Why Brits find discussing salary more vulgar than sex

Dr Pam Spurr, a relationship expert and agony aunt, agreed money talk is seen as tasteless.

 |  2-minute read |   28-09-2015
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You might expect most of us to be taciturn about what goes on inside our bedrooms. But it seems we're less forthcoming about what goes on inside our bank accounts.

Britons would much rather discuss sex than reveal their income, a study has found. The scientists said talking about money may be one of the last taboos in polite conversation. The study of 15,000 men and women by the team from University College, London found we are seven times more likely to tell a stranger how many notches are on our bedpost, whether we've had an affair and if we've ever caught a sexually-transmitted disease than discuss our salary.

In one of the world's most detailed scientific surveys about sex, 500 interviewers questioned people aged 16 to 74 across Britain about their sex lives. Most were more than happy to talk; fewer than three per cent wouldn't answer the most personal questions. In contrast, some 20 per cent - one in five - of those quizzed baulked at revealing their salary. They were asked about their total household income and while it is possible that some did not know, many refused to divulge the information.

The scientists, whose data will help to inform the provision of sex education and sexual health services, found that the average woman has had four lovers.

This is twice as many as her counterpart 20 years ago - but two fewer than the typical man. But, despite having more partners, the average Briton has sex less often than in the past. Those who answered the survey in the early 1990s said they had five nights of passion a month - while today the figure stands at three. Researcher Soazig Clifton said: "Most people once they've started an interview with us, will tell us anything. They feel so liberated.

"They love talking to a stranger about sex. They'll tell us about their affairs, all of their partners, they'll tell us all kinds of different things but the one thing they won't tell us is how much they earn." She said other surveys that were not about sex also found Britons were reluctant to talk about cash. Etiquette expert William Hanson said: 'We Brits loathe talking about money. It's such a vulgar topic we have, over time, decided it's best to not discuss anything about it.

'This includes salary, how much something cost or where we bought it. Those who have had money in their lives for some time are usually more embarrassed, whereas those who have come into it more recently are usually more brash.'"

Dr Pam Spurr, a relationship expert and agony aunt, agreed money talk is seen as tasteless. But she said while people may be more willing to talk about their love lives, they may be economical with the truth.

"Some people exaggerate how good their sex life is," she said.

(Courtesy of Daily Mail.)

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