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Other people are having way, way less sex than you think they are


Research shows we think young people have a lot more sex than they do in reality '" and men have a particularly skewed view of the sex lives of young women.
As part of Ipsos' long-running studies on misperceptions, to be released in a new book, The Perils of Perception, we asked people in Britain and the US to guess how often people aged 18-29 in their country had sex in the past four weeks.
The average guess about young men in both countries is that they had sex fourteen times in the last month, when the actual number is just five in Britain and four in the US, according to detailed surveys of sexual behaviour.
Our guess would mean that, on average, young men are having sex every other day '" around 180 times a year '" compared with the more mundane reality of around 50 times. But that's not the most remarkable error in our guessing. Men are even more wildly wrong when they guess about young women's sex lives, in both the US and Britain.
Men think British and American young women are having an incredible amount of sex '" 22 times a month in Britain, and 23 times a month in the US. These guesses would be the equivalent of the average young woman having sex every...

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