Women are claiming to have had sex with more people than they did a decade ago and are more likely to report having sex in their mid-teens, in what researchers believe is an indication that sexual double standards are breaking down.
The Australian Study of Health and Relationships shows that heterosexual women claim on average to have had nine sexual partners in their lifetime, compared to 17.5 reported by heterosexual men.
At the last survey, women reported seven partners, and men 16.5.
University of Sydney public health researcher Chris Rissel said this appeared to be indicative of a growing social acceptance of sexually outgoing women.
“It might be that there’s a more liberal approach to actually having more partners,” Dr Rissel said.
“The unacceptability of women being promiscuous is slipping away.”
The median age of first vaginal intercourse was 17, which was roughly the same as it was a decade ago.