Black British men have nine times as many lovers during their lifetimes as Pakistani men, according to new data which follows analysis of sexual habits of different ethnic groups in Britain in the second British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles.
The findings are published in current issue of The Lancet
The study in which 12,110 men and women aged between 16 and 44 were questioned about what they got up to between the sheets found that black Caribbean and black African men reported having an average of nine sexual partners, compared with white men who had six.
Indian men reported having two lovers and Pakistani men had only one in their lifetimes.
Black men had more sexually transmitted infection and were more likely to participate in risky sexual behaviour such as having unprotected intercourse and paying for sex.
White women were found to have an average of five sexual partners, black Caribbean women four, black African women three, and Indian and Pakistani women each had only one sexual partner.
White women were more likely to participate in risky sexual behaviour than other ethnic groups, but they were less likely to admit to STIs than black women.
It was found that Indians and Pakistanis were the last to lose their virginity and also had substantially lower prevalence of STIs.
Dr Kevin Fenton, of University College London, who led the study, says that for the first time there is a clearer understanding of the complex relationship between the sexual lifestyles of Britain's main ethnic groups and the risk of sexually transmitted infections and found that on average people who had a large number of lovers were more likely to report an STI.
Fenton says that sexual behaviour alone does not explain the differences in STIs among ethnic groups, cultural factors, age and marriage patterns, and varying levels of infection in different communities are all likely to be important in explaining differences.