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There are now more Irish people identifying as gay than ever before, a new study has shown. 

The survey, carried out by Dublin innovation studio Connector found that while 70% of participants identified as "completely heterosexual", 23% of people defined her sexual orientation as neither completely gay or straight, where 7% identified as gay. 

This is quite high in contrast to the UK and Australia where the number of people who identify as gay are estimated to be between 1.5% and 3.5%. 

While this is great news in terms of LGBTQ people being more accepted in Irish society, the survey also found that about a fifth of participants were largely unaware of "alternative" sexualities. Of those surveyed, 40% could not define terms such as asexual, pansexual and cisgender, while 25% had never even heard the terms mentioned before.

However, 22% of people reported that they are more accepting of people of non-traditional gender identity than they were a year ago with 12% of people knowing someone who uses non-binary pronouns. 

When asked how open Irish society is to trans people, 40% said that the general Irish public would be uncomfortable sharing a bathroom with a trans person. Conversely, only 16% admitted that they would react negatively to a trans person using their bathroom. 

18% for people don’t consider it important for public spaces to have gender-neutral access, and do not believe that they are becoming more accepting of non-traditional gender identities. Most interestingly, age is actually a postivive factor in acceptable of alternative gender identities; 28% of all 14-17-year-olds don't accept gender neutral pronouns, compared to 6% of all 45-54-year-olds and 12% of those who are 54 years or older.

According to Connector, this gap suggests that people become more accepting as they get older and experience different situations and perspectives.

The research showed that heterosexual people were more likely to be aware of alternative sexualities and more accepting of non-traditional gender identities if they have family or friends who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Commenting on the research, Ivan Adriel, Innovation & Strategy Director at Connector said: “Connector is a proud supporter of the LGBT community and we believe that creative innovators need to create work that reflects the society and push boundaries of the acceptance. Advertising is one of the strongest forces to challenge perceptions and we want this research to be an eye opener for marketers to become more inclusive”.

While we've come on a long way as a nation, we still have a lot further to go.

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We've all been there. You finally land a date with the guy/girl of your dreams, only to realise that the two of you couldn't be less compatible in the bedroom. 

At this stage it's easy to throw in the towel and call it another lost chance, but according to a new study, the first time isn't exactly a great indicator of how good you could be together. 

In a survey of 2,000 Americans, 58 per cent of those in relationships described the first time they slept with their significant other as awkward or terrible. 

The research, conducted by OnePoll and Pure Romance, also found that the majority of us feel anxious when having sex with a new partner, with issues like body confidence and the fear of not pleasing your partner often getting in the way. 

What's more, the study also found that three in ten (33 per cent) people would call it quits with someone if the sex wasn't good the first time round. 

And as for the rest of us, the average person will tolerate four or five bad sexual encounters before breaking things off. 

So, what exactly makes for a bad sexual experience

For men:

  • Not reaching orgasm

  • Lack of foreplay

  • Partner wants man to go down on them but won’t reciprocate

  • Going too fast

  • Erection difficulty after drinking

For women:

  • Lack of foreplay

  • Going too fast

  • Not reaching orgasm

  • Dirty sheets

  • Partner wants woman to go down on them but won’t reciprocate

But all hope is not lost. 71 per cent of those surveyed don't believe that the first time dines the relationship, and agree that figuring out each others likes and dislikes should be a fun and bonding experience. 

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try (and try) again! 

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Whether it's an impromptu sleepover or you've just forgotten to pack a few essentials, there comes a time in every relationship when someone is going to have to borrow an item belonging to their other half.

Deodorant, phone chargers, the new toothbrush in the bathroom press – it's pretty much all up for grabs when you're sharing a room for the night. After all, sharing is caring, right?

Few things are off limits – not even underwear.

According to a new survey conducted by fashion company Style Compare, almost half of all women aged between 18 and 24 like to borrow their partner's underwear from time to time.

In fact, 40 per cent of women admitted they had borrowed their boyfriend's boxers on more than one occasion over the last year.

What's more, 17 per cent of men said they borrowed their girlfriend's underwear  – though we have a sneaky suspicion the actual figure is probably higher.

All in all, results showed that 14 per cent of the 2,000 people survey (both men and women across all age groups) said they had borrowed their partner's underwear at one point or another. 

For us women though, it seems we're drawn to the comfort offered by male under garments, with a spokesperson for Style Compare saying: “Men benefit from designs that put support and comfort first” – which, let's face it, is completely true.

