Sex in the Swiss cities: some like it straight, some have strayed and a few expect to experiment with same-sex relations at some point. But most are satisfied with their sex lives. These are some of the results of what's been called the largest-ever survey of Swiss bedroom antics.

Author:Mirza, Faryal
 
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It's nothing to do with below-the-belt smut but is serious academic research, carried out by Bern University. Researcher Dania Schiftan spoke to Swiss News, revealing hitherto unknown facts about the country's sexual history.

What makes this recent study stand apart is that an unprecedented 15,000 people took part across the country, spending from 20 minutes to an hour on the online survey.

"From the time it took to answer the questions, we can assume that few people took part just for fun," said Schiftan, a 26-year-old psychologist.

In the end, just over 6,300 replies from mostly German-speaking Switzerland were used to compile the statistics published earlier this year. The overwhelming majority, or about 75 per cent of respondents, were in a long-term relationship. They were between 20 and 49 years old, with an average age of 31.5 years.

The survey consisted of about 100 questions running the gamut from masturbation to fidelity, from sexual orientation to risky behaviour.

"The questions ranged from where you lived to when you had your first orgasm," Schiftan explained.

Schiftan said she wasn't surprised by the overall results.

"However, some of the negative results were saddening, such as the number of sexual attacks," she said.

About a quarter of women respondents said that they had been forced into a sexual act at least once. The number of men in a similar situation was a low 6.5 per cent. Shockingly, a third of these men and women said they had been raped.

Same-sex contact

Surprising too was the level of prejudice against homosexuals. Around 20 per cent expressed reservations when asked if homosexuality was acceptable.

Traditionally, Schiftan explained, boys learned about masturbation from other boys, regardless of their sexual orientation. Such contact was an important milestone in sexual development. It seems to be on the wane, however, as youth are scared of being labelled as gay.

"They accept that people are gay but don't want to get close to them. It's paradoxical given that being gay is a topic discussed openly," said Schiftan.

Interestingly, about 20 per cent of heterosexual women had already had sexual contact with a person of the same gender between the ages of 14 and 16, compared with a sixth of heterosexual men.

Schiftan said most women categorised themselves as "predominantly heterosexual". Men, on the other hand, classified themselves as one of two extremes: as either completely heterosexual or...

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