“We have to accept the probability of a bit of reporting bias there,” adds Dr Wellings.
As for the decrease in sexual activity, this has been noted in other studies – including those in the US and Japan – suggesting that this is a phenomenon of modern life, and not something uniquely British.
“We make sure the interview is carried out in a private setting, and explain that the study is entirely confidential.
The question wording we used has been thoroughly tested to make sure it is matter-of-fact and not value-loaded, minimising any impression of social judgment.
A full 15 per cent of men and nearly a third of women reported zero interest in sex at all.