People are always wondering how they compare to others, or to the so-called norm. This is especially true when it comes to sexuality, as this vital part of our lives is hidden well behind closed doors. Fortunately, the question of the average number of sexual partners is researched in many sex studies, which exposes the data we need to satisfy our curiosity.
If you’re interested in the available “intimate numbers” showing how people compare across the Western world, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, fitted in these stats are the latest available comparisons and trends, along with a few caution notes for the interpretation of these figures.
Top 10 Most Intriguing Average Number of Sexual Partners Statistics
- The reported numbers of sexual partners by women are by half lower than those reported by men in many sex studies.
- 31% of Americans have had at least two overlapping sexual partners in their lifetime.
- 2% of women have had more than 50 lovers over their lifetime, regardless of their sexual orientation.
- In a 2014 survey, 30% of gay men stated having over 50 lovers.
- The residents of Louisiana reported the highest national number of partners – on average, 15.7.
- 16% of Americans between 18-60 years old claim to have had only one sexual partner in their lifetime.
- Americans are leading by the average number of intimate partners, sex statistics by country reveal.
- The average number of partners in a typical US college is nearly five.
- For men and women across the US and Europe, the ideal number of lifetime sex partners is around seven.
- 39.6% of US women and 21.8% of US men don’t disclose their “number” because they believe it’s too high.
American Promiscuity Statistics
1. In most sex studies, the reported number of sex partners by women is by half lower than that reported by men.
Given the fact that between genders, heterosexual individuals are represented by roughly the same share, this frequently encountered difference in reported numbers is statistically improbable.
A common headwall in many sex studies, this improbability has been analyzed in a 2018 Ipsos survey. It concluded that this happens due to the deliberately reduced numbers reported by women and the boosted numbers reported by men.
2. American men guess that the average number of partners for a woman by the time she is 54 is a whopping 27.
The average guess of American men, when asked to speculate on the number of partners that the average American woman has had by the time she is 54, was a staggering 27, following an Ipsos study data.
The actual average number, however, was less than half of this wild guess. American women believed other women had had 13 sexual partners, and they were roughly right, since the average number was estimated at 12.
3. Women are more sensitive than men to the social perception of their sexual promiscuity, statistics in a college study reveal.
A New Scientists study conducted with 200 unmarried college students back in 2002 revealed that the average number of their sexual partners differed depending on how their interviews were conducted.
Namely, the group of college girls who were told that their answers would be read reported 2.6 as the average number of their sex partners. On the other hand, those who were supposedly connected to a lie detector reported having 4.4 sexual partners, on average.
In the same experiment, college boys reported having 3.7 sexual partners when they thought their interview would be read vs. four lovers when the lie detector was included.
4. 31% of Americans have had at least two overlapping sexual partners in their lifetime.
(Relationships in America)
The results of a 2014 study researching the average sexual partners by the age of 60 reveal that almost a third of those interviewed have had, at one point, overlapping sexual relationships. These included non-monogamous couples as per open marriage statistics.
Most of these people that reported overlapping sexual partners had come from a family where parents were either divorced or never married. Those having parents that were still married were a minority, representing 26% of the people with simultaneous sexual partners – a frequent occurrence in most cheating statistics.
5. Approximately 10% of women have had more than 15 sexual partners, CDC statistics on the average number of sexual partners reveal.
Moreover, in 2002, 9.2% of sexually experienced American women reported having more than 15 sexual partners. This percentage amounted to 10.1% according to official data published by the CDC, for the period between 2011 and 2015.
On the other hand, the share of men claiming the same was more than double (23.2%) in 2002. However, unlike the trend for women, this percentage for men dropped to 21.1% during the same period.
6. Female promiscuity statistics show that only 2% of women have had more than 50 lovers over their lifetime, regardless of their sexual orientation.
(Relationships in America)
The share of women who had sexual experiences with a greater number of partners was shown to be the same for heterosexual women as for women who are bisexual or homosexual. Namely, 2% of the two groups confirmed having had more than 50 sexual partners in their lifetime.
