NUI Galway researchers lead 45-country study to better understand sexuality

Researchers at NUI Galway are looking for people from every county in Ireland to take part in a global study on sex.

The International Sex Survey aims to uncover the different sexual behaviours, preferences and motivations of adults and other topics related to their sex lives.

The research is also examining sexual behaviours and their relationship with mental health and wellbeing and mapping how the recent Covid-19 epidemic impacted sex lives.

The study will research findings from tens of thousands of people around the world and Ireland is one of 45 countries taking part.

The International Sex Survey is available online for anyone over the age of 18 at

The global study is led by Dr Beáta B?the, University of Montreal, Canada, and is coordinated in Ireland by Dr András Költ?, from the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway.

Dr B?the said there is little international data on sexuality.

“It is difficult to make general conclusions on the sexual lives of people across the world. Even the existing studies wildly vary in their methods, the questions they asked and the people they invited, which means that the data from different studies are hardly comparable.”

Dr Költ? said: “This is the first time data will be collected from people in Ireland on such a large scale, and on such a wide range of sexual topics, including porn consumption, unwanted sex and sexual preferences.”

“While Ireland has been changing, it remains one of the sexually conservative cultures. Sex is not often discussed, and even if it is brought up, there are feelings of shame and guilt. People who have sexual problems fear asking for help, and young people do not receive adequate sexuality and relationships education.”

The International Sex Survey is dedicated to understanding a wide range of sexual behaviors, with a focus on Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder and Problematic Pornography Use in diverse populations.

The study also provides blueprints for future research in addiction and sexuality research and introduces empirically supported treatment targets that can be used for the development of new prevention and intervention programmes.

Dr Költ? added: “Recently, we have seen new and honest discourse on some aspects on sexuality in Ireland, in line with an increasing awareness on informed consent and the rights of LGBT+ individuals.

“However, we need more information on those who feel they have problems with their sexual lives, and what those problems are. This will enable the introduction of new supports, guidance and if necessary, legislation.”

Further information about the study, the researchers, and the participating countries on the project’s and on Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram.


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