INVESTIGATION IN SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR: BRITAIN

In Britain, Michael Schofield investigated the sexual behaviour of adolescents. They were chosen, at random, from lists of school attenders in seven different areas of the country. This selection made the sample as representative as possible of the young people of Britain. They were aged about 17 in 1966, and 66 per cent of them were re-interviewed 7 years later.

More men (80 per cent) had had pre-marital sexual intercourse than women (61 per cent), and there was another difference in sexual behaviour. The young men began sexual intercourse at an earlier age than the women, and were more likely to have several partners, but once a woman became sexually active she had sex more often, usually with the same partner, or one other.

Most of those who were sexually active had only one partner at a time, that is they were going steady or were serial monogamists. In the year before the second survey (when the people were aged about 23) 65 per cent of the men and 85 per cent of the women had had sex with one partner only; 11 per cent of the men and 6 per cent of the women had had two partners, but only 17 per cent of the men and 3 per cent of the women were sexual adventurers, having had intercourse with three partners or more.

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