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Exactly who this book might appeal
to is moot, but the cover has a man’s hands undoing the bra on a female with
her back to the camera, the amount of freckling indicating with some certainty
that she has spent a lot of time on Bondi Beach, as we all have. What else she
might have been doing is perhaps more obscure and requires some reading beneath
To those overseas, the sex lives of
Australians may have no allure: after all, the late soccer magician, George
Best was heard to remark that Australian men are Neanderthals, the women look
like Soviet shot-put athletes...well maybe he never bumped Elle, Olivia, Delta,
Nicole et al who can hold their own.
Well what is of interest here: this
book is based on the Australian Study of Health and Relationships, a telephone
survey conducted recently in 2003.
So what do we find out about how Australians set about
pursuing the genetic and evolutionary drive to propagate the species?
Half the women now 50+ had sex
before they were 20; Of those now that age, half did it prior to turning 17;
unemployed youngsters are much more likely to have sex earlier in life (get a
job); the younger the girl is the first time, the more likely she was coerced
and regrets it; The youngest age recorded for first time intercourse was 7, the
oldest, 53; starting before 16 means you are more likely to have had sex with
more partners, more likely to have tried oral and anal sex, more like likely to
have had a same gender experience, identify as bisexual, and have had a STD;
Still being a virgin by 30 means you are most likely to stay that way: 3% of
Australians never have sex at all, a minority of these are gay; Intercourse
rather than oral sex is most likely the first experience, with a typical gap
being six years between one and the other; the younger ones are pretty close to
50/50 though, with younger girls experiencing oral sex within a year after
first intercourse; today’s teens are younger when they start, but safer, using
condoms or contraception much more commonly; The myth of teenage free for all
sexual proclivity is just that, a myth, propagated by older adults who remember
how narrow minded the approach was when they were young…..
What are they doing?
Oral sex is more common now;
heterosexual anal sex relates to 21% of men and 15% of women; 5% of men and 31%
of women did not have an orgasm the last time they had sex, with vaginal intercourse
providing only 50% of women with an orgasm; Manual stimulation upped this to
71%, and cunnilingus upped this to 86%; in order to be sure of having an
orgasm, no matter what gender you are, choose a woman partner! That’s what I
25% of men want it daily, 8% of
women; the majority have sex less than twice a week; 86% and 69% want more than
they are getting; there is one age group where 8% of men appear to want less
sex than they are getting: men under 20! People with one child under 5 years
old have sex less often, otherwise, the same as childless couples.
How many partners?
Men average 17 partners, women
about 7. Bisexual and Lesbian women have had more male partners, about 300%
more, since they are unlikely to marry and settle down.
To write more would be to give the
whole book away and you wouldn’t have to buy it at all. The last 70-odd pages
are reference material, and the last chapter, 17, before this material, is a
summary of the findings, with a lot of more detail.
Each chapter has a window with some
titillating fantasy occasionally, used as an illustration for a typical
chapter, typical scenario. The book is otherwise serious stuff though,
enlightening the world, and Australian and New Zealanders, to what over 19 000
of their compatriots are doing under the covers.
The style is simple and matter of
fact, the factoids fast and furious, the book not engaging enough to warrant a
continuous read, although that wouldn’t take long, but engaging enough to dip
into while eating breakfast cereal, or in the bathroom. It would make a nice
PowerPoint presentation, it's that kind of stuff, a kind of did-you-know
bubblegum wrapper insert genre of interesting facts that just may make no
difference in your life whatsoever, but enliven your after dinner chats with
friends who may be curious about what we in Oz get up to.
Sugarman, Ph.D., Conjoint Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia