Sex under Durex

A sampling of the results of the 2007 Durex Global Sex Survey.

Published October 23, 2007 4:14PM (EDT)

Here's some good news for anyone out there who has been hoping that Foreign Policy would cover something sexy: the results of the Durex Global Sex Survey, which claims to be the world's largest survey of its kind.

"Whether you have unprotected sex isn't a matter of being male or female, gay or straight," the article says. "When it comes to risky bedroom behavior, what matters most may be where you live." It includes statistics it claims prove that point -- for example, that 58.3 percent of homosexuals, 56.6 percent of bisexuals and 46.3 percent of heterosexuals claim to have had unprotected sex, and that 45.3 percent of women report having had unprotected sex, compared with 48.4 percent of guys. (To which I say two things: In most other studies I've looked at, a difference of 12 percent is considered noteworthy; second, somehow I find it hard to believe that the rates of unprotected sex are really that low -- even in a report sponsored by a condom company.)

But I digress. Questionable though those numbers may be, the survey still has good scuttlebutt fodder, like the claim that the average Israeli loses his or her virginity at 16 and has 10 sexual partners -- or that, get this, Norway has a 21 percent rate of sexually transmitted infection. Also, according to the report, the richer a country is, the higher the number of sexual partners its residents reported having. Granted, this particular charticle doesn't give enough context to make it clear what other variables could have been at play -- like, for example, maybe poorer countries tend to be more religious, with more stigma around sex. So for those of you who would like something more substantial than statistics in bubbles, I found this PDF. It's slightly different -- called the Face of Global Sex, it's about people's use of contraception when they lose their virginity. But I'm sure it still makes for some good procrastination.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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