sex: 16 percent of women in the U.K. (ages 16 to 44) said they had sexual experiences with same-sex partners. In 1990, that was fewer than 4 percent, and it was 10 percent the following decade. In 2150 it will be 100 percent, because isn’t that how increases work? Back to 2010’s number, Will Salatan at Slate says that the 20 percent of women younger than 35 who reported a lesbian experience is higher than any national survey so far.
• Anal sex: For people ages 16 to 44, the number who report having anal sex also increased. For men, it rose from 7 to 12 to 17 percent from 1990 to 2000 to 2010 respectively. Women mirrored this number, with 7 to 11 to 15 percent.
• But how much sex are these sex-having people having? While the types of sex are increasing, people are having less sex than they used to have 30 years ago. In 1990, the median number of times men and women reporting having heterosexual sex in the past four weeks was five. It was down to four in 2010, and now it’s down to three.
Just some trivia to discuss over a Thanksgiving meal.