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Osmo Kontula, a research professor at the Population Research Institute, has voiced his concerns about changes in the sex lives of Finns.
Osmo Kontula, a research professor at the Population Research Institute, has voiced his concerns about changes in the sex lives of Finns.

Finns are having less and less sex with their partners but masturbating more and more frequently, reports the Family Federation of Finland.

The results of the latest nationwide survey of various sexual issues, Finsex, indicate that the incidence of masturbation increased in men and women across all age groups in 2007–2015 – to the extent that masturbation can be described as the sex trend of modern-day Finland, according to the Family Federation.

Osmo Kontula, a research professor at the Population Research Institute and the author of Finsex, interprets the high incidence of masturbation as a positive development and the decline in sexual activity in relationships as a negative one.

“It certainly creates some challenges if there's less sexual intercourse in a relationship, because after all it's all related to how well the couple's intimate relationship functions. If it isn't functional, it's shows up as dissatisfaction with your partner and relationship,” he says in an interview with Uusi Suomi.

The incidence of sex in relationships has decreased especially among under 40-year-old Finns, while that of masturbation has increased steadily and rapidly among the population at large ever since the first iteration of the survey in 1971.

A survey on the evolution of sexual issues in Finland

- Finsex is a follow-up survey on the evolution of sexual issues among the general population of Finland.

- The research data contain responses on issues such as masturbation and sexual desires collected in 1971, 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015.

- The data indicate that masturbation has steadily become more common among men and women of all ages.

- The incidence of sexual intercourse, on the other hand, has decreased practically across age groups and especially among 30–40-year-old Finns. Middle-aged men were the only group of respondents to report a rise in the incidence of sex between 2007 and 2015.

The lack of sex in relationships has increased the need to compensate for it – commonly by means of self-gratification, explains Kontula.

He reveals that one of the most commonly-cited reasons for the drop in the incidence of sex is lack of time. “People usually tell that their life is so hectic, stressful and tiring. They have a number of things to do that take time. When they happen to be at home at the same time as their partner, they're too tired to make love,” he says.

Public attitudes on the subject have not changed, however, as surveys continue to indicate that family and relationship are considered among the most important aspects of life for most Finns.

“People have somehow allowed other aspects of life to come in their way. People themselves may not always realise whether or not they're living according to their own values or letting things slip through their fingers,” says Kontula.

Finns, he adds, should think about what they consider important in life.

“You should think every day about whether you're spending your time in a way that's important and pleasing to you – to the extent that it's possible, of course. The situation is naturally different if you don't have a partner or if you have financial difficulties and have to work long hours. Everyone has their reasons, but when you do have that bit of free time at home with your partner, you should think about what you want from life,” he states.

“Isn't physical intimacy with your partner something you especially desire?”

Kontula also reminds that sexual activity has a positive after-effect on not only sexual health but on both physical and mental health

“People who are sexually active are healthier. The less a population engages in sexual activity, the more disconcerting it becomes from a public health perspective,” he points out. “A sexually functional relationship creates positive feelings.”

The Family Federation of Finland points out that the increase in masturbation activity cannot be attributed only to a lack of sexual partners as a comparable increase was also recorded among men and women in relationships.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Petteri Paalasmaa – Uusi Suomi
Source: Uusi Suomi

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