Most of us are having sex less than once a week

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Most of us aren't getting enough sex. [Photo: Getty]

Are you getting enough sex? According to new research, the answer for most of us is a resounding no.

Fewer than half of British men and women are having sex at least once a week, said the findings.

Just 41.2% of men aged between 16 and 44 said they had had sex four or more times in the past month, compared to 40.7% of women.

Some 29.3% of women reported having no sex in the past month, while an almost identical number (29.2%) of men reported the same lack of sexual activity.

Those reporting sex 10 or more times in the past month also fell, with just 13.2% of women claiming to have sex this regularly and 14.4% among men.

READ MORE: Women orgasm a third less than men

The large scale study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), was based on three surveys completed in 1991, 2001 and 2012.

It was also found sexual activity was on the decline among the general UK population over this period.

Who is having the least sex?

While it might seem those sharing a home with a romantic partner might be well placed to have more time in the sack, the opposite was true.

Men and women who were married or living together with a partner reported higher sexual inactivity in the last month compared to those who were single or not co-habiting with a partner.

Age was also a factor, with those aged 35 and older less likely to be having much sex.

READ MORE: First trial of a male contraceptive gap is about to start

For Brits aged between 35 and 44, the average number of sex sessions was down from four to two among women between 2001 and 2012, while it fell from three to two among men.

Who is having the most sex?

Those individuals in better physical and mental health, who were fully employed and had higher incomes, were more likely to have sex more frequently, according to the findings.

It is also worth noting that 16 to 24 year old men were the only age group who reported a rise in sexual activity since 2001, while among all other groups there was a decline.

Why are Brits having less sex?

“Several factors are likely to explain this decline, but one may be the sheer pace of modern life,” Kaye Wellings, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, offered.

“It is interesting that those most affected are in mid-life, the group often referred to as the ‘u-bend’ or ‘sandwich’ generation. These are the cohorts of men and women who, having started their families at older ages than previous generations, are often juggling childcare, work and responsibilities to parents who are getting older.

“What is important to well-being is not how often people have sex but whether it matters to them. More than half of the men and women taking part in the study said they’d prefer to have sex more often, which could partly stem from unfavourable comparisons with what they think is the norm.

“Most people believe that others have more regular sex than they do themselves [...] Many people are likely to find it reassuring that they are not out of line.”

For those couples experiencing a downward spiral in their sex life, another study recently suggested that sleeping in separate beds could help.

Another piece of research found sporty and bisexual women have more sexual partners than their peers.