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Sex: How People In Different Countries Handle “Doing the Deed”?

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In many ways, people are all the same: we all eat, drink, and breathe. We also differ in many ways, in terms of food preferences or what we find attractive in a partner or value in a relationship. These differences could be influenced by many factors: upbringing, religion, core beliefs, or culture.

One might assume that, when it comes to sex, we all basically do it the same way—by fitting “tab A” to “slot B.” However, you might be surprised to learn that there are a few distinct ways we differ in how we approach sex depending on which country we live in.

How does where you live affect how you have sex?

A lot of research has gone into finding global trends with regard to sexuality. However, some studies have also found that there are differences between the ways people have sex in various countries and cultures. Let’s take a look at some of the ways sexuality can differ depending on what country you live in.

Average number of partners

The average number of sexual partners a person has is one factor that research has found to be different from place to place. One study looked at various aspects of sexuality and how they differed between four countries: Colombia, Canada, Israel and Brazil. In terms of average number of sex partners, people in Brazil and Israel were found to have significantly more sex partners across their lifetime—averaging 6.5 and 6.8 partners—than people in Colombia and Canada, who averaged only 1.8 and 1.5 partners respectively (Cardoso, 2007). Another more recent article found that people in the United States had more partners on average than people in the Netherlands—7.2 partners over the life span for Americans compared with 6.9 partners for the Dutch (Truong, 2017).

Average frequency of sex

Another factor that may be influenced by which country you are in is the average frequency of sex. For example, more than 80 percent of people polled in Greece, Russia and Brazil reported having sex on at least a weekly basis, while only a little more than half of Americans polled reported the same. Japan was lowest on the sexual frequency list at 34 percent of respondents reporting weekly sexual activity (“3 Maps of Sex Trends“, 2013). Another survey found that Italy had the least number of sexual encounters annually, but confirmed the high-frequency sexual activity of Greece, Russia and Brazil, with Poland falling into fourth place for most frequent sex encounters (Valdez, 2014).

Penis size

Everyone has heard things about variations in penis size in one part of the globe or another, but what’s the truth behind these rumors? Does penis size really differ that much from place to place? One author looked at the available data and noted that results from studies vary vastly, possibly due to asking respondents to report flaccid rather than erect penis size (Hale, 2016). Without erection being taken into consideration, people in countries all over the world including South Korea, India, the United States, and Nigeria, had an average penis size between 3 and 3 and a half inches, give or take—not much difference there. However, when measuring erect penis size, data found that differences did emerge, and people in Germany had greater erect penis length (at 5.7 inches) than people in Turkey (5.01 inches), the United States (5.07 inches), or India (5.09 inches).

How long sex usually lasts

Although the average length of time sex lasts may not vary much from place to place, some sources have shown that this factor does differ depending on which country you are in. Interestingly, the length of time each sexual experience takes from penetration to finish does vary across countries. In one survey, people in the United States reported an average time of less than four minutes and people in China reported less than three minutes to the grand finale. The country whose inhabitants reported the longest latency was Australia, lasting just over four minutes on average (Knibbs, 2014).

How much does where you’re from impact your sex life?

The truth is, although there are studies that explore the differences in how people have sex depending on which country they are from, geographic location is just one piece of the sexuality puzzle. In one study, researchers found that mental health status was tied to number of sex partners (Bell et al., 2013), and another recent study found that sexual activity—or the lack thereof—appeared to be influenced by age and generation rather than country of origin (Sherman, Twenge & Wells, 2017). No matter where you live or how you choose to express your sexuality, one thing is certain: sex is one of the most crucial aspects of being a person. After all, without sex, there wouldn’t be any human life to begin with.


3 Maps Of Sex Trends Around The World [Web log post]. (2013, October 28). Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/3-maps-of-sex-trends-around-the-world-2013-10

Cardoso, F. L. (2007). Sexual survey: a cross-cultural perspective. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa,23(1), 71-80. doi:10.1590/s0102-37722007000100009

Hale, T. (2016, August 22). What Does Science Say About Average Penis Sizes From Around The World? [Web log post]. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/what-does-science-say-about-average-penis-sizes-from-around-the-world/

Knibbs, K. (2014, April 16). Can you guess which countries last longest in bed? [Web log post]. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from https://www.dailydot.com/irl/longest-sex-infographic/

Ramrakha, S., Paul, C., Bell, M. L., Dickson, N., Moffitt, T. E., & Caspi, A. (2013). The Relationship Between Multiple Sex Partners and Anxiety, Depression, and Substance Dependence Disorders: A Cohort Study. Archives of Sexual Behavior,42(5), 863-872. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-0053-1

Truong, K. (2017, August 24). Here’s The Average Number Of Sexual Partners A Person Has In A Lifetime [Web log post]. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from http://www.refinery29.com/2017/08/169555/average-numbers-sexual-partners

Twenge, J. M., Sherman, R. A., & Wells, B. E. (2016). Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(2), 433-440. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0798-z

Valdez, M. (2014, November 2). The 10 Most Sexually Active Countries in the World [Web log post]. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/the-10-most-sexually-active-countries-in-the-world-334352/

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Andrew W.
Andrew is a health writer for the Between Us Clinic. The Between Us Clinic provides sex-therapy online programs for men and couples experiencing premature ejaculation.

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