Give us flowy cotton shorts over lace thongs any day of the week.

Oh, and one more thing while we have you! Don't forget that you can catch up on all your favourite shows for free for a month right here, so sign up now!

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Over half of male college athletes, and 38 per cent of non-athletes have admitted to having coerced a partner into performing a sexual act. 

A study of 379 male students from an unnamed university in the US, asked a number of questions around the topics of sexually coercive behaviour and consent, in an attempt to learn more about the attitudes that exist around rape culture. 

Aside from the sheer number of men who said they had engaged in coercive behaviour, one of the more alarming findings was the mentality behind the admissions, and the apparent belief in rape myths. 

Offending participants shared the opinion that "if a woman doesn't fight back, it isn't rape", a worrying take on gender roles, such as "women should worry less about their rights and more about becoming good wives and mothers." 

Speaking to the Washington Post, Kristy McCray, an assistant professor of health and sport sciences at Otterbein Universtiy in Ohio, said: "Sports are a hypermasculine endeavor, and there's a lot that connects hypermasculinity to violence." 

While the findings are no doubt disturbing at best, many readers of the report have taken to social media to say the news doesn't come as a huge shock. 

The study proves particularly relevant at a time when the #MeToo and #IBeleiveHer movements aim to open the conversation around rape culture and provide support for the victims of sexual assault. 

 

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In a world of airbrushed models and #spon posts, it's safe to say that the media has played a huge role in the creation of the impossible beauty standards facing women today. 

With social feeds full of face-tuned photos showing society's idea of the 'perfect' physique, it's easy to feel as though your own body isn't worthy of love or celebration. 

And while steps have been taken to eliminate these kind of attitudes, there's still a lot of work to be done, and it seems these positive changes haven't yet translated to real-life situations, with studies showing that body shaming often comes from those closest to us. 

In an effort to shed a light on the topic Fit Rated surveyed 1,000 men and women about their experiences, and how their friends and family contribute to their body-confidence issues. 

The research showed that 92.7 per cent of women and 86.5 per cent of men have been ridiculed in some shape or form for the way they look, proving that body shaming is not restricted to one type of body or person. 

As shocking as these figures may seem, it's hardly surprising when you consider over half of all women and one fifth of men admitted to body shaming others at one point or another, thus continuing the cycle. 

When it came to the parts of the body that were most often criticised, both men and women reported that their bellies and legs were most likely to be the subject of a damning comment. 

But where does it all come from? 

Parents, friends and significant others were all found to be the greatest offenders, with over 60 per cent of women revealing they had been shamed by their mother at some point in their lives. 

"My mother used to tell me I was fatter than my sister and compare me to her," said one respondent. While a second told how her mother would shame her for being on her period. 

Another spoke of how her significant other would force her to stand naked in front of the mirror while he inspected her body. 

"A previous boyfriend continually would get undressed in front of a mirror and stand behind me pointing out things abut my body her did not like and/or did not think were attreactive." 

Mainstream and social media may often bear the brunt of criticism for creating unrealistic body standards for men and women of all ages, but as we learned, the ridicule endured over their weight or appearance also comes from people in their personal lives. 

 

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Feeling guilty is unpleasant, to say the least, but it turns out people feel that way for six hours and 36 minutes every week.

A recent UK survey polled 2,000 adults, and on average people admitted to feeling guilty three times a week.

That feeling of guilt isn't easily shaken, and respondents said it lingered for over two hours each time.

The reasons for feeling this way ran the gamut, with giving into a craving being the most common one, and not calling family coming in second place.

We also feel rueful when we break a diet, don't call our friends enough, and are accidentally rude to someone.

However, it's not all bad news! The study, conducted by Intrepid Travel, found that a third of people use their guilt to learn from their mistakes.

People also do good deeds because of their contriteness, the survey found.

The average adult tries to make up for their wrongdoing about five times a week with kind acts like helping the homeless, donating to charity, or lending a helping hand to family members in need.

These are the top 25 reasons people feel guilty, according to the survey:

1) Giving into a craving

2) Not calling family enough

3) Breaking a diet

4) Not calling friends enough

5)  Accidentally being rude to someone

6) Not tidying up

7) Cancelling on a friend

8) Getting a takeaway

9) Gossiping

10) Being rude to someone

11) Not going to the gym

12) Leaving a pet at home

13) Lied to a partner

14) Spending a day in pyjamas

15) Lied to family

16) Not recycling

17) Lied to a friend

18) Asking someone to do you a favour

19) Not showering/washing

20) Leaving a small shop/market without buying anything

21) Not taking your advice

22) Forgetting manner

23) Pretending you're working

24) Accidental queue jumping

25) Hitting the snooze button

People's desire to make up for their mistakes also affects the world of travel. A third of respondents say they are always looking to travel in responsible, guilt-free ways.

