Updated 17 July 2015

Orgasmic SA not satisfied

When it comes to sex, South Africans may be having the most orgasms but in other respects they are failing to set the bedroom alight, a new sexual satisfaction survey reveals.

When it comes to sex, South Africans may be having the most orgasms, but in other respects they are failing to set the bedroom alight, the 2007 Durex Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey reveals.

Along with Italians, Mexicans and the Spanish, two thirds of South Africans claim to orgasm regularly, compared to 48% of people globally.

We are also having more sex than most others - and spend more time on it too. However, just half of South Africans say they are fully satisfied with their sex lives.

The study found Nigeria to be the most sexually satisfied nation, at 67%. Next is Mexico (63%), followed by India (61%) and Poland (54%). The Japanese are the least satisfied (15%), while only one in four people in France are fully satisfied. On a global scale, 44% of all respondents claim to be completely satisfied.

The survey is a new study which questioned more than 26 000 respondents across 26 countries about every aspect of their sex lives in a bid to chart what constitutes sexual wellbeing.

Frequent sex

South Africans have on average sex 120 times a year – considerably more than the global average of 103. The Greeks have the most sex – at 164 times a year – with Brazil (145) next, followed by Poland and Russia (both 143). The Japanese are the least sexually active nation, having sex just 48 times a year.

And we spend more time having sex than many others, with each of our sessions lasting an average 20 minutes, compared to the worldwide average of 18. The Nigerians have the longest sessions (on average 24 minutes minutes per session, while Indians have the quickest sex, at 13 minutes.

But while two thirds of South Africans say that sex is important, only 54% see their sex lives as exciting.

The study shows that in the main, sexual satisfaction is about positive physical and emotional experiences, although lack of pain and problems have a role to play too.

Emotional aspects

While South Africans are well ahead in terms of physical aspects – frequency of sex, time spent having sex and the ability to orgasm – we could do better emotionally.

More than half (51%) of us would like more time alone with our partners, a similar number (49%) are seeking more love and romance, 44% want a better idea of how we can please our partners and 42% would like improved communication and intimacy.

Hectic, modern lifestyles are having an impact too, with 55% of all respondents wanting to feel less stressed out and tired, 47% wanting to inject some fun and more than two in five (42%) wishing for a higher sex drive.

Keen to experiment
However, we are not adverse to a little experimentation, with more than half of respondents (52%) saying they are keen to try out new activities. It is role play (16%), sexual fantasies (14%), bondage (12%) and giving anal sex (11%) that top the wishlists.

“The survey highlights a number of areas where improvements can be made and the challenge for South Africans now is to do something about it," states the report.

“Taking time out with our partners, becoming more attuned to their needs, de-stressing ourselves and our lifestyles and introducing a little old fashioned love and romance will all help to boost our satisfaction levels further!”

Painful sex

The study also reveals how painful sex and conditions can impact on sexual satisfaction, with a third of people in South Africa saying they have experienced painful sex at some time in their lives.

More than half (52%) of women have suffered from vaginal dryness, while three in ten men have experienced difficulty having an erection, and 37% difficulty in maintaining one. More than a third of South Africans (35%) have reported loss of libido.

A South Africa expert said: “Frequency of sex, time spent on it and ability to orgasm do not necessarily equate to satisfaction. What’s clear here is that by talking through problems with your doctor or with your partner, satisfaction levels could easily be improved.”

Globally, of those who are currently dissatisfied with their sex lives, 44% of dissatisfied women have experienced vaginal dryness, 42% of dissatisfied men have had difficulty in having an erection and a third have had painful sex.

More about the study
“Sexual Satisfaction” is the first in a series of reports generated by a global survey on sexual wellbeing, commissioned by Durex.

Participating countries were Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong King, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.

Durex will be publishing the data over the coming 18 months on a variety of topics, including sexual experimentation, physical pleasure, emotional aspects of sex, first sex and sex education. By the end of the series Durex will have developed a model for sexual wellbeing.

The Durex Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey was conducted online during August and September 2006.

The survey can be accessed at

Related articles

Sex sucks in SA


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier


5 ridiculous things some people still believe about HIV/Aids

It’s time to shine the light on some of the ridiculous and far-fetched perceptions about HIV that people still have.

Fitness »

7 strange things that happened to my body during my first marathon

Earlier this year, Health24 writer Marelize Wilke ran her first ever full marathon. She tells us about the effects it had on her body.