35% of French women dissatisfied with their sex life, survey finds

The survey polled women in five European countries, including France and the UK, and found that women in general were having less sex today than five years ago

4 September 2021
A young couple in bed together

An expert at IFOP believes that the Covid-19 pandemic may have played in role in the fact that women in Europe are having less sex now than five years ago Pic: AimPix / Shutterstock

More than one third of French women are not satisfied with their sex life, according to a recent survey published September 3, while European women in five countries have generally been having less sex than five years ago.

The survey, carried out by IFOP at the request of technology company the Poken Company, surveyed  5,026 women in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK between March 1 to 5, 2021. 

It found that 35% of respondents in France said they were not satisfied with their sex life, which is higher than in the other four countries. 

German women were found to be the most satisfied, with only 23% of respondents saying they were unsatisfied. In the UK, 27% of respondents said they were unsatisfied, while 28% of the Spanish respondents and 30% of Italian respondents said the same.

Is less sex Covid related?

Aside from sexual satisfaction, the survey found that women in these countries were having less sex now than five years ago.

It found that out of all the women surveyed, 37% had not had sex in a month, 5% higher than in 2016.

The UK has the highest proportion of women who have been sexually inactive for over a month, at 47%, 4% higher than five years ago.

France is just behind with 41% of respondents saying that they had not had sex in over a month, 10% more than in 2016. 

François Kraus, head of the IFOP research unit ‘gender, sexuality and sexual health’, said the Covid-19 pandemic likely played a part in this.

"It is true that the main impacts of the crisis on people's psychological health (increased stress or anxiety, depression, harmful alcohol consumption, suicidal thoughts, etc.) are all likely to alter libido and/or sexual fulfilment," he said. 

However, these results should be taken with caution, as several studies in the US and the UK have shown that this downward trend in the number of young adults having regular sex was already present before the health crisis, he said. 

While overall women in these five countries had less sex during lockdowns and curfews, the women surveyed in the Mediterranean countries were the most active, with 25% of Spanish women and 19% of Italian women having more than two sexual encounters per week. 

Conversely, British women were less active, with 14% reporting having had more than two encounters per week, which was slightly less than the German women polled, with 15% of them having more than two sexual encounters per week. 

French women were in the middle, with 18% reporting having more than two sexual encounters per week.  

The study also looked at the number of sexual partners women in these countries have had over the course of their life, and found that women in northern countries were more likely to have had more. 

For example, 38% of the women polled in the UK reported having had more than five sexual partners in their lives, and 37% of French women.

It was higher in Germany, where 42% of respondents reported having had more than five sexual partners.

In Spain, 31% of women reported this, while in Italy it was 23%.

You can see the full results of the survey here (in French).

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