People aged 35 to 49 report biggest rise in sexual satisfaction

It's all in the kiss
Sexual satisfaction has increased globally, according to a new Durex survey. (Getty Images)

With more people becoming comfortable talking about sex and sexual pleasure comes a rise in physical and emotional satisfaction across the globe, according to the latest Durex Global Sex Survey.

The survey found that 57% of respondents stated they are emotionally satisfied and 56% said they were physically satisfied with their sex lives. This marked a 12% rise in the former and a 21% rise in the latter since 2006.

Britons were in line with global averages, with 56% physical satisfaction and 51% emotional satisfaction.

However, the biggest increase in pleasure was seen among respondents aged 35 to 49 years old, with 63% reporting they are physically satisfied with their sex lives.

Ben Wilson, intimate wellness global category director at Reckitt, owner of Durex, said in a statement: "It’s encouraging to see that so many people are enjoying a satisfying, fulfilling sex life in many of the countries who took part in this year’s survey.

"We know that intimate wellness can be a significant contributor to overall health, and we’re committed to ensuring everyone has a sex life they feel positive about."

The young couple kissing in the bed
Emotional and physical satisfaction in bed has been linked to overall wellbeing. (Getty Images)

The findings appear to assuage concerns around a 2020 YouGov poll that revealed the amount of sex people have as they age declines significantly.

At the time, the survey found that younger people are more likely to have sex multiple times in a week, with people in their late 20s more likely than any other age group to have regular sex.

But by late 30s, nearly two in five (38%) people aged 35 to 39 said they had not had sex in the past seven days.

The picture further declines with age, as almost a fifth of 40 to 44-year-olds said they don’t have sex at all. The figure jumps even higher to 57% by the age of 74.

But frequency of sex does not necessarily correlate with satisfaction, so it may be that, while 35 to 49-year-olds have less sex than they did when they were younger – whether it’s due to changes in health, lifestyle or family status – they appear to be having higher quality and more satisfying sex.

Durex’s global survey also found that people who are satisfied with their sexual wellbeing have better overall wellbeing too. Over half (51%) of those who said they were sexually satisfied agreed that they feel healthier, while 51% said they are more confident and 65% said they feel happier.

Start every morning with love. Stock photo. Shallow DOF. Developed from RAW; retouched with special care and attention; Small amount of grain added for best final impression. 16 bit Adobe RGB color profile.
Although people tend to have less sex as they get older, the quality and satisfaction of sex appears to increase. (Getty Images)

More than half (54%) strongly agreed that their sex lives are exciting, an increase of 11% since 2006.

Sexual diversity has also become far more widely accepted over the last two decades, the survey found. The number of respondents who said it is acceptable to have a same-sex partner increased by 34% globally since 2006.

In the UK, only 66% of respondents showed their support for same-sex relationships though, implying there is still a way to go with LGBTQ+ acceptance.

In terms of contraception, condoms remain the most popular method of birth control, especially among those having sex for the first time. 55% of respondents used condoms during their first sexual experiences, up 34% from 2006.

Among Britons, condom use for first timers rose by 22% since 2006 to 50% in 2024. 57% of 18 to 24-year-olds said they’d used a condom during their first sexual encounter, while 58% of 35 to 49-year-olds said the same.

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