Around the World, Casual Sex Isn’t All That Common
How satisfied are adults around the world when it comes to their sex lives? How do they feel about sex – and where do they meet partners?
We analyzed survey data from 12,000 adults aged 18 to 49 in 21 countries and found some surprising results:
Most people like sex – but not all. The majority of adults 18 to 49 surveyed (81%) said they enjoy having sex. It gets better with age – 77% of adults 18 to 29 and 83% of adults 30 to 49 enjoy sex. However, about one in five said they don’t enjoy it (13%).
Among young adults in particular, virginity is common. Globally, 38% of adults 18 to 24 are virgins. Asia-Pacific countries have the highest concentration of young adult virgins (84% in Malaysia and Singapore, 78% in Indonesia, 53% in Thailand, 47% in the Philippines). Virginity is also quite common among adults 18 to 24 in the US, at 53%. After age 25, fewer global adults are virgins (18% of adults 25 to 29, 9% of adults in their thirties, 6% of adults in their forties).
For young adults, sex is hard to come by – at least in part because many live with their parents. Close to half of adults 18 to 24 are not dating anyone currently (44%), 30% have never been in a serious relationship and 32% have never had a casual fling. The fact that 55% live with their parents likely has an impact on their love lives. However, when they move out – for many, around age 24 — they tend to move in with a partner. Among adults 25 to 29, just 13% say they’ve never had a serious relationship.
Casual sex isn’t as common as it might seem. Among adults 18 to 29, 29% have had a one-night stand, 15% have hooked up with multiple people within the same time period, and 13% have had a sexual experience with someone from work.
Most people meet casual flings in person, but technology plays an increasing role in people’s sex lives. Among adults 18 to 29 who have had a casual fling, 93% met in person and 48% via an app or website. Interestingly, we found that 20% of men 18 to 29 have had a fling with someone they met at church! Young adults are more comfortable with digital sharing than their slightly older peers – 22% of adults 18 to 29 have sent a naked picture to someone, compared with 16% of adults 30 to 49.
Apps have led to casual flings for some – and to serious relationships for a few. Among adults 18 to 29 who have used dating or hook-up apps, 30% of men and 23% of women had casual flings. A lucky few found serious relationships — 19% of men and 10% of women.
Parents are more satisfied with their sex lives than people without children. Parents in relationships were more likely to say they’re having the right amount of sex (60%, compared with 53% of child-free couples and 17% of singles). They were also more likely to rate their sex lives as “good” (74%, compared with 70% of child-free couples and 38% of singles).