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Do one in four of all Italian couples regularly take part in wife swapping?
That's the claim recently made by the Italian paper La Stampa, as reported in The Telegraph:
According to yesterday's front page of La Stampa, an article entitled "The Lunch Time Swingers" suggests an estimated 500,000 Italian couples are swapping partners at private sex clubs. Thousands more are taking part in the activity in a more informal fashion, doing it in car parks, specially designated beaches, and even cemeteries. The article said wife swapping had increased everywhere "at a rate that makes you dizzy", primarily thanks to the internet... While 500,000 members meet in 200 private clubs across the country to swap, they believe that figure is only the start, and the real figure is closer to two million, a quarter of Italy's eight million sexually active citizens.

Their source for this information is "a Rome-based body called The International Federation for the Protection of Rights and Freedom, or Federsex, for short."

I can't find any information about this organization, nor about how it might have obtained these figures. My suspicion is that it pulled them out of thin air.

Sexual behavior lends itself to wild rumors. For instance, back in 2003 the British media worked itself into a lather over the idea that there was a "Dogging" craze sweeping the country, which involved people having sex in public places. And what about the 2006 report from the Japan Family Planning Association which claimed that 7.9% of Japanese men aged 40-45 were virgins?
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by The Curator on Wed Aug 06, 2008
From the fact that the population of Italy has not been swelled by immigration to around 5 billion, I think we can deduce that La Stampa's story is little more than a tall tale.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Matagorda, Texas  on  Wed Aug 06, 2008  at  04:09 PM
I am not sure why the 7.9% is so remarkable. While it may be a little high (and that would be an unremarkable artifact associated with the "margin of error" of the survey) there certainly are virgins over 40 for a multitude of reasons.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  in  Spring Hill, MA  on  Thu Aug 07, 2008  at  05:51 PM
Sure, there are virgins over 40, but to me the 7.9% figure seems to contradict all other evidence of human sexual needs. 7.9% of the men surveyed may have claimed they were virgins, but I would assume that, for one reason or another, most of those men must have been lying. Or they were defining virginity in an unconventional way.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Aug 08, 2008  at  01:30 PM
The point is not that x percent of men are virgins or whatever - x percent of the men who participated n the survey were virgins. If the survey was in a magazine-based questionnaire the results would be badly skewed according to the demographic targeted by that magazine.
Posted by Dale irwin  in  Waiheke Island, New Zealand  on  Thu Sep 04, 2008  at  05:52 AM
Having lived in Japan for the last decade 7.9 seems absolutely resonable, if not on the low side. Given that Japan has the worlds fastest growing over 65 population and negative population gain (20% aged over 65, in the town I live in 60% are aged over 65 and no children under 15!) (20011 figures announced an overall loss of around 300,000 people... Population predicted to be 70% of current total by 2050) I am not surprised by the figure. Almost daily news articles lament the lack of interest in sex displayed by Japanese men and increasingly, women. More than half of Japanese woman over thirty are still single, live at home and have never been married. Out of wedlock births stand at 1%. (america stands at 32%!) The statistics for men are similar. Japan is breeding itself into extinction. Many young men here just don't care about sex anymore, preferring manga, gameconsoles and the like instead.
Posted by Scott  in  Japan  on  Tue Mar 13, 2012  at  11:21 PM
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