People of Glasgow and Edinburgh talk frankly about their sex lives

  • The List
  • 1 February 2011
And our survery says...

Glasgow and Edinburgh sex survey

We asked 200 people – 100 in Glasgow and 100 in Edinburgh – to reveal all about their sex lives.

One-night stands

84% of people in Glasgow have had a one-night stand, compared with 76% of people in Edinburgh. 77% of men enjoyed their one-night stand experiences, compared with 57% of women.

'One was tolerable but the other two were drunken and clumsy. Of the bad ones, the first was boring, and the other was truly the most atrocious sex I've ever had in my life. Laughable. I reckon I have learned my lesson now and will behave myself from here on in.'

'One-night stands are enjoyable in the same way as masturbation, so ultimately a bit pointless – fun in an immediate sense, but utterly unfulfilling.'

Number of partners

19% of people claimed to have had more than 20 sexual partners in their lives. The average number of sexual partners per person was six in Glasgow and seven in Edinburgh.

How many sexual partners is it appropriate to have in a lifetime?

  • 1–5 partners (5.6%)
  • 5–10 partners (32%)
  • 10–15 partners(19.7%)
  • 15–20 partners (12.9%)
  • Over 20 partners (29.8%)

'5–10 partners' was the most popular answer for women (34% of women chose it), while 'over 20 partners' was the most popular answer for men (37% of men chose it).

'I don't think we should consider sexual behaviour as "appropriate" or "inappropriate", as this leads to stigmatisation and a lack of communication. Provided people are responsible and responsive to the feelings of others, I don't see that there should be a maximum or minimum number of partners. Also, why is there not a "zero" option?'

'It would've been nice to meet "the one" early on, but that didn't happen until I was in my 20s and had already had sex with over ten guys, plus oral etc with a few more than that. In hindsight, I would rather have had fewer partners. I'm still tempted by other men and have cheated a few times. I'd like to be monogamous but I'm lacking the willpower.'


43% of people from Glasgow thought it was appropriate to have more than one sexual partner at the same time. Only 24% of people from Edinburgh thought the same.

'I would hate to think someone I was sleeping with was sleeping with someone else, so I would never do that to anyone. It's an intimate thing, even if it only happens once, and intimacy can't involve more than two people.'

'As long as there's no deceit, why not?'

Internet dating

15% of people had met someone through the internet for the purpose of having sex. Of these, more people in Edinburgh (59%) said they enjoyed the experience than in Glasgow (46%).

'It seemed a bit mechanical, like it was expected, as opposed to being spontaneous.'

'It was fun and felt dangerous.'

Sex and the city

How easy is it to find people to have sex with in your city?


  • Very (13.4%)
  • Sometimes (56.1%)
  • Not really (25.6%)
  • Not at all (4.9%)


  • Very (11.4%)
  • Sometimes (53.2%)
  • Not really (27.8%)
  • Not at all (7.6%)

'Not at all. This may be because my group of friends are predominantly couples, so don't want to go out as much, and when we do we go out in a mixed group which makes me less approachable. However, I find that the only Scottish men forward enough to talk to you are the ones you would never want to sleep with.'

'I'm a girl - simples.'

'I'm a woman; it's easy to find people to sleep with anywhere. But that aside, Glasgow is a fairly vibrant city with a decent arts scene. There are always good events on where you can meet people, and I'm sure anyone looking to get laid could wander into a flat party on West Princes Street and get what they wanted with ease.'

Sexual activities

Which of the following do you do regularly with a sexual partner:

  1. Oral sex (98.4%)
  2. 'Dirty' talk (51.1%)
  3. Use sex toys (34.4%)
  4. Dressing up and roleplay (21.0%)
  5. Bondage (21.0%)

'Is that all you can think of? Massage, tantric sex, swingers clubs and parties, threesomes, foursomes, moresomes, watching my partner being pleasured by and pleasuring others …'

'Kissing! Why is it so underrated? It's the most erotic thing to me.'

'How about nice normal sex. You know, the kind you have on a Tuesday …'

Starting early

26% of people were under 16 years old when they had their first sexual experience. 5% were over 21.

Body image

75% of people in Edinburgh said they feel confident about their body when having sex, compared with 63% of people in Glasgow.

