‘Soulless’, ‘energetic’ and ‘challenging’ – to name but a few responses. In the year of Fifty Shades… not everyone is spending their evenings clad in Agent Provocateur. You spoke to us candidly about your sex lives over the last 12 months
S.E.X. It’s no understatement to say it can be something of a sensitive subject. For some of us, chatting about what we get up to behind closed doors comes easily. For others, discussing our bedroom antics is about as appealing as trying one of the tasty snacks on I’m A Celebrity…. But if one thing remains constant, and if your census results have reminded us of anything, it’s that we are all – regardless of age, occupation and income – fascinated by sex. In fact, of all the results to come out of the survey, perhaps the most surprising were those to do with your sex lives. We found that not only is there a gaping disparity between how much sex you are having (once a week on average) and the amount you’d like to be having (43.6% of you want sex 2-3 times weekly), but a considerable 18.5% of you can’t even remember the last time you had sex. And that wasn’t the only surprise; our statistics revealed that while 10.4% of you have had just one sexual partner, a third of you (33.1%) have had sex with between 11 and 100 people. Porn also plays a significant role for almost a third of you (32.1%) who watch it with your partner or alone.
The Stylist Census is the biggest survey ever conducted by a British women’s magazine, and if the sheer breadth of answers, from ‘seven days a week swinging from the chandeliers’, to ‘once a month after Homeland’, reveal anything, it’s that we all have very different appetites. We asked what your sex lives were like in 2012.
Sexual partners: 1
In 2012, my sex life has been...: satisfying and quite varied.
Not sure whether this had anything to do with 50 Shades of Grey (I like to think it didn't, but I imagine that on some level it probably did) but my partner and I have tried some new things in the past few months, including toys. I also came off the pill too which changed things a bit since I found my sex drive increased. I also lost some weight which made me feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin and so more willing to take my clothes off!
I’m happy with my sex life because I think because we've been together for six years so know each other very well and we're comfortable enough to suggest things and not feel embarrassed. I feel like we must be perfectly matched because a lot of people ask how I know he's good in bed if I've never known anything else, but I know that he definitely does it for me, and really, that's what matters!
Sexual partners: I’ve never kept tally but between 40 and 50 I think
In 2012, my sex life has been...: amazing, now that I've been with my partner for more than a year, we are totally comfortable with each other, we both enjoy sex, I have better contraception and we know what each other like. We experiment every now and then, but enjoy the missionary just as much which is comforting is a wonderful way of being close to each other. We do have sex 3 to 4 times per week and usually once or twice a day over the weekend! I’m happy with my sex life however, there are a few positions that I'd like to be better at. And I would like to learn how to satisfy him in more ways and to be better than I currently am.
Sexual partners: I have had three "serious" sexual partners including my current one. And I have had brief encounters with another three in my life...
In 2012, my sex life has been...: inconsistent! It does so much depend on both my partner's and my concerns. I tell myself I must learn to leave troubles and work issues away when stepping into home. Sometimes I wish we didn't know each other so well so that we are more forced to hide some things from the other part. Especially irrelevant as well as fastidious daily issues. We should find shelter at home. I’m happy with my sex life when I feel happy and confident about the rest of the aspects in my life. That makes it tricky because it's not easy to feel like that when you don't prioritize and very stupid things can make you feel unhappy.
Sexual partners: 4
In 2012, my sex life has been...: less exciting than last year. Who knew getting a puppy would be a bit like having a baby on that front! I’m generally happy with my sex life, although I’d like it if life didn’t get in the way as often as it does. More often than not we’re too tired in the evening after busy days at work, and lie ins are now a thing of the past.
Sexual partners: 5
In 2012, my sex life has been...: non-existent, but I'm not looking for casual sex or a relationship that will only last a few years. On one hand I'm not happy because I miss that contact & affection but on the other I'd rather wait for the right person, the person that I'll spend the rest of my life with. I'm willing to enjoy everything else in life for now & hopefully a great sex life will follow once I find him. I'm a true romantic & a big believer in marriage so I'm willing to wait.
Sexual partners: 10
In 2012, my sex life has been...: Fantastic as I've been in a relationship with my partner for 4 years.
I'm happy with our sex life as we don't put pressure on each other to have sex if one us isn't in the mood we don't mind if the other pleasures themselves. We change styles but mostly really enjoy missionary about 3 times a week.
Sexual partners: This year, so far, I had six sexual partners plus of course X who I meet more or less once a week.
