The survey, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, involving more than 15,000 people, was conducted between 20, following others conducted around 1990 and in 2000. Twenty years ago, British women reported having 3.7 sexual partners in a lifetime; this has doubled to 7.7, and the male average has risen from 8.6 to 11.7, although the number of people having sex with more than one partner concurrently has not risen.Despite the increase in the number of partners, we are, apparently, having less sex with them than we were – five times a month for married couples compared with six times 10 years ago.The suggestion, in the red-blooded Eisenhower era (when homosexuality was still illegal) that one in 10 Americans was actively gay – and that more than a third had thought about it – came as a shock, although the corresponding figures for women (2-6 per cent) were broadly in line with expectations, and with modern findings.

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After publication, Kinsey was attacked for using dodgy statistics and, in particular, reporting bias (his sample was self-selecting).

The trouble with trying to find out about people’s sex lives is that you have to rely on their integrity.

One thing all researchers seem to agree upon is the oft-repeated theory that men think about sex every few seconds is just that – a theory, not a fact. It is part of the folklore of sexual wisdom,” says Dr Wellings.

Sex itself has not changed, and in this sense there is nothing new under the sun. The young, especially, live in a hugely sexualised world, posting intimate details of their relationships on social media, and people of all ages have thrown away the stigma that used to be associated with online dating.The overall picture is of a nation sexually at ease with itself, unprudish (if perhaps rejecting the free-love amorality of the 1960s era), yet apparently too busy and too tired to actually have much sex in practice. Because when it comes to finding out what people do in bed, scientific history is laced with statistical controversy.The two Kinsey reports, which in 1948 examined the sexual behaviour of American men and, in 1953, American women, set the foundations for more than half a century of sex surveys.After being confronted with a realisation that he suffered from intimacy issues, Stevel Marc was led to a place of reflection and self-revelation.Stevel realised that our lives are moving in a new space and relationships are even more complicated. You’re always the perfect gentleman or lady – the dream man or woman who screams marriage material, even though you may not be ready to get married.’ presents a kaleidoscope of thoughtful reflections – of a man, his partners, friends and even strangers, whose experiences of love, loss and longing offer intimate insights for the gentleman who wants to be and do more for his woman.It is easy to get the impression that everyone is having sex almost all the time yet, as the survey shows, that is clearly not the case.