By Maria Cheng
The Associated Press
LONDON -- When it comes to the bedroom, the British may be getting less busy, but more creative. According to results from the latest national sex survey, Britons are having sex less often - but the kinds of sex they're having are more diverse than in the past.
Scientists also found the sex habits of British women are changing faster than those of men, with a fourfold jump in the proportion of women who had a same-sex experience since the first survey was done in 1990, from 4 percent to 16 percent. In comparison, the numbers of men who reported a same-sex experience have remained virtually unchanged since 1990, at about 7 percent.
On average, the number of sexual partners reported by women has doubled, from four to eight, whereas the number for men rose from nine to 12. The research also found an increasing sexual repertoire among both genders, with higher levels of anal and oral sex reported.
"It reflects a shift away from sex being seen purely in the context of reproduction toward a greater emphasis on pleasure and recreation," said Kaye Wellings, head of social and environmental health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the leaders of the research. She said similar results about changes in women's sex lives have been found in France.
The study found half of Britons reported having sex at least three times in the last month, versus five times when the first survey was done in 1990. Wellings noted that drop occurred at the same time as major changes in the use of technology and the financial crisis, which could interfere with a regular sex life.
"People are taking their iPhones and iPads into bed," she noted. "They're also working harder and maybe have less time for sex," she said.