In 2012, my sex life has been...: very enjoyable. I briefly explain my situation. Three years ago I split up with my ex-partner of 11 years. A little more than a year ago I met X through friends. And since then we have had a very passionate “sexual relationship”. We are not together as we could say but we both really truly genuinely enjoy each other company and like the same things, food, wine and of course… sex! We both are having other sexual partners as we are both very flirty and not thinking of settling down…
I have been extremely happy with my sexual life this year. Firstly because as I said I enjoy seeing X a lot and also because I have a demanding job which can be stressful and sex brings me calm and relaxes me like a good session of yoga! Then even though I am nearly 40 I feel sexually confident and sex is really a natural thing that I would talk with my friends freely.
Sexual partners: 16
In 2012, my sex life has been...: consistent. I got engaged at the start of the year so the sex has been more loving I suppose and more intense with the security of knowing how loved I am by my partner. It’s been good but also I've worked away from home a lot this year so ironically it’s been less frequent but better quality I guess.
I’m happy with my sex life as it’s with the man I love. I do wish we had more time and energy, perhaps tried more new things in the bedroom but we do have the rest of our lives to try things out so I am not worried. Sex does peak and trough in any relationship and as long as you are having it and enjoying it, it shouldn't matter how much.
Sexual partners: 12
In 2012, my sex life has been...: with the same person, which is rather nice. I've been with my boyfriend for almost two years, and as much as I hate to sound smug, I still really enjoy having sex with him.
I’m happy with my sex life. I'm not saying that it’s fireworks every time, but I’ve never been so comfortable with someone. In hindsight, I don't think I’ve felt as strongly about previous partners - which I’ve realised, for me, is important when it comes to sex. I found sex in a previous relationship became too predictable. Not bad, just the same (even the same time of day - after breakfast and a shower, if you're interested). I've also spent a long time being single - and I didn't hang about. But I never really felt comfortable, so the sex was perfunctory and often drunken, so I generally woke up the next day wishing I was anywhere else, ideally with someone I really liked.
Sexual partners: 3
In 2012, my sex life has been...: difficult. The more I understand about what it is to be a woman and about relationships the more I realise how sex and women's sexuality has been warped by the entertainment industry. They pretend that it is a tool you can use to entice or control men and to make you feel better about yourself. In fact, it can so often be something that breaks relationships and destroys self worth. This year I have been really struggling to rebuild a relationship with my ex boyfriend and we have used sex as a form of regaining intimacy but I can safely say that in fact what it has done has made me feel even more worthless. Sex is so dangerous in the wrong situation.
I have had sex with three men, only one of whom I have loved, and I regret the other two experiences considerably. I believe that they devalued both me and them, and that experiences like this can only ever be harmful in the long run. I now believe that to give yourself completely in sex requires submission and a revealing of oneself that can only happen in a stable loving relationship and only results in damage when it occurs outside of this. In fact, I often wish that I had waited until I got married to have sex. I love sex but it is so so much better under these circumstances. It makes me incredibly sad to think of women like me feeling that they need to be sleeping with men they don't know in order to "be complete" by today's standards and they are not experiencing the amazing experience that sex can be.
Sexual partners: 5
In 2012, my sex life has been...: pretty uneventful unfortunately! I broke a 3yr 8month drought by sleeping with an ex-colleague in October after an excessively lengthy build up.
I’m not really happy with my sex life as there was too big a gap in between partners, despite me putting myself out there and being very active on the online dating scene since May 2012. I don’t have 3 heads or weigh 500 stone so I really don’t understand! I’m in the prime of my 30’s so hoping for bigger and better things to come in 2013! However I do think men are intimidated by successful women who have built up their careers, travel extensively for pleasure and who try out new hobbies and activities.
Sexual partners: 21
In 2012, my sex life has been...: healthy for the most part, with a few different partners, some regularly and some just the once. A mix of passionate and slow and quick, rough and meaningless, and with men I've liked, fancied and felt intimate with as well as a couple of friends.
I'm happy with my sex life. I don't have a boyfriend or partner at the moment, but I feel more confident with age and more able to experiment. I am happy waiting to see who comes along and not feel tied down. I enjoy the unpredictability and flexibility of being single.
Sexual partners: 12
In 2012, my sex life has been...: a contrast. I began the year single, in my first year of university and made the most of it, to a degree. There were a couple of very casual, regular partners and a couple of one night stands. By the summer I had settled down in a serious relationship that probably I was the most surprised about. But it turned out to make me very happy and reminded me how good it is to really get to know just one important partner sexually.
I’m very happy with my sex life. I’m young and had a serious relationship as well as more casual sex, but it’s only now that I feel that I've reached a level of maturity in sex. It’s the first time I've really engaged with my partner on the ins and outs of what I like as well as exploring areas neither of us felt as comfortable doing previously. Overall, I am very happy as I have discovered that communication really can make sex that much better.
