Sex myths exposed

More research on one of my favorite hobbies:

LONDON — People aren’t losing their virginity at younger ages, married people have the most sex, and promiscuity has no firm link to sexually transmitted diseases, according to the first comprehensive study of sexual behaviour.

The British study was published Wednesday as part of a series on sexual and reproductive health by the British medical journal The Lancet.

Experts say the findings, which go against many stereotypes of sexual health and behaviour, will be useful not only in dispelling popular myths about sex, but in shaping policies that will help improve sexual health across the world.

We did have some of our preconceptions dashed,” she said, explaining they had expected to find the most promiscuous behaviour in regions like Africa with the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. That was not the case, as multiple partners were more commonly reported in industrialized countries where the incidence of such diseases was relatively low.

“There’s a misperception that there’s a great deal of promiscuity in Africa, which is one of the potential reasons for HIV/AIDS spreading so rapidly,” said Dr. Paul van Look, director of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization, who was not connected to the study. “But that view is not supported by the evidence.”

Prof. Wellings says the results imply promiscuity may be less important than factors such as poverty and education — especially in the encouragement of condom use — in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

The study also found that contrary to popular belief, sexual activity is not starting earlier. Nearly everywhere, men and women have their first sexual experiences in their late teens — from 15 to 19 years old — with generally younger ages for women than for men, especially in developing countries. That is no younger than 10 years ago.

Still, there are considerable variations across countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, men and women tend to lose their virginity at ages 16½ and 17½ respectively. In comparison, men and women in Indonesia waited until they were 24½ and 18½ respectively.


1 thought on “Sex myths exposed

  1. Too bad this comes from The Lancet. After their “X number of casualties in Iraq” reports, I’d have to double-check the data if they came out with a report that says the sun rises in the East.

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