The picture was not the same when comparing the number of partners between gay, bi, and straight men, with some 3% of the last having 50 intimate partners or more.
7. The average number of sexual partners for gay men in their lifetime is 30.
A 2016 survey of over 1,000 LGBTQ people conducted by Match found that the average number of sexual lifetime partners that lesbian women reported was not very different than that of heterosexual women. It averaged at around 12, whereas gay men reported 30 average sexual partners.
8. In a 2014 survey, 30% of gay men stated having over 50 sexual partners.
(Relationships in America)
A 2014 survey that conducted over 15,000 interviews across the US shows that gay men have the highest median number of sexual partners. More precisely, 30% of self-declared gay men stated having more than 50 sexual partners, while only 2% of lesbian women reported the same number.
These are, however, large numbers considering that over 11 million people nationwide are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
9. A study on the average number of sexual partners by state reveals that the residents of Louisiana have had the highest national numbers of lovers, averaging at 15.7.
The sexual number report in the US reveals that the average is different for each state, with Louisiana being at the higher end. Utah residents are at the other end, with only 2.6 sexual partners on average. This study encompassed 41 of the American states, amassing around 2,000 interviews in 2016.
Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Nebraska were also above average, according to the map published by Superdrug Online Doctor.
Average Number of Sexual Partners by Age
10. 16% of Americans between 18-60 years claim to have had one sexual partner in their lifetime.
(The Sun) (Relationships in America)
A 2014 report by Relationship in America shows that most heterosexual men and women in America have had between four and six lovers in their lifetime. Moreover, around 16% of them claimed to have had only one lover. In comparison, 14% of the British from the 2018 survey stated having had only one sexual partner.
11. Students of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, are reporting a higher average number of partners in college than students of any other US college.
The student corps in the Temple University in Philadelphia is the most sexually promiscuous, counting 10.8 lovers per student on average, as per College Statistics study. Rutgers University in New Jersey, with 9.3 as the average number of intimate partners, ranks second on the list, followed by Texas A&M University.
The most prudish college in the US, according to this study of about 2,000 surveyed students, was Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus. This college reported 4.15 lovers per student.
12. The average number of sexual partners in college for an average US student is around five.
In a study interviewing actual or former college students, researchers found out that the mean average number of lovers was almost the same for both men and women – 4.98 vs. 4.90.
Furthermore, the results of the survey show that, for women, 43% of their total number of sexual partners came from the time they were college students. In comparison, the college years brought only 35% of the total sexual experience for men.
13. The CDC promiscuity statistics reveal that the median number of sexual partners for men aged 25-44 between 2011 and 2015 is lower than the one reported in 2002.
Data reported by the CDC shows that American men in the age group 25-44 years claimed a median number of opposite-sex partners of 6.1 in the period 2011-2015. This number is lower than the 6.7 reported in 2002.
On the other hand, the median number that women of the same age group have reported was 3.8 sexual partners in 2002. This increased to 4.2 in the period 2011-2015.
14. American men’s average number of sexual partners by the age of 54 is 19.
A 2018 Ipsos study on misconceptions, including over 200,000 interviews in over 40 countries, found out that the average number of sexual contacts Americans reported by the time they turned 54 was 19.
15. Americans, British, and Australians guessed the average number of partners for people in the other two countries.
A 2018 international study found out that, while people have many misconceptions about the young people’s sex life, their speculations were quite accurate when it came to guessing the number of sex partners people have had in the US, Britain, and Australia. Results confirmed the speculations that 17 is the median number of lovers for Australian and British men. As already mentioned, for Americans, this number is 19.
Average Number of Sexual Partners by Country
16. Only one-quarter of Americans and Europeans have never been asked how many sexual partners they had.
A recent study that surveyed over 1,000 Europeans and Americans revealed that over half of the surveyed Americans (54%) thought that romantic partners should disclose their sexual history before having sex. 35% of Europeans shared the same opinion.