Sexual partners: More than one less than ten
In 2012, my sex life has been...: better than ever before. Married life has given me the confidence and freedom to ask for what I want when I want it, with no need for embarrassment or shame, and no game-playing. If we both want it at the same time, it's on. If not, that's ok too.
I am really pleased with my sex life. It might have been a rocky start when I was younger but as I get older, my sex life gets better. I had one year where I kind of lost my mind and went on a "self-discovery" rampage (stayed safe and baby-free, so no real damage there), but besides that weird time period, it's been great. And ultimately, that crazy year had to happen for me to even find my husband in the first place, who was of course right under my nose during that year.
Sexual partners: 12
In 2012, my sex life has been...: quiet. My partner works long hours away from home, and I have started commuting to London, so we are often out of sync with our sleep patterns or generally tired! We remain tactile, with plenty of hugs, but sex is limited to once a week at best, often less frequent.
I'd like things to be a bit more fiery - I know he still finds me attractive but we never seem to get round to anything. But then we have been together for 4 years so a certain amount of calming down is inevitable.
Sexual partners: 12
In 2012, my sex life has been...: really good - I'm in a steady relationship and we have sex at least once a day. I'm enjoying sex more than ever as I feel 100% comfortable with my boyfriend and, although an important part of our relationship, we both take it really lightly and focus on having fun.
I am happy with my sex life, my boyfriend is very unselfish and up to try most things.
Sexual partners: To be honest I gave up counting in my early 20s.
In 2012, my sex life has been...: eventful! I split up with my fiancé of 5 years and met a new partner, so I have gone from boring and predictable, once every couple of weeks sex - to new and exciting and nearly every day sex. I had a much higher sex drive than my previous partner that caused issues and now I'm getting the sex I want.
At the moment I am very happy with my sex life, I love being experimental with my new partner, finding out what we both do and don't like.
Sexual partners: 25
In 2012, my sex life has been...: satisfactory. There have been highs and lows, when it’s good it’s very very good, but it can be hard when yours and your partner’s appetite don't match exactly.
I'm not dissatisfied with my sex life but I would like more sex and more spontaneity, and to be a little more experimental. I sometimes feel that it's hard to balance mine and my partner’s desires. As I have had more sexual partners than him and I am 5 years younger it’s hard to find the balance between spicing things up, without denting his confidence.
Sexual partners: 3
In 2012, my sex life has been...: wonderful. Having sex with someone you are comfortable to be yourself with is the best feeling. I am happy with my sex life as I have sex regularly with my very sexy partner.
Sexual partners: 50
In 2012, my sex life has been...: sparse. I'm working, I have two small children: I'm frankly too knackered most of the time and it really only happens because I do it to keep my husband happy (I never ever thought I'd ever do it 'out of duty' but there you are...) I’m totally disinterested at the moment - it's just not on my agenda at all, I'd rather sleep! (Again, I never ever thought I'd say that!)
Sexual partners: 55 men and 15 women
In 2012, my sex life has been...: soulless, unattached and mindless with the wrong people - ex boyfriends, pointless flings and sex with taken men. I'm utterly unfulfilled.
I’m single for the first time in 10 years - the sex has never been so dreadful! Women are desperate to be single - I couldn’t wait to be free and I’m now longing for a long term partner.
Sexual partners: 1
In 2012, my sex life has been...: improving! With two small children and very unbalanced "work life balance" there wasn't a lot of loving going on. The work situation has improved 100% and my husband and I are finding more time for each other. It amazes me that after 10 years together we are still finding and learning new tricks.
I am happy with my sex life. For the last three years it has been few and far between for us - two small children and not a lot of time to ourselves, so sex has been on the back burner. I'm sure my husband would say he'd like to have more but I'm happy with the way things are at the moment - it's regular and very enjoyable.
Sexual partners: 8
In 2012, my sex life has been...: great generally! I'm married and I'm always half-joking to my husband of just over a year that I need it three times a day. We try but we have catch up sessions on the weekend. Typically this averages to once a day. I’m happy with my sex life but could always do with more. My hubby is great in trying to meet my needs, but most of all, he seems to be able to read my mind about trying new things. All very PG, nothing too adventurous.
Sexual partners: 1
In 2012, my sex life has been...: a learning experience. Two new jobs, new city, and lots of work for both. Try to get as much done in little time but I have also learned to know what I enjoy and explain, or instruct, how to get it.
I am happy with my sex life. My husband is very pleasing and understanding and follows instructions well. I am able to please him as well. It's both giving and receiving.