Young people in Britain becoming more sexually adventurous

New research has shown that young heterosexual couples in United Kingdom are trying out a wide range of different sexual practices including anal sex with their partners of the opposite sex.

For this study the experts were looking at a national sex survey conducted in UK once in every decade since 1990.

The survey included young people aged between 16 and 24 years.

The findings of the study titled, “Heterosexual Practices Among Young People in Britain: Evidence From Three National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles,” were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Results of the survey revealed that by the age of 18, over one in 10 millennial adolescents have tried anal sex. The number rose to three in ten by the time the youngsters were 22-24 years of age. Vaginal and oral sex are the commonest sexual practices among these couples. The average age when youngsters start having sex is still 16 years as before finds the survey.

The data came from the British National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). It included a total of 45,199 young people. Until now three Natsals have been conducted. Oral and anal sex incidence has risen among 16- to 24-year-olds. The incidence of vaginal, oral and anal sex rose was one in 10 in 1990–1991 that rose to one in four men and one in five women in 2010–2012. Bisexual women were more closely associated with sexual experimentation the study noted.

The study fails to find why the sexual practices and their preferences are changing with time. The authors write that it could be because of lessening of skepticism and taboos and misconceptions regarding sexual experimentation that is bringing the guards down.

Kaye Wellings, corresponding author and professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said in her statement that other aspects of sexual experience of people is also changing with time as is the social context regarding sex. These are affecting the sexual behavior she said.

Other experts have added that one of the big contributors to these findings is the internet and the media content. Young people have access to things they did not have in the past because of the internet. Anal sex has been associated with a lot of stigma in the past. This is changing now with time.

Despite the fact that these trends are changing, there is little research on what motivates sexual experimentation. While sexual experimentation is acceptable, more information regarding sexual health should be propagated among the youth to help them protect themselves from harm feel health experts.

Sexual well being is of utmost importance the experts say. Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and their awareness is of paramount importance here because of the changing trends in sexual experimentation they explain. Since 16 to 24 year olds are involved in this survey the importance of sex education and safe sex practices cannot be over emphasized, they conclude.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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