Paris, Feb 25 AFP – Europeans are having more sex in later life and starting at a younger age than ever before, a French demographic research team has discovered.
In a European Union-sponsored study of the sex lives of Europeans in 12 countries between 1989 and 1993, France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies uncovered a continuing trend of ever longer sexual activity.
The general trends established by earlier studies dating from the 1950s also extend to national differences where women in warmer climates tend to start sex later in life than their counterparts in colder regions. The reverse being generally true for men.
But the most striking result is that men and women continue having sex much later in life, the reseachers Michel Bozon and Osmo Kontula wrote.
The study found the number of married women over 50 who said they were "very satisfied" with their sex lives has tripled since 1970, while just 28 percent of women aged 50 to 69 had no sexual relations.
Nearly all men in the same age range on the other hand claimed to be sexually active.
The age gap between men and women at the time of their first sexual experience however is shrinking the study reveals. In Norway and Denmark during the 1990s, women were being initiated into sex before men.
Icelandic women were the most precocious, on average starting sex at the age of 16.
They are closely followed by their Scandinavian neighbours, who tend to engage in sexual relationships from the age of 17 years, earlier than their male counterparts.
Teenage girls in France, Germany and Britain start having sex at 18 years on average, while Portuguese and Greek women usually wait until their 19th birthday, the study found.
Patterns of sexual behaviour for young men however have changed little in the past 50 years, the researchers said. Men from southern European countries become sexually active earlier than their northern counterparts.
AFP reg 26/02/98 10-40NZ