Jacqueline Gold, CEO,

“The importance of sex in a relationship should never be underestimated. Ann Summers is a business that understands this more than most, and Relate a charity that sees the reality of this every day.

Nearly two years ago Ann Summers and Relate began to discuss the possibility of launching together a sex census which would offer a unique and detailed insight in to the sex lives of the nation. Both parties recognised how important it was to understand what was happening between the nation’s sheets and how sex affected relationships today.

Our aim was to create a credible piece of research that could be referred to when it comes to understanding and monitoring sexual attitudes and behaviour in the UK. We wanted to allow people to feel comfortable talking about sex and the role this plays in their relationship.

Two years on and we are jointly publishing the results of the most informative sex survey the UK has ever seen, a survey that was completed by over 20,000 men and women. The results are surprising, exciting, informative and thought provoking.

The main aim for all of us was to get the UK talking about their sex lives, and if this report encourages just one couple to talk more then we have all done our job.”

Paula Hall, Sex Therapist,

“Sex should be great: it should be exciting, fun, relaxing, exhilarating, romantic, intimate and erotic. What’s more, research tells us it’s good for our emotional and physical health. And it helps us build stronger couple relationships. But enjoying a good sex life takes more than just luck; it takes work and commitment too.

It’s important to remember that our sex lives do not exist within a void. They’re impacted by how we feel about ourselves, our partners and families, our day-to-day lives and the messages we receive from the media and society. In this report you’ll get an overview of the state of UK sex lives in 2012. You’ll see that, on the whole, men and women across all sexualities, young and old, are enjoying their sex lives. This is in spite of many people not knowing what ‘good’ sex really means. You’ll see that each generation has its ups and downs, but the 26–39-year-olds seem to be challenged more than most.

You may be surprised to learn that, despite our increased openness as a society, there are significant numbers of people struggling with physical sexual problems – and many still find it difficult to talk openly to their partner about sex. And even as pornography becomes increasingly prevalent in almost every format, you’ll see there are still gender differences when it comes to its use, and a lot of ambivalence about its impact on relationships. Finally, you might be interested to discover a new favourite among men’s sexual fantasies!”

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