Women might be having more types of sex than before, but they're also having less sex overall, says the findings from Britain's third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles
(Natsal-3), conducted from 2010 to 2012.
8869 women who were polled for Natsal-3 reported higher incidences of sex before age 16, same-sex encounters and anal sex than their counterparts in the first and second Natsal surveys, conducted in 1990-1991 and 1999-2001 respectively, as well as a declining frequency in sexual encounters.
Sixteen percent of British women aged 16–44 reported having sexual experience or contact with a same-sex partner, 10 percent more than Natsal-2 and four percent in Natsal-1. A similar trend was found when it came to anal sex -- 15 percent of women reported having anal sex in the past year, compared with 11 percent of respondents in Natsal-2 and 7 percent in Natsal-1.
Some of these changes could simply be the result of people feeling more comfortable revealing their sexual practices than they've been in the past - due to the decreasing stigma around various sex acts or different survey techniques. As William Saletan at Slate puts it: "Even if you attribute most of it to changes in candor or interpretation, the willingness of so many women to admit to same-sex activity represents a big cultural shift."
Although the types of sex women are having seems to be increasing, they may not be having sex so frequently. The median number of times women reported having sex in 1990 was five times in four weeks. The number dropped to four in 2001, and three in 2012.
The drop could be due to people being busier these days. Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told The Gloss
: "Work comes into our home now and there is no strict divide. People are taking laptops and iPads to bed. People are working very, very hard. They are very busy."