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Britain most promiscuous of all

The British are the most promiscuous of any big western industrial nation. In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, US, France, Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

world Updated: Nov 30, 2008 12:56 IST

The British are the most promiscuous of any big western industrial nation, a new study has revealed.

In an international index measuring one-night stands, total numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Britain comes out ahead of Australia, the US, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

Britain's ranking was ascribed to factors such as the decline of religious scruples about extramarital sex, the growth of equal pay and equal rights for women and a highly sexualised popular culture.

The researchers behind the study say high scores such as Britain's may be linked to the way society is increasingly willing to accept sexual promiscuity among women as well as men.

"Historically we have repressed women's short-term mating and there are all sorts of double standards out there where men's short-term mating was sort of acceptable but women's wasn't," said David Schmitt, a professor of psychology at Bradley University, Illinois, who oversaw the research.

The study was conducted by asking more than 14,000 people in 48 countries to fill in anonymous questionnaires. Respondents were asked about numbers of partners and one-night stands, and their attitudes were assessed by asking them how many people they expected to sleep with over the next five years.

The results were combined into an index of so-called "socio-sexuality", the term used by evolutionary psychologists as a measure of how sexually liberal people are in thought and behaviour. Most individuals scored between 4 and 65.

The country with the highest rating was Finland, with an average of 51. Taiwan came lowest, with 19.

Britain scored 40, placing it 11th overall, behind countries such as Latvia, Croatia and Slovania -- but it was highest among the major western industrial nations.