(CNN)The number of people you have sex with is an individual choice. But certain lifestyle factors play a role in how many sex partners you have, explains a recent study by British researchers.
Who is having more sex over age 50, research explores
While previous research on sexual behavior and its potential risks has tended to focus on teens and young adults, this study looked at the determinants for number of sexual partners in more than 7,000 men and women age 50 and older.
The researchers found some interesting correlations between the subjects' sex lives and specific sociodemographic and behavioral factors, which they say could help clinicians identify people at greater risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To get a better grasp of what these findings might mean, I asked some of my colleagues to weigh in on the data.
Men in this study were more likely to report a higher number of lifetime sex partners than women. Forty percent of men said they had at least five partners, compared with 24% of women. Likewise, being gay was associated with having more sexual partners among men.
That's not surprising, said sex therapist Dulcinea Pitagora. "Because our culture socializes men — regardless of sexual orientation — to believe that they should be more sexually active than other genders, they may feel they have permission to be more sexually active, or they may feel like they have to present that appearance," she explained.
In fact, "this is much more of a 'male' issue than a 'gay' issue," added sex therapist Kimberly Resn