Study Highlights Diversity in Sexual Behavior Across Globe

Evidence shows no general approach to sexual-health promotion will work everywhere

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to popular belief, there is not a trend toward earlier sexual intercourse across the globe, according to the results of a new study of sexual behavior in 59 countries that appears in a special online issue of The Lancet.

Kaye Wellings, F.R.C.O.G., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, U.K., and colleagues report that men and women tend to have their first sexual experience between the ages of 15 to 19, with men having intercourse earlier than women. The trend toward later marriage led to an increase in rates of premarital sex across the globe. Rates were highest in developed countries and men were more likely than women to have premarital sex.

Married people have the most sex and monogamy reigns across the world. Having two or more partners in the past year was more common among men than women and higher among residents of industrialized countries. Condom use has increased all over, but rates are still low in many developing countries.

"The comparative data are important in countering misinformation and quelling fears relating to sexual behavior. The selection of public-health messages needs to be guided by epidemiological evidence rather than by myths and moral stances," the researchers conclude.

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing