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Your view: Report suggests changes in sexual attitudes

By Greg Dawson
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightScience Photo Library

The average number of people women sleep with during their lifetime has more than doubled to more than seven in the last 20 years.

That's according to one of the most detailed studies of people's sexual habits in Britain.

The third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) asked more than 15,000 Britons about their sexual habits.

The survey suggests people are having sex less frequently.

The previous Natsal research has been carried out in 1990-91 and 1999-2001.

Authors of the study, which also shows a rise in women having sexual relations with other women, say modern life may be having an impact on sexual habits.

Newsbeat asked students at South Bank University whether they agreed with the findings about women's attitudes to sex.

Harriet Sutherland, 19, and Sydney Chandler, 18

image captionHarriet Sutherland, 19 (left) and Sydney Chandler, 18

Harriet said: "I think I'd find it more strange if someone stayed with their childhood boyfriend rather than had a number of sexual partners.

"I think sex in general in society can now be talked about and it's a lot easier for people to be honest."

Sydney added: "I think it's a lot more socially acceptable now for women to have more partners before marriage. At university I would expect most girls to have an average of five to 10 sexual partners.

"In terms of women kissing other women or sleeping with them it's just one of those normal things now.

"Our age group is a lot more experimental and open minded about these things but to be honest I think alcohol also plays a big part."

Jasmine Lacsamana, 18, and Vlora Krasniqi, 20

image captionJasmine Lacsamana, 18, (left) and Vlora Krasniqi, 20

"Younger people from the age of 13 are already talking about sex like it's nothing nowadays," said Jasmine.

"People in school are having sex and if that was ten years ago they'd probably get judged but now it seems more normal.

"I think when it comes to women being with women it can often be just to get a boy's attention."

Vlora agreed: "If I see two women kissing I often think they're just doing it for fun, not that they are in a serious relationship.

"I think women should have a strong mentality if they're going to have a lot of sexual partners."

Saskia Brockington and Olivia

Saskia said: "There's a lot more gender equality these days than there was so I think people are more relaxed about women being able to do what men have always done.

"In our society I think it's more acceptable to be experimental with your sexuality and why not?

"I also think alcohol does play a big part.

Olivia added: "I think people still have conservative attitudes without admitting it and they don't like the idea of women being promiscuous."

Madalina Munteanu, 23, and Zoe Fenne-Bavis, 19

image captionMadalina Munteanu, 23, (left) and Zoe Fenne-Bavis, 19

"Ten years ago people seemed to get married a lot earlier in life," said Madalina.

"Now it feels like people are waiting longer so it's likely they'll have more partners in their life... people are less judgemental now."

Zoe said the research doesn't surprise her saying: "It's [society's attitude to sex] definitely changed over generations. I don't think it's good or bad thing, people can do what they want.

"I also know lots of friends who've had sexual experiences with other women...things like kissing in a club. They aren't lesbians, it's probably just drunken experimenting."

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