'Our research shows people are changing their attitudes and finding ways to make up for their bad habits,' Tom Smith, Marketing Director for Intrepid Travel, told The Independent.

'Over the last five years consumer habits have changed and when it comes to picking a holiday, people are choosing an experience that will allow them to travel responsibly.'

'Whether that’s ensuring that holidays help the local people and community, staying at hotels with green initiatives, or choosing a company that operates carbon-neutral trips, we are becoming more self-aware and are changing our perspectives.

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Wedding etiquette can be tricky business – how much should you spend on a gift? Is it rude to leave before 11pm? Can I tweet this photo of the bride?

Most people will have their own individual answers to these questions, but with so many differing opinions out there, it is easy for lines to become blurred.

In an effort to shed light on the general consensus of Irish wedding do's and don'ts, gift card company, One4All, surveyed 599 adults, and the result were very interesting indeed.

Destination weddings have increased in popularity over the past few years, and with that, many wedding guests are asked to travel abroad for their loved one's special day.

While this can often be a costly affair, 37 per cent of those polled said they would travel anywhere to watch their nearest and dearest tie the knot.

A further 61 per cent said they would travel outside Ireland, while 59 per cent agreed a wedding abroad would be an enjoyable experience.

When it came to gifts, research showed that Irish wedding attendees spend an average of €186 on bridal presents.

Add that to the cost of a new outfit, drinks at the reception and overnight accommodation and guests are looking at spending €643 on average per wedding – ouch!

But hey, you'll almost certainly get a fancy sit down meal – or at least 88 per cent of us think we should. Another 57 per cent believe a second helping of food should be provided later in the evening.

Interestingly, just 3 per cent of Irish adults believe a free bar should be provided at a wedding reception.

Opinions on social media differ from couple to couple, but with one in 10 people in Ireland revealing they have attended a wedding with its very own hashtag, it looks like technology is starting to play a bigger part in our nuptials.

That being said, the traditional approach also proved popular with 16 per cent saying they would consider a social media ban on their wedding day.

Commenting on the survey findings, group marketing manager for One4all Ireland, Aoife Davey, said:

“The research shows that the majority of people in Ireland are willing to go above and beyond for the wedding celebrations of loved ones whether that means travelling abroad or splashing out on a generous gift, and wedding guests prefer personal weddings now more than ever.”

We're a very generous bunch all together.

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Ever wonder at what age you'll be considered too old to do the things you love?  Well the results of a newly published British survey are here to tell you just that.

Last month Retiresavvy surveyed 2,000 British people to discover their attitudes towards aging and the results they obtained are pretty grim by all accounts.

“Wearing skinny jeans is not acceptable after you turn 47,” reports the retirement planning website, and once you hit 40 “going on a lads’ or girls’ holiday is out if the question”.

The survey revealed that having a favourite boyband and using text talk isn’t acceptable past 36, while getting tattoos and piercings are activities which should be reserved for those under 38 (we wonder what Dame Judi Dench and her new tat would think of that).

To put the results into context: 37-year-old Kate Hudson might be young enough to bare her bum on Insta but is too old to like boybands, 41-year-old Angelina Jolie can wow on any red carpet but is too old to go on holiday with her friends and 47-year-old Jennifer Anistion can still rock a bikini but needs to reconsider her jean collection.

In some non-ageist news, social media is supposedly acceptable at any age so at least you can Tweet away your anger about not being allowed wear skinny jeans into your fifties.

And thankfully women are more likely than men to reject the stereotypes of old age so hopefully those who are rocking their skinnies, tattoos and One Direction tees will happily continue to do so despite the survey’s findings. 

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We've all had those moments of madness where we think to ourselves: "What if…" 

But if you never let those thoughts materialise into actions, you may be less common than you think. 

According to a survey by Illicit Encounters, 6 out of 10 women not only think about having sex with an ex-lover, but actively pine for it. 

Yep, and over a third of women would consider meeting up with an ex if they were approached on a social media site such as Facebook. 

Another surprising statistic from the survey revealed that only 44% of women said their best sex was with their current partner (compared to 71% of men.) 

