Less than half of SA women are happy with their sex lives


W24 recently surveyed nearly thousands of women, all local and over the age of 18. We asked many questions about life, love, money and family. And yes we talked about sex, baby. 

On a list of statements about sex that the respondents could tick to indicate which they agree with the first one was: I am completely happy with my sex life. The overall number of women who identified with this statement was 41%. 

Now while it sounds a bit bleak that almost 60% of women didn’t tick that option, it’s important to note the word “completely”. I don’t know about you, but in my experience very few people are ever completely satisfied with anything.

READ MORE: How to introduce a different kind of kink to your sex life

People complain about the littlest inconveniences whether it occurs in services, products or relationships, so the fact that over 40% are completely satisfied with their sex life is actually rather impressive. 

When we break it down in terms of age, the women least satisfied with their sex life make up the youngest demographic – those from 18 to 22. Only 32% ticked that option – so a 9% variance from the norm. 

Inversely, and rather cheeringly I thought, the largest percentage of those completely happy with their sex lives were the oldest age group – those from 61 to 65. 46% of these respondents identified with that statement. (And yes, we did poll women over 65, but the sample sizes aren’t large enough to be statistically significant.)

So if women aren’t satisfied with their sex lives, but they don’t want different partners or less sex, then what do they want?

So what do women want? 

Well, for starters let’s look at what they don’t want… According to these results South African women aren’t interested in many sexual partners. Only 1% of the entire group surveyed identified with the option: I want to have sex with different partners. The second lowest response was to the option: I want to have less sex. Only 2% chose that one. 

So if women aren’t satisfied with their sex lives, but they don’t want different partners or less sex, then what do they want? Well 20% wanted more frequent sex. Another 20% wanted more passionate sex. And another 20% wanted more satisfying sex – for both partners.

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Older millennials – those from 25 to 35 years old are most likely to want more frequent sex, while the youngest and the oldest are least likely to desire an increase in frequency. 

Who is not having sex? 

Of the overall sample, one in three women is not currently having sex with the highest frequency of celibacy falling in the youngest age group – 18 - 22. 54% of those women are not sexually active. This corresponds with the male sample, although the men remain in this period of drought up until the age of 26, by which most women have become sexually active.

The lowest incidence of celibacy is in the group of women aged 31-36. They have the most sex, and are also most likely to desire more frequent sex. I chatted to W24 sex and dating columnist, Dorothy Black to find out what she thinks about the findings: 

“I’m not surprised by these results,” she reckons.   

“Between 18 and 22, women are just beginning to explore themselves as individuals outside of a schooling or parental system, and starting the process of discovering their sexual selves in terms of the wider world and negotiating their sexual needs in this space.

It’s a time riddled with insecurity and learning, and can be more challenging than pleasant.

“By contrast, you have your older women who – regardless of their marital, work or caretaker status – have learnt some lessons, have probably gotten more comfortable in their skin, and can communicate more clearly about what they want, and feel more confident in improving their sex lives.”

Want to find out what else 16 000 of you thought about life love and everything in between, click here

READ MORE: She Says Female Nation Survey results

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