Survey gives revealing look into Dutch sexuality

The latest results of the largest survey on sexuality in the Netherlands reveal that Dutch women enjoy sex less than men, the number of people that seldom have sex has increased, women are using contraception less frequently, and transgendered people cannot always count on acceptance from their Dutch countrymen.

Over 8.000 men and women took part in the survey, which was conducted by Rutgers WPF, a centre of expertise on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The survey touched upon sexual behaviour, sexual problems, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, birth control, transgender issues, and sexually transgressive behavior.

40 percent of Dutch female respondents said that they do not enjoy sex, compared with 22 percent of male respondents. Among the men, the most popular reasons for not enjoying sex were premature ejaculation and erection problems. Among the women, the most popular reasons were dryness, not becoming sufficiently aroused and experiencing difficulties in reaching an orgasm. People who had unwanted sexual experiences in their youth were twice as likely to have sexual problems as adults.

The survey responses regarding contraception were surprising. The number of women that do not use any kind of contraception actually increased from 31 percent in 2009 to 40 percent in 2011. Among fertile women, 9 percent do not use contraception even though they do not want to get pregnant and are sexually active.

It is also interesting that the birth control pill remains by far the most popular contraceptive, even though there are many alternatives available which are easier to use - just 41 percent of women on the pill never forget to take it.

The number of people that go longer periods without sex has increased. Around 17 percent of men and 22 percent of women said they had had no sex in the preceding six months. In 2006, the figures were 13 and 16 percent, respectively. These people are not satisfied with their sex lives, and would like to have sex more often. Furthermore, they report that their self-images are negatively affected due to their sex lives.

For the first time the survey included questions regarding transgender people, whose sexual identity often differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. As Rutgers WPF noted in their report, the concept of transgender remains poorly understood in the Netherlands. Around 20 percent of respondents said that they would prefer not to socialise with transgendered people, and that they think there is something wrong with someone who does not identify with one sex or the other.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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