LONDON (CBS Atlanta)  –   In the last 20 years, the number of British women having lesbian encounters has quadrupled according to a survey published Tuesday.

More than 15,000 Britons were asked about their sex lives by the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.  Nearly 48 percent of women had been with female partners compared to just 1.8 percent in 1990.

Gay sex among men has remained more stable over the same period.  The Lancet medical journal published findings showing that rate at only 4.8 percent.

“In some areas of sexual behaviour we have seen a narrowing of the gender gap, but in others we have seen women overtaking men in the diversity of their behaviour,” Professor of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Kaye Wellings told the AFP.
Wellings, who co-ran the survey, added that trends need to be seen “against the backdrop of the profound changes in the position of women in society, the norms governing their lifestyles, and media representations of female sexuality.”

The survey found that British women have twice as many sexual parters as they did 20 years ago over a lifetime.  The figure for them is around 7.7 while men have roughly 12 over that same period.  The increase suggests that “a narrowing of the gender gap” is occurring.

Britons are having sex all the way into their seventies, but are having it less often with intercourse happening less than five times  a month compared to six in the previous decade the survey found.

The decrease is explained by the fact that more people are living alone than before and the economy.

“In a recession we find an association between unemployment and a low number of sexual partners, perhaps due to low self-esteem,” Wellings explained to AFP.

Also, the survey found roughly a third of both men and women in Britain are having sex before the legal age of 16.


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