Aussie’s start earlier than their parents did

Aussie’s start earlier than their parents did

If you believe what you read, Australians are a sexy lot. We have sex at a younger age and with more partners than our parents, and if we had our way, we’d like to do it more often. But how do we know all this, and what does it mean?

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The study of sexual behaviour and attitudes has fascinated society; in fact, attempts at a rational and systemic study of human sexual behaviour date back at least to the ancient Greeks.

According to The Birth of Sexology: A Brief History in Documents, the legitimate forefathers of sex research are physicians like Hippocrates and the philosophers Plato and Aristotle, who made extensive observations and offered the first elaborate theories regarding sexual responses and dysfunctions, reproduction and contraception, abortion, sex legislation and sexual ethics.

Landmark sex surveys

In modern times, Dr Alfred Kinsey’s landmark sex surveys in the late 1940s and early 1950s sparked a revolution in social awareness of human sexuality.

Kinsey went where no other researcher had been before, probing the sex lives of more than 10,000 men and women. Using in-depth, face-to-face interviews, Kinsey and colleagues asked each individual an average of 300 questions about their experiences of masturbation, petting, intercourse, martial histories, sexual outlets and homosexual relationships.

His research provided a fascinating snapshot of what people were doing behind closed doors. After all, at that time, sex was hardly something one discussed at the dinner table.

We learnt, for example, that a fifth of males had first intercourse by the time they were 16 years old, married women were having sex 2.2 times a week by the age of 30, foreplay lasted between 4-10 minutes for around a third of couples, 40% of males preferred making love in the light and 47.5% of men ejaculated less than five minutes after sex began.

(Kinsey speculated that for perhaps three-fourths of all males, orgasm was reached within two minutes after initiation of coitus, and reported this as a frequent source of marital conflict).

It was in this climate that Masters and Johnson began their research into sexuality and intimacy. Together they developed polygraph-like instruments that were designed to measure human sexual response. Using these tools, Masters and Johnson initiated a research project that culminated in 700 men and women being observed under laboratory conditions while they had sex or masturbated.

We have condom manufacturers giving us the low down on the average penis size, and research comparing Australia’s sexual prowess against the rest of the world.

Did you know, for example, that Aussies are average when it comes to bed action, ranking equal 16th in an international ‚league‘ table on the number of sexual liaisons per person per year? And that Australia leads the world in the frequency of sex in the park? And that the average length of the erect penis is centimetres? (The latter was discovered in a Mexican nightclub. More than 400 partygoers were ushered into private tents and had their privates measured by a team of doctors. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 300 were able to gain an erection for measurement.)

Closer to home, the Australian Study of Health and Relationships – Australia’s first large-scale national survey of sexual behaviour and attitudes – found that Australians are having sex at a younger age and with more partners than their parents.

More than 19,000 Aussies aged 16 to 59 years were questioned over the telephone about their sexual experiences, relationships, use of condoms and contraception, sexual satisfaction and difficulties and sexual attitudes and knowledge of kissbrides.com Lähde sexual transmitted infections.

Researchers from La Trobe University, The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales reported that more than three quarters of those surveyed believed that sex before marriage was acceptable.

Heterosexual couples who had been together for at least a year reported they had sex on average 1.84 times a week – but most wanted more. (Interestingly, while 85% of respondents said they would like sex at least twice a week, only 27% actually had sex this often).

Lead author Dr Anthony Smith from La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society said the study also revealed that vaginal intercourse was by far the most common sexual practice and most (95% men and 79% women) people had an orgasm last time they had sex.

„Nevertheless, it was interesting to find that the majority of those with sexual partners had experienced some sort of sexual difficulty in the last year lasting for at least a month. These ranged from lack of interest in sex, difficulty with erection, pain during intercourse or difficulty reaching orgasm,“ Smith said.

What it all means – and does it really matter?

At the end of the day, however, when you gather up the vast body of international data into sexual habits and behaviour – some of it little more than ‚fun‘ research carried out by private companies with vested commercial interests – it begs the question of how much is truth and how much wishful thinking? Do people really do it as often, and as well, as they claim they do? And if people aren’t keeping up with the Jones‘ does that mean they’re sexual failures?

Well, no, according to Dr Edith Weisberg, director of research at FPA Health, Sydney, who says some research may not represent the average couple, „because it’s done on couples who are obviously sexually active and sexually confident.“

„. My concern about it all is that it is setting all sorts of standards of what people should and shouldn’t be doing and I guess I feel that what suits a couple – as long as it suits both of them – is the norm for that couple.“

„I don’t see that measuring it against what the ‚average‘ is achieves anything at all. It just makes people anxious.“