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Do Brits need to lighten up in the bedroom?


Less than three in ten of us Brits (29 percent) choose to keep the lights on during their bedroom antics, according to a recent survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted with Opinium Research, into the sexual habits of the country.

Although a quarter of us (26 percent) prefer sex with the lights off, our lighting preferences differ considerably depending on where you are in the UK. Residents of Birmingham are most likely to keep the lights on during sex, with 41 percent choosing to do so. The people of Leeds and Sotonians follow the Brummies, with a third (32 percent) choosing to keep the lights on in the bedroom.


Top five cities that prefer sex with the lights on:

  1. Birmingham 41%

  2. Leeds 32%

  3. Southampton 32%

  4. Newcastle 32%

  5. Liverpool 29%


Preferring to have sex in the dark, Bristolians are least likely to keep the lights on, with more than half (54 percent) choosing darkness, closely followed by Edinburgh (49 percent) and Glasgow (47 percent).

Top five cities that prefer sex in the dark:

  1. Bristol 54%

  2. Edinburgh 49%

  3. Glasgow 48%

  4. Manchester 47%

  5. Plymouth 46%


When it comes to our bedroom habits, reasons why people choose to turn the lights off range from self-confidence to not feeling sexy. Of those who prefer the lights off during sex, 41 percent said it helped them feel less self-conscious and 22 percent claim they feel sexier.  

Contrastingly, those who prefer sex with the lights on say it makes it more exciting (25 percent) and that being able to see their partner makes it more enjoyable (27 percent). Some lovers even say that keeping the lights on stops them falling asleep during sex, a problem we all hope to never have.

In a bid to keep Brits feeling confident with the lights on, we teamed up with writer and ‘sexpert’, Alix Fox, who believes keeping the lights on during sex is good for your relationship and self-confidence.

Alix commented: “Turning on the lights while getting intimate might initially seem like a turn off too many people, but there are myriad great reasons to keep the bulbs burning while you get down to business. For starters, you can actually see what you’re doing. If you’re fumbling and bumbling about in the dark you’re less likely to get it right.

Being able to gaze into your lover’s eyes can enhance the sense of connection. And while you may have some hang-ups about taking your clothes off with the lights on, the chances are that your partner will deeply appreciate seeing you. We rarely see ourselves as admiringly as others do. Overcoming that feeling of vulnerability can bolster your confidence and deepen your bond with your partner.”

Our research also found that one in seven (14 percent) of pay as you go energy users have actually experienced their lights going out during an intimate moment.

Aside from our lighting preferences, there is also plenty of difference in the frequency we’re having sex. Residents of Nottingham have the most sex, on average 131 times a year, followed by Leeds (129) and Birmingham (126), compared to a national average of 86.

If you live in cities such as Leeds, Brighton or Glasgow, you are likely to have the longest sex, with intercourse lasting, on average, 13 minutes, compared to the average Brit lasting for 12. Residents of Edinburgh and Plymouth love the longest spoon after sex, lasting 11 minutes, compared to the average of 9 minutes.

The study also found that Brits spend 45 hours of the year having sex. On average, we discovered that foreplay lasts for 11 minutes, followed by 12 minutes for the main event. Couples then spend around 9 minutes cuddling after the deed is done.