back to top

Scientists Say Brits Aren't In The Mood To Have Sex

Modern technologies and other distractions are causing people to have less sex than they were ten years ago, a recent study shows.

Posted on

More than 15,000 British residents between ages 16–74 were interviewed about sex for the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in 1990-91 and 1999-2001.

One of the most surprising discoveries was that people between 16–44 reported having less sex than the same group ten years ago. The amount decreased from six to seven times a month to less than five times a month.

"People are taking their iPhones and iPads into bed," Wellings said that the drop occurred at the same time as new technologies emerged. She also noted that the financial crisis had a big impact on people's lives.

Dr Cath Mercer, from University College London, said: "People are worried about their jobs, worried about money. They are not in the mood for sex.

The study also suggested young people are using online porn instead.


Overall, more than 60% of people reported having sex recently.


Bad health does not necessarily mean the end of a satisfying sex life, the report said, citing more than one in three people in bad or very bad health had had sex recently and around 50% were satisfied with their sex lives.

Scientists found the proportion of women who had a same-sex experience since the first survey was done jumped 4% to 16%. The numbers of men who reported a same-sex experience remained similar.

"It reflects a shift away from sex being seen purely in the context of reproduction toward a greater emphasis on pleasure and recreation," said Kaye Wellings, head of social and environmental health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the leaders of the research. Similar changes have also been reported in France, she said.

Another researcher, Debra Lynne Herbenick, who conducted an American survey on sexual habits in 2009, said the findings were comparable to evolving attitudes in the U.S.

The study found HPV was the most common STI, followed by chlamydia. HIV and gonorrhoea were found in around one in a thousand people.

The poll also revealed the extent to which people are forced to have sex against their will.

However, fewer than half had told anyone about it and even fewer (13% of women and 8% of men) had reported the crime.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.