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National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles


Couple in lounge
Researchers: David Hussey


Natsal is one of the largest scientific studies of sexual behaviour in the world. Results from the survey usually publish as journal articles; you can find results from the latest survey below.

More information can be found at


This report presents findings from Scottish participants in the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3).

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections, BMJ, November 2014

This paper looks at the prevalence of men who have paid for sex in Britain and the role they play in sexually transmitting infections. You can visit the BMJ website to purchase the paper

  • Lancet, June 2014  

This paper in the Lancet focuses on changes in sexual behaviour, sex and health, sexual function, STIs, non-volitional sex and unplanned pregnancy. You can also download an accessible infographic

This chart shows health by sexual activity.

Background information 

Natsal was originally set up because of an urgent need for information about sexual lifestyles in the context of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic.

Natsal first took place in 1990, with the second study taking place in 2000. The third Natsal began in 2010 and results were published in November 2013.


For Natsal-3, we interviewed just over 15,000 men and women aged between 16 and 74. The interview included the following topics:

  • General health
  • Pregnancies and fertility
  • Attitudes towards sex and relationships
  • Contraception
  • Family, marriage and relationships
  • Learning about sex
  • First sexual experiences
  • Sexually transmitted infections