Earlier this year, we held some in-gallery discussions in the Institute of Sexology exploring the definitions and terms used in Britain’s Natsal survey for different aspects of sexual behaviour, and how these map onto visitors’ own ideas about sex. Soazig and her team look at how you describe something as fluid as sex.
In the late 1980s, amid growing fear and uncertainty about the spread of HIV and AIDS in Britain, the idea for a large-scale representative national sex survey was born. The aim was to use the best available sampling methods to collect robust, reliable, data for a National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles; the first time something like this had been attempted anywhere in the world.
But once you’ve got your representative sample, how do you actually go about asking those difficult questions? What kind of language do you use to make sure that people of all ages, and from all backgrounds, can understand – and will answer – the questions? Are some questions too offensive or personal to ask? Continue reading