'I can feel confident, but I still like a strategically placed duvet!'

'I feel much more confident now than when I was younger. A lot of that is thanks to my current partner, who has boosted my self-esteem immeasurably. No matter how we turn out, I'll always love him for finally helping me to be happy with who I am and how I look.'

'Usually the lights are off. Also, I have a large penis.'


86% of people had looked at pornography. 74% of people said that porn could be used to enhance a healthy sexual relationship.

'In the early years I used to look at magazines like Penthouse and Playboy that I found under my parents' bed. Lately I watch porn on the net, at least weekly. Mainly group sex, with a preference for porn that is non-violent, does not degrade women and treats men and women as equals in the scenario.

Porn can enhance a relationship because it can give one fresh ideas that can make a sex life more exciting. Depending on personal tastes, it can be viewed together as a mutual stimulant.'

'I look at straight porn, cam girls, retro porn, facials, double penetration, anal, fisting … loads really.'

'I'm not sure about watching porn with a partner if I'm honest. Bit of a Pandora's box, especially if you discover that you and your partner have very different tastes …'

'Porn demeans those involved in making it; the sex trade is totally corrupt and involved in the abuse of many involved in it and it can be very addictive and damaging to relationships.'

Public places

59% of people in Glasgow have had sex in a public place in their city, compared with 40% in Edinburgh (see below to find out where).

How soon?

How long do you need to have known someone before having sex?


  • Just met (58.3%)
  • Days (11.5%)
  • Weeks (20.8%)
  • Months (8.3%)
  • Years (1.0%)


  • Just met (47.9%)
  • Days (21.9%)
  • Weeks (24.0%)
  • Months (5.2%)
  • Years (1.0%)

'You could have just met. Why? Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. But also just to get the performance anxieties out of the way. The first shag is crap, then as you get to trust each other more, communicate and the sex gets better (that's an Ask Mariella answer right there).'

'When I was younger, I would probably have answered "not long at all". But over time and with age, I'd be more likely to wait a month or two before sleeping with someone I was attracted to.'

...more answers

Have you ever had sex in a public place?

'Kelvingrove Park, often.' [A total of five people said they had had sex in Kelvingrove Park.]

'Calton Hill during Beltane, and the Meadows.' [Five people also said they had had sex in the Meadows.]

'In the comedy section of Borders.'

'Necropolis graveyard; top of Buchanan Street (near Donald Dewar); various alleyways. Keeping it classy.'

'In a doorway up past the Parliament one particularly hot night with my current partner.'

Which Scottish celebrity would you most like to have sex with?

'David Tennant. Adorable and mischievous (at least I like to think so).'

'Isobel Campbell is seriously hot.'

'Clare Grogan because I fell for her cutesy girlishness with a hint of punk rebellion ever since I was introduced to her the night Altered Images first entered the charts.'

'Perhaps Scott Patterson from Sons & Daughters, because he is charismatic, an excellent musician, and comes across as slightly aggressive.'

'Barry Ferguson. As a Celtic fan I detest him, but there's something about being drawn to the dark side that I find alluring.'

What do you find sexually attractive?

'Brains, good shoulders, an ability to understand sarcasm.'

'Face and personality, chunky legs and bum, kissable nipples.'

'Funny, outgoing, into their music and preferably a beard!'

'Their je ne sais quoi, something you can't pinpoint but it drives you crazy – a look in their eye, sexy perfume, a tidy bush and nice teeth. And they must wear Converse!'

'1. He could throw a punch. 2. He has good intellect, communication and social skills. 3. He is sane, well balanced and I can relax in his company. 4. He is a rogue.'

What makes 'good' sex and why?

'If everyone was fully committed from start to finish, that's generally enough.'

'Good sex is sex with someone who you love and feel totally at ease with. It's experimental and fun. There has to be a decent amount of foreplay, and loads of dirty patter. And the guy has to make a cup of tea once it's over, cheers.'

'Roughness; spontaneity; MDMA; love.'

'You should be able to laugh sometimes, and be able to ask for anything and do anything without feeling weird or guilty. It should be about two people really enjoying themselves like they would at a gig or the cinema, but instead its alone, intimate, kind and fun.'

'A bloody good blow-job.'

Post a comment