Germany, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Australia round out the top five on the list. The US places sixth, while Taiwan has the least amount of promiscuity and ranks last, the study found.
Though men are generally more promiscuous overall, results show that the gender gap is narrowing and in some countries – such as the UK – women may even be becoming more promiscuous than men.
There are still major differences in the behavior of men and women, though, especially regarding the ages at which they are most sexually liberated. Men tend to have the most partners, and to think most about acquiring new ones, while in their twenties. Women’s promiscuity tends to peak in their thirties.
The study, which is being overseen by David Schmitt, professor of psychology at Illinois’ Bradley University, said that growing levels of promiscuity in all nations – among both men and women – might be related to the way today’s society is becoming increasingly willing to accept sexual promiscuity among both men and women. Other factors, such as a decline in religious taboos about extramarital sex, the growth of women’s rights, and a highly sexualized popular culture, may also have factored into to study results.
“Historically we have repressed women’s short-term mating and there are all sorts of double standards out there where men’s short-term mating was sort of acceptable but women’s wasn’t,” said Schmitt.
About the study: The study, which began in 2005 and is still being analyzed, was conducted using anonymous questionnaires collected from 14,000 people in 48 countries. Respondents were asked about numbers of partners and one-night stands, and their attitudes were assessed by asking them how many people they expected to sleep with over the next five years and how comfortable they were with the idea of casual sex. The results were combined into an index of “sociosexuality.” Most individuals scored between 4 and 65. The country with the highest rating was Finland, with an average score of 51. Taiwan, with 19, had the lowest score.
Britain scored 40, placing it 11th overall, behind countries such as Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia – but those countries, for purposes of the study, were not considered western industrialized nations.
Schmitt also said that the ratio of men to women is one of the factors that determines a country’s ranking.