Most people in their 30s have had an average of at least eight sexual partners

In the third part of our series, we examine what goes on in bedrooms across the country

Picture posed.

Fiona Dillon

PEOPLE in their 30s have had an average of eight or nine sexual partners – but they mostly aspire to a lasting relationship.

Just over one in 10 of Irish people in this age group claims to have had more than 20 partners so far, according to the landmark Herald/Today FM Behaviour and Attitudes survey.

The fascinating snapshot of what goes on in the bedrooms of people aged between 20 and 49, reveals that across all age groups, the average number of sexual partners is eight.

As might be expected, the vast majority (91pc) of the 1,005 adults questioned are ultimately seeking a lasting relationship.

And just 4pc of respondents revealed that they have never had sex. Somewhat worryingly, another 4pc said that they "don't know" how many sexual partners they have had.

Men in their 30s claim to have had more sexual conquests with an average of 10, compared to women in that age group, with seven.


Meanwhile, thirtysomethings living in Dublin had an average of 10 sexual partners, compared to those living outside the capital, with eight.

One in 10 people in their 20s claim to have had sex with more than 20 people, compared to 12pc of both those in their 30s and 40s.

However, 41pc of people in their 20s claimed a much smaller number, with between one and three sexual partners in total. And 7pc have had none. Those in their 20s reported having an average of between six and seven sexual partners to date. For those in their 40s, the figure was around eight.

Meanwhile, the average age at which all types of respondents believed it was appropriate for young people to begin having sex was 18 years of age.


There was, however, quite a wide variation of opinion around this issue.

One third of people in their 30s believed it was appropriate for young people to begin having sex at 17 years or even younger. However, a further 14pc suggested that people should wait until they are 19 or even older.

People in their 20s were the age group most likely to think it was Ok to embark on a sexual relationship at a younger age – some 45pc believed that 17 or younger was an appropriate age for young people to begin having sex. However, the survey uncovered radically different opinions between men and women in their 30s. A staggering 42pc of men in their 30s think that 17 or less is an appropriate age to begin having sex, compared to just 27pc of women.

People in their 30s living outside Dublin were more likely to think that people should wait, with 38pc suggesting 18 years of age was appropriate, compared to 40pc of people in the capital who favoured 17 or less.