Research Article

Sexual behaviour of young and middle aged men in England and Wales.

BMJ 1989; 298 doi: (Published 29 April 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;298:1137
  1. D. Forman,
  2. C. Chilvers
  1. Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.


    Establishing patterns of sexual behaviour is essential in predicting the future spread of HIV. The sexual behaviour patterns of a randomly selected sample of 480 white men aged 15 to 49 were obtained by interview and analysed in relation to age, social class, and area of residence. Over half of the men had first had intercourse before the age of 18 and over three quarters had done so before the age of 20. Age at first intercourse tended to be lower in more recent birth cohorts and in social classes III, IV, and V. Men in earlier birth cohorts tended to have had fewer heterosexual partners, both regular and casual, than those born more recently, but there were no social class or regional differences in the number of partners. Eight of the 480 men (1.7%, 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 2.3%) stated that they had had homosexual intercourse, four of whom had had one casual homosexual partner. Only one man had had more than 25 homosexual partners. The number of men having had homosexual intercourse was lower than is widely thought. When possible, data were checked with national data or other surveys and thought to be accurate. The difficulties in collecting data of this nature are discussed.