Sex in Australia: Reflections and Recommendations for Future Research

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2003;27(2):251-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.2003.tb00816.x.


Objective: To review the content, method and process of the Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR).

Results: ASHR achieved a large sample, a high response rate and documented the sexual life histories and current sexual health-related knowledge, attitudes and practices of the Australian population aged 16-59. Its cross-sectional nature limited our ability to partition observed variation between age and time despite clear evidence of both age-related and cohort-related changes in sexual practice. Similarly, its reliance on a sample of individuals reporting on their sexual experiences rather than a sample of sexual relationships or encounters and their participants limits our ability to understand the dynamics of those relationships and encounters. Finally, our understanding of sexuality in Australia could have been improved through qualitative studies with a subsample of ASHR participants.

Conclusion: ASHR represents a significant contribution to our understanding of sexual health-related knowledge, attitudes and practices in Australia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Research Design
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*