BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Generation Next
A young world

Almost everywhere in the world, most people first have sex between the ages of 15 and 19. Young men tend to start a little earlier than young women.

There is no trend towards sex at an earlier age, a study in the Lancet said. But with the average marriage age rising, more people have pre-marital sex, particularly in the West.

People in developed countries also have more sexual partners, although monogamy is dominant worldwide.

The age at which women first have sex is lowest in nations such as Nigeria and Nepal, where they are more likely to marry at a young age.

Bar charts showing relationships in different countries



Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific