Sexual Behavior According to Science

June 9, 2020
What's the perfect length of penetration? Do people plan sex? Do young people use contraception? All these questions about sexual behavior will be answered in this article, which highlights surveys, such as the annual Durex report, that aim to shed some light on a subject surrounded by prejudice.

Sexual behavior seems to be the main topic of conversation among many people. Sometimes, the information we share in these types of exchanges isn’t very reliable. This could be due to prejudice, shame, or even perceived modesty.

Many men and women claim to be satisfied with their sex lives. However, the truth is that, in order to analyze sexual behavior, we need more reliable information.

Therefore, in the following article, we’ll be bringing you information about sexual behavior from different countries in Europe, all conducted scientifically.

The sexual behavior research.

Sexual behavior isn’t synonymous with copulation

Before starting, it’s important to understand that sexual behavior isn’t just reduced simply to the copulatory act. It’s much broader than that.

In fact, it’s a process with different elements that must be studied scientifically. It’s a process that follows a certain development and that involves many different elements, namely:

  • A person’s sexual biography. Someone’s sexual behavior usually depends on the sexual experiences they’ve had in the past. Not only that, but their sexuality during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood also has an influence.
  • The sexual response. Sexual behavior is also defined by a person’s sexual response. This is also idiographic: levels of arousal and emotional responses.
  • Contexts. Whatever a person’s sexual behavior is, it certainly varies depending on the context, the partner(s) or emotional states, for example.

Sexual satisfaction by country

In the different surveys conducted in the sexual field, the researchers have found that there’s a great bias. We’re referring here to the permissiveness of men’s sexual activity and the criticism towards the same level of activity in women. This has made it very difficult to study sexual behavior scientifically, as the responses were often influenced by this bias.

Nevertheless, we can observe certain cultural variations in relation to sexual satisfaction. Countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, or Algeria, for example, have very high levels of sexual dissatisfaction.

This seems to be due to the religious, social, and cultural elements in these Eastern countries. Only 38 percent of people in Japan and Thailand think that sex is important. We can compare this to 80 percent in Greece, Poland, or Brazil.

In the case of Spain, 66 percent of those who participated said they were happy with their sex lives. Sexual satisfaction was found to be slightly higher in men than in women, increasing with age. In the case of women, satisfaction decreases as they approach 40 or 50 years of age.

In the annual Durex study from 2012, which involved 150,000 people from 30 different countries, the experts observed that 73 percent of the subjects are satisfied with their sex life.

Sexual behavior in Spain

We’re going to home in on Spain now, as there has been a lot of research into the sexual behavior of its population. The Spanish Federation of Sexology Societies (FESS) conducted this survey.

Sex planning

The research shows how people are planning their sexual encounters more and more. The time of day, the place, the atmosphere, etc. This is mainly due to the biggest sexual problem researchers found among Spanish couples, which is sexual laziness or lack of desire.

They’re learning that it’s important to set aside time for sex, just as we make room for our other daily activities, such as eating or sleeping.

As people, we plan our meals for the day before we even feel hungry. It seems that Spaniards are gradually understanding that sex can also be planned.

However, 57 percent of people think that planning sex makes it worse. They say that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Assessment of performance in bed

In the sigma II study, conducted by the Spanish Association for Sexual Health, they observed how Spanish people assessed their own sexual performance.

It showed that both men and women tend to be very self-critical about their own sexual performance. This is because the average mark their partners gave them for their performance was higher than what they gave themselves.

While men gave themselves an average score of 7.14, their partners gave them 7.28 out of 10. In the case of women, they gave themselves a score of 7.36, while their partners gave them 7.70.

Difficulties in maintaining relationships

In that same study, the researchers observed that sexual activity was, indeed, recognized as valuable, but not as valuable as other things. They placed other factors above it.

Regarding the difficulties found when having sex, in Spain, the main reasons are shyness and excessive fear of not reaching orgasm. In women, there’s more shyness, and one of the main problems for men is not knowing how to flirt or attract someone’s sexual interest.

Duration of sexual intercourse

Sexual behavior, according to science, is much more reliable than anything we’ve heard at a party or among friends. That’s why science and respondents seem to hold the key to what a penetration (whether it be vaginal or anal) actually has to last in order for it to be proper and enjoyable.

In a survey conducted by Penn State Erie, researchers Eric Corty and Jenay Guardiani, fifty people from the Society of Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) were asked about the duration of penetration in sex. The results were as follows:

  • Penetration of one to two minutes: very short
  • Three to seven minutes: adequate
  • From seven to thirteen minutes: desirable
  • From thirteen to thirty minutes: very long
A couple having sex.

Clinical sexuality

Sexual behavior according to science has also looked at clinical sexuality – sexual disorders and dysfunctions.

They observed that between 35 and 60 percent of women have some type of sexual dysfunction. 48 percent have problems with arousal and 35 percent have a lack of interest or desire for sex, anorgasmia, vaginismus, or dyspareunia.

Regarding men, 40 percent have had problems with erections or ejaculation. 16 percent of men have a lack of interest in sex.

Only 30 percent of people with a sexual problem consult a specialist.

Young Spaniards and sex

Going back to Spain again, there’s some very specific information about the sexual behavior of young people between the ages of 18 and 35. The research highlighted the following:

  • Oral sex is the most common sexual practice. 88 percent of young people said that they practice it regularly.
  • The male condom is the most widely used contraceptive method, with seven out of ten using it.
  • Young people have an average of 86 sexual encounters a year.
  • They reach orgasm between 11 and 30 minutes after they start the sexual encounter.

Due to the infinite number of biases we find related to sexual behavior and sex in general, it’s important to conduct proper investigations before coming to any specific conclusions.

Basing these conclusions on a scientific study of available data and sexual behavior is an important measure that will help us promote sexual liberation and avoid future potential sexual problems based on information that we don’t even know is true.

Sexual behavior changes every year. It’s important to shake off stereotypes and to fully accept sex, ridding ourselves of the fear that so often surrounds it.