Global Sex Survey: Satisfied in the West

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Researchers surveyed more than 27,000 middle-aged and elderly people worldwide about their sex lives

Researchers surveyed more than 27,000 middle-aged and elderly people worldwide about their sex lives. Corbis hide caption

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A groundbreaking international sex survey reveals that couples in Western countries are the most sexually satisfied, while countries in the East appear to be less satisfied.

University of Chicago researchers surveyed more than 27,000 middle-aged and elderly people worldwide about their sex lives, regardless of sexual orientation. Alex Chadwick speaks with Edward Laumann, the University of Chicago sociologist who conducted the study.

Some of the study's highlights:

• Researchers surveyed sexual well-being in 29 nations, including countries they call "male-centered sexual regimes" where men generally control the sexual conduct of women, and "gender-equal sexual regimes" that emphasize equality between sexual partners.

• The survey polled 13,882 women and 13,618 men aged 40 to 80.

• Only 49 percent of men and 32 percent of women indicated that sex was extremely or very important to their overall life.

• Men who had multiple sex partners were less likely to be satisfied with their relationships, but more likely to believe that sex was important.

• Men report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than women, regardless of nation.

• Asian countries all reported low levels of sexual satisfaction and moderate to low levels of satisfaction with their relationships and the importance of sex.

• Israeli women placed the highest value on the importance of sex — the lowest score came from women in Taiwan. Among men, Brazil scored the highest and Thailand the lowest.

• Overall, people in Austria are most satisfied with their sex lives, and Japanese are least satisfied.

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