Another proof that Europeans are more secretive is that 43% of them thought they should never disclose their sexual history, in comparison with 29% of Americans who thought the same.
17. Sexual promiscuity statistics show that 39.6% of US women and 30.4% of European women do not disclose the number of their sexual partners because they believe it is too high.
Almost 40% of American women and 21.8% of American men believed that their numbers are too high, sex statistics reveal. Figures in a recent survey conducted by Zava show that 30% of European women and 19% of European men share the same reason for lying about their “numbers.”
In total, 11.6% of men and 10.3% of women didn’t discuss how many lovers they had with their partners because they feared their partner’s reaction.
18. Americans are leading by the average number of sexual partners, research by country reveals.
In 2016, Americans across the country reported, on average, 7.2 lovers in their lifetime. Following Superdrug Online Doctor data, the US population had a greater number of sexual partners even compared to the most sexually promiscuous European countries, which, according to this study, were the Netherlands and the UK, averaging at 6.9.
19. For men and women across the US and Europe, the ideal average number of sex partners is around seven.
A 2016 sexual survey by Superdrug, conducted on 2,000 participants from the US and Europe, found out that, for women, an average of 7.5 sexual partners is the ideal number. The sentiment was almost completely shared by male participants too. They thought that, on average, 7.6 partners is the ideal number.
Actually, these given opinions were very near the real figures that were reported by the interviewed groups. Namely, the number of average sex partners that European and American women reported in this survey was seven. Men reported having 6.4 sexual partners, on average.
20. English and Dutch have the highest numbers of sexual partners among the European nations, 2016 survey reveals.
According to a 2016 survey, among European countries, The Netherlands and the UK reported somewhere between six and seven sexual partners, on average, which was the European maximum.
What’s more, despite the common misconception that those living in the southern parts of Europe are more inclined to sexual promiscuity, the Italians interviewed in this study reported the lowest number of sexual partners, together with Belgium – on average, 5.4.
21. A UK survey shows that Gen Xers had the most sexual partners of all adult British generations.
The results of the 2018 study revealed that baby boomers had the lowest average (10.7) when it comes to the number of partners they slept with. For women, this was 7.4 partners, and for men, 12.9. In comparison, millennials reported 11.6 as an average amount of sexual partners, a figure which can only go up by the time they reach the boomer’s age.
On the other hand, the youngest British adults, born after 1995 (Generation Y), already had 5.6 intimate partners on average.
At the time of the survey, those aged 40-55 (Gen Xers) were the most sexually promiscuous. They reported, on average, 13.1 lovers. Men of this generation reported 16.1 lovers and women 10.1.
22. The French are the most open-minded when it comes to the question – how many sexual partners is too many?
The French believe that any number above 16 is too many, and they are the most open-minded among Europeans in regard to this question. Namely, for the French, the ideal number of partners during a lifetime is anything between two and ten, as per the 2016 survey conducted by Superdrug.
Austrians were also open-minded when it came to this question, and they believed that 13 sexual partners or more is “too many.”
23. For Austrians, those with an average number of sexual partners lower than seven are “too conservative.”
Belgians and Austrians have the broadest limit for the number of lovers people have when they belong to the “too conservative” group, an international sex study shows. Belgians consider people with four lovers or less very conservative. For Austrians, people with a lower average number of sexual partners than seven are very conservative.
For Germans and Dutch, this number was three, and for most other European countries, two sexual partners was too few.
Whether you’re trying to figure out how you or somebody else fits into these stats, it is important to note that, when it comes to the number of lovers, there is no “normal” that fits into every culture, sexual orientation, gender, or environment. Our sexual behavior is guided by the collective moral values of our environment and the opportunities we have to express our sexuality.
Keeping this in mind, the average number of sexual partners alone is not enough to judge someone’s character. Ideally, we should only perceive it as what it actually is – a number.