The second Australian Study of Health and Relationships found that people in heterosexual relationships score just 1.4 times a week on average, down from 1.8 times a week when the study was conducted in 2003.
The study – published in the journal Sexual Health – collated data collected from 20,094 phone interviews with Australians aged 16 to 69.
The root cause – so to speak – of the collapse in coupling could lie in the pervasive influence of modern technology and working methods in home life.
“People take their laptops and smartphones to bed and are reading their work emails before they go to sleep at night,” explained lead author Juliet Richters, professor of sexual health at UNSW Australia, quoted by Lifehacker Australia. “It’s that feeling that you’re always on duty.”
The survey found that an unfortunate 14.6 per cent of respondents had had no sex in the four weeks before the survey and just under 30 per cent had to settle for a meagre nookie ration of less than once a week. Happier news was that 21 per cent had frolicked two to three times a week, but only a jubilant 1.7 per cent claimed to have hit the jackpot with a home run every day.
Young couples are more sexually active, with people in their 20s getting jiggy 2.1 times a week while those in their 60s get it on only once a week.
Yet the sap is clearly continuing to rise across the board, with most survey participants saying they enjoyed sex with their partner, and insisting they would ideally like to do the deed between two and four times a week.
But the survey also found that Australians are now becoming more relaxed in their approach to sexual practices once regarded as taboo. Some 88 per cent of men and 86 per cent of women have experienced oral sex, up from 79 per cent of men and 67 per cent of women a decade ago.
“Oral sex has stopped being the naughty exotic act that it was for my parents’ generation and has become a socially accepted part of foreplay or mucking about,” said Professor Richters.
Among its other findings, the study reveals that around half of men and three quarters of women in the 16-to-29 age range now shave, wax or laser their pubic hair.