Sexual Life Journey Guide by ZAVA

sexual journeys: 1000 people evaluate their sexual evolution

When it comes to sex, for many, it’s the journey and not the destination that proves enticing – but can it be both? Right now, you may feel you’ve barely begun this journey or are more experienced than you ever thought you would be. Either way, there are some universal catalysts, sources of education, and even inspiration behind our sexual evolutions.

We surveyed 500 Europeans and 500 Americans about the various sexual journeys humans experience over the course of a lifetime. Whether you rate your personal distance into this journey as a 1 (your entire sexual evolution and journey are ahead of you, and all of your sexual experiences and fantasies have yet to be experienced) or 100 (your sexual evolution is complete, and you have learned and experienced everything you are interested in), you may share something in common with these 1,000 international participants. Read on to find out.

A Lifetime of Discovery

the average proportion of sexual journeys created by demographic

On average, people felt they had completed 61.5 percent of their sexual journey. Bear in mind our participants came from all backgrounds, creeds, and age groups. Each of these various descriptors broke respondents into their respective demographics, although individuals could easily belong to more than one demographic (i.e., women and millennials). Baby boomers and Gen Xers felt they had travelled the furthest regarding their respective sexual journeys, followed by respondents who identified as Republican or gay.

Among those feeling closer to the beginning of their sexual journeys were bisexual respondents and Gen Zers. Considering bisexual people may be open to partnerships with both men and women, a more variegated sexual journey may be dictating the length of the sexual distance still to cover. Europeans also fell over five points behind Americans in their sexual journeys.

Waking Up to Love

a comparison of the average ages people experienced their first sexual awakening and virginity loss

An important first step in the sexual journey is identifying initial feelings and urges, although an individual is certainly capable of experiencing multiple realisations of sexual interests. We defined these realisations as “sexual awakenings” for our participants and asked them to recall the age at which they first remembered one happening. Gay respondents recalled a sexual awakening at an earlier age than any other demographic group – under 14 years old – on average. That said, these respondents also lost their virginity later than almost any other group.

In spite of men typically going through puberty later than women, men remembered experiencing their first sexual awakenings almost a year earlier (at 14.8 years old as opposed to women’s 15.5 years of age). Except for baby boomers, each consecutively younger generation lost their virginity at an earlier and earlier age, with Gen Zers averaging an age of just over 16 when they first had sex and Gen Xers barely over 18.

Republicans were the only political affiliation to claim an average sexual awakening that occurred after their average age of virginity loss.Their Democratic counterparts experienced their sexual awakening roughly three years earlier, on average, and had their first sexual experience afterwards, like every other demographic.

After-School Education

the resources utilised for sexual education

While you may not be able to plan your sexual adventure with a typical travel website, there are plenty of educational resources available so that you can be prepared for anything. We asked respondents where they learned the “ins and outs” of sex.

Across all demographics, real-world experience with a sexual partner proved to inform people most frequently, although respondents who identified as gay cited this source the most. Watching porn came next, followed by discussing it with friends and, for many, perusing internet forums. Towards the bottom of the list was talking with a family member, with no more than a third of any demographic learning about sex from their relatives. That said, Europeans were more likely to learn about sex from their family members than Americans.

The Start to Sexual Awakening

the catalysts of triggering sexual awakenings

Try closing your eyes and envisioning where your first sexual awakening came from – are you picturing an actor or actress? The friend of a sibling? Or maybe even a teacher? Our respondents certainly were. 62% of people credited their first sexual awakening to an actor or actress. One respondent even specified the fictional character Rhett Butler from “Gone With the Wind,” while another fondly remembered actor Sean Connery’s role in the “James Bond” franchise.

30% of people also experienced a sexual awakening because of a sibling’s friend. Respondents also credited other specific people, like house cleaners and “a sexy dentist.”

Sexual Suppositions

the percentage in agreement with each sexual statement by gender and generation

Does sexuality exist on a spectrum? Would you date a person who identifies as bisexual? Do you plan to sleep with someone of the same gender before you die? These questions frequently pop up along many sexual journeys and can easily affect the length of said journeys. 32% of women anticipated or had already experienced having sex with another woman, compared to only 20% of men who desired to have sex with another man. However, women were less willing to consider dating a bisexual person than male respondents.

The question of whether sexuality exists on a spectrum had our demographics more split. While 46% of millennials believed in a spectrum, only 11% of Gen Xers and 5% of baby boomers agreed. Moreover, only 3% of baby boomers would consider dating someone who identified as bisexual.

Missed Sexual Opportunities

the percentage of wedded respondents who wish they had experimented more before marriage

We also felt married participants would be able to contribute an interesting perspective to the concept of a sexual journey. Did those who had settled down feel as though they had explored enough? We asked all married respondents whether they wished they’d experimented more before tying the knot.

54% of men and 28% of women wished they had tried a few more intimate things before walking down the aisle, including exploring different aspects of their sexuality. Nationalities were more even-keeled, with roughly 40% of Europeans and Americans expressing a desire for an extended journey of self-discovery before committing to marriage.

Additionally, it's worth noting that contraceptive pills played a significant role in the choices made by couples, with many opting for contraception methods to ensure their readiness for parenthood. Finally, half of married Democrats wished they had tried a few more things before marriage, including considering contraceptive pills as a means of family planning, compared to just a third of married Republicans.


We may not have clearly defined sexual journeys – past, present, or future – but continuing to collect information on the topic is a good place to start (or continue) your evolution. Regardless of your experiences or personal travel preferences along this journey, ZAVA UK will always provide a trustworthy and well-regulated source of online care for you and your health, all accessible from the comfort of your own home.

With an entire team of health practitioners, plus a variety of beneficial healthcare products, you can find confidential and reliable care for many of your sexual questions and concerns. Visit us at ZAVA to learn more.


We surveyed 500 Americans and 500 Europeans for a total of 1,000 respondents. We asked participants to consider their sexual journeys as existing on a scale from 1 (not yet started) to 100 (entirely completed) and to recall specific catalysts and educational resources along the way. We also gathered their demographic information to determine differences between generations, genders, political affiliations, and nationalities.

Fair Use Statement

Your sexual journey is completely your own, as is your right to discuss that journey with whomever you’d like. You are free to share this article and its information on that topic for noncommercial purposes, so long as you make sure to link back to this page so its authors can receive credit for their research.

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