The September edition of Men’s Health India has published its annual sex survey, which gauges sexual attitudes and habits, was compiled from the responses of 57,796 respondents from 30 countries and bills itself as “by far the largest survey of its kind in the world.”
“Unlike so many other sex surveys, our poll is not information-heavy, and neither is it just about charting changing trends,” said Men’s Health India editorial director Jamal Shaikh. “We have tried to examine how men from different parts of the world are better than others in certain aspects of sex and relationships, and then tell you how to learn and improve.”
The results may raise some eyebrows—especially in India. For starters, Indian men are the least sexually active on average worldwide. They are sexually active less than once weekly and report having three partners in their lifetimes. Indian women reported having only two partners on average throughout their lives. By contrast, women from the U.K., U.S. and Australia reported a lifetime average of nine partners. Men from the Netherlands, Croatia and the U.K. scored high on various indicators included in the results.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
The Telegraph notes that the magazine’s editor Bobby Varkey attributes this lack of libidinous activity to a lack of privacy in many boisterous “joint family” homes shared by parents and their adult siblings as well as the strong cultural taboo against premarital and extramarital sex. Varkey also drew a link between this relative dearth of sexual activity and the nation’s chronic problems with rape and violence against women.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research takes a different view, pointing to the fact that 95 percent of Indians are in arranged marriages and 50 percent of them are hitched by the age of 18. “Sexual access is very much there for men,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to generalize that India is a (sexually) frustrated culture. Rape isn’t about sex but about men who think they can control women and instill fear in them.”
Supporting the idea that the subcontinent may be less “frustrated” than perceived, the survey also had other surprises in store. The flipside of the lack of privacy is an unexpected willingness to take the occasional walk on the wild side. For one, according to Varkey, this explains why the sight of couples making out in public is apparently such a common sight. More surprising, the survey tells us that Indian women are “six times as likely as American women to have done the deed in a taxi. No surprises there!”