Sex and Italians
Cultural differences are evident in many areas of a society - lifestyle, values, ways of socializing. Sex and the way it is experienced can also be indicative of these differences.
Differences in the way in which sex is thought of are evident on a national as well as an international scale. So while, of course, it is not possible to say that all Italians think the same way about sex, it is possible to outline some of the generalities about how sex is seen by individuals and in Italian society.
How do Italians feel about sex
The way sex is viewed and experienced has changed drastically throughout history.
In the past sex was viewed as a taboo subject. In Italy, like so many other European countries, this was perhaps mostly due to the powerful influence of the Catholic Church on Italian society. Sex was not a topic discussed by people in public, nor did it have a presence in the media. Sex was viewed as the method of procreation alone. This view was also responsible for the fact that there was little to no use of contraception at one time. Despite this however, many people, especially men, lived hidden lives of sexual promiscuity, without any thought for the transmission of sexual diseases. Sex was far more restrictive for women, who were supposed to remain virgins until married.
Today, Italian society has changed considerabley, as have its ideas about sex. This is particularly evident in the changes surrounding people's first sexual experiences.
The average age for the first sexual experience is currently 17 in Italy. This is a difference of up to four years compared to the past, in particular the 30's-40's, when women generally had sex for the first time when they were, on average, 21-22 years old. Not only has the age for first experience changed but so has the context. Previously, many would have their first sexual encounter with their spouse. Now, however, the majority have an active sexual life before marriage demonstrating a clear evolution in the way in which sex is seen.
Italians do it better
Sex has seen amazing changes in Italian society, which no longer views it as a restricted subject but as an important constituent of daily life. In fact, Italians today have a reputation for a rather active sexual life and like to boast about the fact. One famous international event that promoted this view was the time that Madonna wore a t-shirt which stated "Italians do it better" during her Re-Invention tour.
Do Italians actually do it better? If we restrict ourselves to a national view, comparing attitudes and practices throughout history, then the anwer is definitely 'yes', as Italians certainly do it better today in contrast to the past. Surveys suggest that many Italians currently have quite a liberated and satisfactory sex life. Interestingly, despite the earlier age for the first experience, surveys show that the Italians who consider their sex lives 'perfect' or 'satisfactory' are those between 35-44 years of age. Religion still influences this practice a bit: some people wait for the wedding before they have sex (or at least for the "right one"), but they are very few compared to the past.
On the other hand, if Italians actually do it better... it's up to you to tell.
Overall, it can certainly be said that both men and women of different ages in Italy today have sex with more light-heartedness and self-confidence today than ever before.
Read more about the latin-lover fame of Italians on our article The New Latin Lover.