Hive Health Media

Sexual Trends in England

The 60’s was the ‘decade’ of free love and female emancipation and the most tangible result of all that change is the newly revealed statistic that women born in that era are having fewer children than the preceding generation. This new data from the National Statistics Office shows a picture of women marrying later, being more career focused and having children at a later life stage than at any other time. When looked at side by side with their grandmothers’ generation the picture is significantly different.

The Trend Towards Smaller Families

The average woman born in 1938 had either 2 or 3 children while this figure was halved by the end of the 60’s with women stopping at 1 or 2 children. The major difference came with the development of the contraceptive pill which finally gave women control over their family life and allowed choice of work for as long as they wished. Equally outstanding is the data that tells us that many more women born in the 60’s have chosen to have no children at all, 20% in fact. This compares with just over 11% of childless women born in 1938. It is possible that some of this social change can be explained by increasing infertility as well as improved contraception.

Smaller families and fewer children per woman is a trend that seems to be continuing. Women aged thirty now, are on average, having just one child compared to the 1.18 children to women born in ’65. These statistics are the visible tip of a complex social iceberg. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists feel there are a number of reasons for the declining birth rate. Social trends are at work as more women are going into the labour market than ever and improved work opportunities that may trigger the later family starts.

Also public health factors such as the results of mothers obesity, the damage due to alcohol abuse and smoking can all add to fertility issues. The ubiquitous safe oral contraceptives are only part of the family planning puzzle. To further cloud the picture there is other evidence of 1 in 4 young girls losing their virginity under 16. Much more than in earlier generations. This evidence is from the Health survey for England and the numbers are 27% of 16 to 24-year-old women first had sex when under 16 and this compares with just 22% of young men.

This 2010 survey gives a clear picture of changing sexual mores in England with women having sex earlier (under 16); 4% of the over 55s, 10% of the over 45s, and 14% of the 35s to 44s. Similarly with males, the figures are 15%, 18% and 21% for the same age groups.

[box type=”note”]Sexual promiscuity is similarly on the rise with 10% of youngsters 16 to 24 having had ten or more sex partners. In contrast 25% of women and 33% of men of the same age reported themselves to be virgins.[/box]

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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