Volume 11 Number 5 2014
Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR2)
The Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships surveyed a representative sample of 20 094 Australians using random-digit dialling of landline and mobile phones in 2012–13. Telephone interviews asked about health, sexual behaviour and attitudes, and details such as age, occupation and education. The refusal rate of 34% was no higher than for surveys on other topics but, as in most surveys, people with higher education and higher status occupations were more likely to take part. Most people said they were not at all or only slightly embarrassed by the questionnaire and almost all said they were 90%–100% honest in their answers
SH14099Attitudes toward sex and relationships: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
This study of a population-representative sample of 20 094 Australians aged 16–69 years revealed positive attitudes toward premarital sex, abortion and homosexual behaviour. The data also indicate that over the last decade there has been a shift towards less tolerance of sex outside a committed relationship, but greater acceptance of homosexual behaviour.
SH14113First vaginal intercourse and oral sex among a representative sample of Australian adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
We surveyed a representative sample of 20 094 men and women aged 16–69 years in 2012–13 and asked them about their first experiences of vaginal and oral sex. Since 2001–02 there has been no further decline in the median age of first sex. Use of contraception at the time of first vaginal sex is very high. Sexual experimentation appears to have increased for all ages, with overall increases in ever having had oral and anal sex, but particularly so for those aged 16–19 years.
SH14105Heterosexual experience and recent heterosexual encounters among Australian adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
We surveyed a representative sample of 20 094 men and women aged 16–69 years in 2012–2013 and asked them about their heterosexual experience and recent heterosexual encounters. Reporting multiple partners was significantly associated with being younger, being bisexual, living in major cities, having a lower income, having a blue-collar occupation and not being married. The proportion of respondents reporting ever having had oral sex or anal intercourse increased significantly since the last survey. At the last heterosexual encounter, 91.9% of men and 66.2% of women had an orgasm, oral sex was reported in only ~one in four encounters and anal intercourse was uncommon.
SH14114Characteristics of heterosexual regular relationships among a representative sample of adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
This study examines key characteristics of heterosexual regular sexual relationships in a representative sample of 20 094 Australian residents aged 16–69 years and identifies significant changes since the First Australian Study of Health and Relationships in 2001–02. A high proportion of our respondents (74%) were in heterosexual regular relationships, with most reporting very high levels of physical and emotional satisfaction in their relationships. Less than 5% of respondents in a relationship of more than a year’s duration reported having had sex with someone other than their partner in the past year and most expected the relationship to be monogamous. In general, the findings were similar to those 11 years ago, but the average frequency of sex had fallen from 1.8 times a week to 1.4 times a week.
SH14122Homosexual experience and recent homosexual encounters: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
About one in seven (13.5%) of women and one in 15 men (6.5%, P < 0.001) reported a lifetime history of homosexual experience. Almost one in five women aged 16–29 years reported homosexual experience. For women but not men, there was a significant increase in the proportion reporting same-sex experience since the first Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Among homosexually identified people, the number of recent same-sex partners was much higher in men than women, with 26% of men but no women reporting 10 or more same-sex partners in the last 12 months.
SH14117Sexual identity, sexual attraction and sexual experience: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
The Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships asked 20 094 respondents whether they thought of themselves as heterosexual, gay/lesbian or bisexual. It also asked whether they had ever had sexual experiences with males or females, and whether they had felt sexually attracted to males or females. This paper looks at the relationship between answers to these three questions. Most people (>95%) identified as heterosexual, but 9% of men and 19% of women had some history of same-sex attraction and/or experience. Many gay men (53%) and lesbians (76%) had some experience with an opposite-sex partner.
SH14116Masturbation, paying for sex, and other sexual activities: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
The Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships interviewed a representative sample of 20 094 men and women aged 16–69 years by telephone. This paper reports answers to questions about masturbation, a range of solo and partnered sexual practices, and paid sex in the year before the interview. Men were more likely than women to masturbate and to look at pornography, but women were more likely to have used a sex toy, such as a vibrator. Fewer than 3% of people were involved in online sex, swinging, group sex, BDSM (bondage and discipline, ‘sadomasochism’ or dominance and submission) or fisting, but other anal practices (fingering 17%, licking 6%) were less rare. One man in six had ever paid for sex, but only 2% had done so in the past year.
SH14103Experiences of sexual coercion in a representative sample of adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
This study of a population-representative sample of 20 094 Australians aged 16–69 years provided up-to-date data on how common sexual coercion is and how it affects people. Overall, 4% of men and 22% of women had been forced or frightened into sexual activity: 2% of men and 12% of women reporting that this happened during childhood. Men and women who had been coerced had poorer physical, psychological and sexual wellbeing. Few people had talked to others about their experiences of sexual coercion and fewer had talked to a professional.
SH14121Knowledge about and experience of sexually transmissible infections in a representative sample of adults: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
In the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships, about one in six people reported a lifetime history of a sexually transmissible infection, and 1.1% of men and 2.7% of women reported one in the last 12 months. Knowledge of the transmission and health consequences of sexually transmissible infection improved substantially between 2002 and 2013. Approximately one in six women and one in eight men reported they had been tested for a sexually transmissible infection in the past year.
SH14102Safer sex and condom use: findings from the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships
This study of a representative sample of 20 094 Australians aged 16–69 years revealed that although most people have used a condom at some time in their lives, few people used condoms in their recent sexual encounters. Condom use during people’s most recent sexual encounters was related to younger age, having sex with someone other than a regular partner and not using other contraception. Condom use appears to have become more common in the last decade.
SH14112Change and stasis in sexual health and relationships: comparisons between the First and Second Australian Studies of Health and Relationships
The Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR2) was first conducted in 2001–02 (ASHR1) and repeated in 2012–13 (ASHR2). In addition to providing data on current patterns of beliefs and behaviour among a representative sample of Australian adults, ASHR2 allowed analyses of change and stasis since ASHR1. This paper summarises comparisons of ASHR1 and ASHR2 findings and considers their implications for sexual health strategy and policy making.