"We have found the ‘greener grass syndrome' is a significant driver of female registrations," said Christian Grant, a spokesperson for Illicit Encounters

"Women are becoming increasingly sexually assertive and less prepared to settle for second best in a relationship.

"Women don’t tend to marry the guy they had great sex with. They marry for more ‘sensible’ attributes – like whether he’ll be loyal and a good father." 

Other fascinating results of the survey concluded that: 

  • Over 56% of women admitted they had their best sex with previous partners rather than their current one 
  • 59% regularly fantasise about sex with previous partners 
  • Only 4% of women said their best sex was with a one night stand (and only 3% of men said the same)
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A recent survey has concluded that Irish men really don't like excess body hair on women. 

According to the Therapie Clinic who conducted the survey, nearly three-quarters of the 254 men questioned said that they would most likely not date a woman who failed to take care of her body hair. 

Ouch. 

Furthermore, 52% said they disliked hair on women and a further half said they would actively encourage women to get their body hair removed. 

And while it would be very easy to start giving out about Irish men at this point, it seems that Irish women can be equally critical. 

Only 6% of surveyed women admitted they found very hairy chests attractive and the majority said they found excess back hair to be extremely off-putting. 

And it seems that 4 out of every 10 women would encourage their man to tame his bodily hair. 

Yep, while we do not like these results, it seems that the women are just as bad as the men for encouraging grooming. 

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The countdown is officially on for Christmas, and along with gift-buying and party-planning, many Irish women are feeling overwhelmed by something else entirely.

Three in four Irish women admit they feel under pressure to look their best during the festive period, and over half of us (51%) say we’re worried about the ageing process.

Indeed, a shocking eight in ten (86%) of women said they’d consider having non-invasive cosmetic procedures like fillers, laser treatments and anti-wrinkle injections to help counteract the signs of ageing.

The results come as part of SHEmazing’s! Cosmetic Beauty research, which saw 994 women give their opinions on ageing, cosmetic procedures and the need to live up to a social media ideal of beauty.

Along with increased pressure from all sides to look our best, it seems cosmetic work – both surgical and non-surgical – is no longer just for the celebrity elite.

For many of us, the thought of getting a cosmetic procedure might be a long way off, but that’s certainly not the case for the 16% of participants who say they’ve already undergone one, be it surgical or non-surgical.

Of those, a whopping 18% made like the Kardashian-Jenner sisters and had their first procedure before the age of 20, while the majority (51%) chose to have work done in their 20s.

"The cosmetic beauty industry in Ireland is experiencing rapid growth. In the past year alone, Ireland has seen the rise in convenient lunchtime procedures such as derma and lip fillers," says SHEmazing!’s Susan Vickers.

And if you’re looking for Christmas present ideas, you might be in luck, as 54% of women surveyed said they be more than happy to receive a voucher for a cosmetic procedure as a festive gift.

Of course, cosmetic procedures aren’t the only answer when it comes to looking our best – and over half of us count regular exercise as a key way to prevent signs of ageing.

As for other lifestyle changes, 38% of us do our best to get enough shut-eye, and 54% try to maintain a healthy diet.

Speaking about the "eye-opening" results, Susan said the rise of social media could be to blame for women’s unrealistic ideals of beauty.

"The rise in digital media and social networking platforms has fuelled young people’s obsession with aesthetics," she said, citing Instagram and Snapchat as two examples.

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One urban legend has been debunked with regards to our activity in the bedroom.

While it has been long believed that men are the ones who just can’t wait to get it on, Kindara a fertility app asked their female users how they really felt about sex and came up with some interesting findings.

As it turns out, women want sex just as much as their partners- or even more.

After surveying 500 of their female users about their opinions on the female libido it was found that 75 per cent said they want to have sex with their partners more than three times a week.

Another 13 per cent said that they wanted to have sex more than six times a week. More than half of the women surveyed said that they were not entirely satisfied with the amount of sex they were currently having.

While 72 per cent of those surveyed said they orgasm every time they’re with their partner and “many” do multiple times, just over half said an emotional connection was key to “good” sex. 23 percent cited foreplay as being more important.

The biggest obstacle when it comes to women fulfilling these desires: stress.

40 per cent of those surveyed cited stress as being the number one reason that aren't having as much sex as they would like.

However, 18 per cent of those surveyed revealed that absolutely nothing would get in their way if they wanted to have sex. 

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