There are some major changes afoot between the sheets for women, for the better. We are more adventurous, and are catching up with men in terms of the number of partners we have in our lifetime. We’re also starting our sexual lives earlier.

A major study has revealed women have relationships with twice as many men as they did 20 years ago, having eight partners during her lifetime, up from four in the 1990s – and catching up with men, whose average is 12.

We are now four times more likely to have sex or experiment with other women, and women who are better educated and financially better off tend to be the most adventurous. But with all this rustling between the sheets, we’re having less sex – much less. And it’s due to overwork. Men and women aged 16-44 are now shagging three times a month – down from five in the 1990’s – because they are taking work home.

Researchers from University College London – who surveyed 15,000 adults – published the study in December 2013 in the Lancet.

Professor Kaye Wellings, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, believes the changes in women’s behaviour over the past 20 years have been “remarkable”.

“In some areas of sexual behaviour we have seen a narrowing of the gender gap but in others we have seen women overtaking men in the diversity of their behaviour. We need to set these changes in the context of the radical changes in women’s status over the past decade.

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“It’s interesting that the changes are more marked amongst the highly educated and better off. With respect to women the greatest changes really began in the last century, with the changing women’s role in society, education, being in workplace more and being able to control their fertility.”

The study also found that women and men are losing their virginity at a much younger age compared to previous generations. The average age they first have sex is 16, whereas those now in their 60s did not typically lose their virginity until the age of 19.