Why do people in France say they're having less sex?

Adults in France, like in many western countries, are having sex less frequently – with the decline particularly noticeable in young people, a new survey shows. While the reasons are complex, the data indicates that generational shifts, new technologies and greater acceptance of different desires all play a part.

Among "sexually initiated" 18-69 year olds – people who have had sex at least once in their lives – nearly a quarter said they hadn't slept with anyone in the past 12 months: 22 percent among men and 26 percent among women.

The results are from a survey commissioned by sex toy maker Lelo and published this week by French polling institute Ifop.

That's 15 percent more than in 2006, when a larger study found that only 11 percent of women and 7 percent of men said they hadn't been sexually active during the previous year.

The figure is up across all age groups, but especially among young adults between 18 and 24 – 28 percent of whom reported being sexually inactive in the latest survey, compared to just 5 percent in 2006.

Among people in their 50s, the proportion of people not having sex rose steeply from 10 to 35 percent.

Shifting norms

Across the whole population – including people who've never had sex – fewer than half (43 percent) say they do it at least once a week. In 2009, another study put that figure at 58 percent.

In total, Ifop calculates that 41 percent of adults in France are not having sex at all.

Read more on RFI English

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