Czechs and sex: a comprehensive survey
Last week saw the release of new data in an extensive on-going study of Czech sexual behavior, everything from how much time Czechs spend between the sheets to how good they are. Matters of the bedroom are the subject in today’s Talking Point.
Sex therapist Petr Weiss, the professor at Charles University who supervised the project, says among the most important findings since the survey began, is a rise in contraception use, leading to fewer unwanted pregnancies and consequently fewer abortions. He makes clear back in the early 90s, the situation was very different.
“I think the most marked changes are in the area of contraception use. Hormonal contraception use, especially, is used three-times more by women here than in the beginning of the ‘90s. And this is connected with a very marked decrease in the number of abortions. Now we have only a quarter of the number of abortions we had then. Before the revolution, if you can imagine we had more abortions a year than deliveries! And now, the situation is only 24 percent of the original state.”
If that sounds like Czechs have grown more responsible in bed, you’re right: in fact, contrary to what many in the Czech Republic tend to think about the youth today, the new generation is generally more careful about sex than their parent were, says Professor Weiss. Contrary to how it is often portrayed on TV and other media, the age that young people lose their virginity has not gone down: according to the study, young men and women on average have sex for the first time at around the age of 18. Professor Weiss says the new generation’s approach to sex is, well, more responsible, perhaps even amounting to something of a counter-sexual revolution – a rejection of the approach practiced by their parents. Professor Petr Weiss once again:
“I think that the main reason behind these changes is in the possibilities. Now young people have so many more opportunities. We could only travel to the family cottage at the weekend to… have sex. To drink alcohol. To do some gardening! We couldn’t study, read what we wanted, we couldn’t have a career, couldn’t go abroad. But our children can! So they can afford to delay their decision to get married, to have a child. They are more careful to avoid STDs and infections and to be careful. This is, in my opinion, the main reason for the change.”
But if young Czechs today are more careful – it isn’t the result, say, of comprehensive sex education. There, Petr Weiss says the country still has a long way to go. In his view, the quality of sex education now remains highly variable - largely depending on individuals. Schools that aren’t lucky enough to have dedicated professionals, he says, don’t have quality sex education.
“You know, this is an area where we have really big reserves. Because, only one-fifth of the population says it got information about sex from schools or the family; they get most of their information from friends and their peers. And we of course know that friends are often the least reliable or most inaccurate sources, so we have a lot of work to do in this area.”
“In America it used to be said that a whole generation was created on the backseat of the Ford Model T! And of course, until now the car remains the number one place for first sexual intercourse. But in the Czech Republic we have a culture of cottages and country houses. So it’s no surprise that they are the place chosen by more than half of Czechs for their first time.”
Other statistics revealed last week showed, for example, how often Czechs have sex – in that respect they don’t differ from their neighbors in other parts of Europe. Professor Weiss again:
“There is no difference in the amount of intercourse or the duration. We know that the average in foreplay is around 15 minutes and that the average for intercourse is also around the same. Czechs on average have sex twice a week, so that means that couples have about an hour in total on average per week.”
Still, there is a nagging suspicion this might be one area where respondents may have been a tiny bit less than honest: after all, other studies have suggested that the average time spent making love is often far shorter, roughly seven or eight minutes!
“It’s true that if we used a stopwatch we might find that 15 minutes was a little bit exaggerated!”
As for additional statistics? The study suggests that Czechs are growing more faithful than in the past, having fewer extramarital affairs - although half of male respondents and one third of females admit they have cheated. In terms of partners, men claim to having an average of around nine and women around five – meaning the truth lies somewhere in between. Pornography and commercial sex tend to play a far more important role in the fantasies and sex lives of Czech men rather than Czech women which also is not unusual. And no sex survey could be complete without discussing orgasms, including faking them. 48 percent of women said they had faked them on occasion, while 21 percent said often or always. Interestingly, 8 percent of men said they faked them sometimes too. As far as having orgasms is concerned, roughly a quarter of women said they had never had them, while almost 40 percent said they experienced orgasm between 25 – 75 percent of the time.
Finally, the most positive news, those behind the study say when it comes to sex Czechs remain highly liberal, open and tolerant and not straight-laced, which specialists say allows for happier and healthier sexual lives.
“The tolerance of Czechs in sexual questions is really very high. It’s really high compared to attitudes in even the US or England and France. Czechs attitudes on pre-marital sex, extramarital sex, contraception, abortion, homosexuality – really very liberal. We think that this is connected to the number of atheists in our society. I think this is the reason why we are so liberal when it comes to sex.”