Sex and the Scottish

SEX ON the first date. Sex on the beach. Sex instead of chocolate. When it comes to sex, Scots are enjoying lots of it by the looks of things. Our extensive survey into the sex lives of 1,000 SW readers is a fascinating peek between Scotland's bedsheets and reveals exactly what we do, when we do it, and how long we're doing it for. It even tells us where in the country we're more likely to be doing it, and how we feel about it too.

Indeed, our research reveals a nation that is going online to find love, that still revels in old-fashioned romance, and is willing to push the boundaries in pursuit of adventurous sex.

According to our research, the average Scot thinks that we should wait until the fifth date before having sex. Yet over 15 per cent of our respondents said that a couple should have sex on the first date if they feel like it, making it more popular than at any other point in a relationship.

And once we get each other into bed? Well, we're having sex two to three times a week, with the most favoured time being a weekend night. On average, we're having it for 45.3 minutes at a time, although an energetic 1.7 per cent of you told us you were indulging in it for longer than three hours, with most of those respondents coming from the Highlands. Perhaps it's something in the water? At the other end of the scale 1.3 per cent of you are managing it for just five minutes or less, a statistic that leapt to 10 per cent in Grampian region. But maybe it's just too cold.

Commenting on the variety in times spent on sex, Anita Naik, advice columnist and author of The Lazy Girl's Guide To Good Sex, says: "The best balance is to try and make things different every time. Sometimes a quickie can be great, and sometimes a really long drawn out thing can be amazing. Ultimately, though, when it comes to sex it's about the quality of it, rather than quantity."

The survey also highlighted our adventurous side, with more than a quarter of our respondents telling us they've had sex on a beach, and almost 40 per cent revealing they've had sex outside. Indeed, the dreich weather appears to have done nothing to dampen our appetites for al fresco nookie, with outside sex particularly popular in Lothian, and sex on a beach a surprisingly common past time in Tayside.

"One of the best things you can do if your sex life has got boring or predictable is to try something a bit different," says Naik. "You don't necessarily have to go outside, but just make small changes like having sex with the lights on, in the bathroom, or even just at a different time of day. Doing something slightly different keeps things fresh and more exciting."

When it comes to our partners, a healthy number of us think we have the same sex drive as our significant others, with only a small minority thinking there is room for improvement in your sexual relationship. But almost 40 per cent of you also complained that you or your partner were often too tired for sex, with nearly a quarter responding that they were too stressed out or that children often got in the way. A surprising 8.5 per cent, meanwhile, think chocolate is better than sex, while 2.1 per cent of you admitted that you preferred a nice cup of tea and an early night.

"We're having less sex now than even ten years ago because we're all so much busier," says Naik. "It sounds a bit boring, but if that's the case, you should try scheduling it in. It's a good way to build up desire, and say, 'OK, we're going to have sex on a Saturday morning when the kids are at swimming or the baby's asleep,' or whatever. That way it can become something thrilling and exciting again."

But if Scots' sex lives are evolving, we are also more romantic than the stereotypically dour image we often project.

Only 13.2 per cent of you think that romance is dead, with the widest-eyed romantics being in the Highlands, where every single one of our respondents think romance is still alive and kicking.

Almost a third of you think online dating is perfectly normal in this day and age, and more than a quarter of you use text messaging to keep in touch with your partner. Charmingly, though, a handful of our respondents still write old-fashioned love letters.

When it comes to the subject of who should pay the bill on a first date however, the traditionalists are out in force, with 65.6 per cent saying a man should pay, 32.8 per cent believing in going Dutch, and a tiny 0.2 per cent thinking the woman should get her purse out.

"That's quite unusual these days for people in their twenties," says Naik. "A lot of younger women would think that if the date paid for you then they wanted something. Yet for the older generations, it's still very much the belief that the man should pay."

And our taste in partners seems fairly traditional as well, with the ideal man for Scottish women being Sean Connery. In second place came the English film actor Hugh Grant, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown – despite being a fellow Scot – trailed behind, polling just 1.8 per cent of the vote.

The ideal woman for Scottish men is the mature and sexy Helen Mirren, and supermodel Kate Moss garnered only 2 per cent of the vote.

So with Valentine's Day just around the corner, what have Scots got planned? Around a third of you will buy both a gift and a card, as well as plan a romantic evening, while another third will buy a card for someone, yet the remainder of our respondents won't be celebrating the day at all, either because they feel they show their love all year round, or because they dislike the commerciality of it all.

Perhaps the most intriguing Valentine's statistic of all, however, is the 5.3 per cent of you who confessed you will be sending a secret Valentine's message this year, but not to your partner.

But perhaps they might prefer a bar of chocolate or even just a nice cup of tea instead.

Find out the full results of The Scotsman sex survey

Survey results Lothian (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Borders (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Tayside (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Highlands (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Grampian (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Central (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Fife (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Strathclyde (opens as a pdf)

Survey results Total responses (opens as a pdf)