Swinging 60s had nothing on the Noughties: sex study

LONDON Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:06pm EDT

A couple kisses at a sea front off the coast of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta

A couple kisses at a sea front off the coast of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai November 11, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Young women today are nearly three times more sexually active than those of their grandmothers' generation in the liberal heyday of the "Swinging 60s," according to a survey on Tuesday.

The study found that women in the so-called Noughties between 2000 and 2009 had an average of 5.65 different sexual partners by the time they were 24.

Almost one in 10 of those asked claimed to have slept with more than 10 different partners.

By contrast, women who were in their early twenties in the 1960s had an average of 1.67 partners, and women of their mothers' generation, aged 24 in the 1970s, had 3.72 sexual partners by the same age.

The survey, carried out by ICM on behalf of Lloyds Pharmacy, questioned more than 3,000 women across Britain.

It also found that although women's sex life has increased, sexual health is not improving.

Cancer Research UK statistics show that incidence rates of cervical cancer in women under the age of 25 have not fallen, despite better screening.

Its figures also reveal that although the number of cervical cancer cases in older women has fallen significantly in the last 10 years, diagnoses of the infection in women under the age of 25 have not followed the same trend.

The increase in the number of sexual partners could be one reason, says Lloyds Pharmacy.

"Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections are very common, especially in younger people," said Clare Kerr, Lloyds Pharmacy's head of sexual health, who warned that HPV is one of the major causes of cervical cancer.

(Reporting by Valle Aviles Pinedo; Editing by Steve Addison)

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