Everything you always wanted to know about sex and Bulgarians, but…oh, never mind

If you have a Bulgarian wife or girlfriend (preferably not both, for the sake of morality and the work ethic) what you may read below may induce a feeling of nervousness.

Because it turns out that Bulgarian women prefer good quality sex to fidelity. Or so says a poll released in Sofia on December 13 2012. If you are still feeling confident, for reasons which must remain between us, please read on.

Bulgarian women, according to Roumen Bostandzhiev, in attendance at a news conference to interpret the findings of the poll, prefer quality to loyalty. “If there is someone else who offers better quality, why not take advantage?” he put it in paraphrase, in this case not referring to designer handbags, second-hand cars, corporate mobile phone packages, discount travel offers to Lake Ohrid for New Year…oh, you know what I mean.

Bulgarian men, according to the poll, prefer fidelity to good sex. Bulgarian women (who may or may not be nodding at this point, or nodding off) do not agree, going by the poll. Fifty-one per cent prefer “sensations” first – presumably, not a reference to a new flavour of rakiya – and outdo the 31 per cent who place fidelity first, seemingly in the way that those who guard cash vans or propagate right-wing politics do.

Among Bulgarians aged 18 to 24, about 73 per cent get their information about sex from the internet while those aged over 50 “mostly read literature on the subject”.

The current author really has to wonder about such polls (disclosure: the current author is over 50). Anyone in that bracket, which spans current existence and death, either is keeping abreast with the literature, or seeking an aide memoire, or reminiscing.

Leave alone the definition of “sex” (a subject on which at least one leader of the Free World has been known to give congressional evidence) or, for that matter, the definition of “literature” (a subject about which learned counsel argued in the 1960s in the case of Lady Chatterley’s Lover).

The poll found that the sex life of Bulgarians is “pretty intense”, a conclusion based on the stated assertion that Bulgarians are having sex at least once a week. So the pollsters were not around in the early 1980s, then.

The same poll seemingly did not address the statistical discrepancy between sex at least once a week and a birthrate in Bulgaria that closely resembles the performance of a brick down a mineshaft, but seasoned observers of statistics need not expect too much. Apart from possibly considering that contraception must be widespread, or that the high rate of smoking among Bulgarians is having an egregiously deleterious effect  on sperm count.

According to pollsters, the frequency stated by Bulgarian men about the rate that they were having sex was higher than that stated by women, an anomaly that lends itself to a range of conclusions but which the pollsters interpreted as meaning that “men tend to exaggerate”. They’re no fools, these pollster chappies, eh?

Given that you – if you are a regular reader of The Sofia Globe and are astonished to find a story on this website that is about something other than politics, economics and the European perspectives of the Western Balkans, to say nothing of the euro zone crisis – may be wondering when we are going to bring in these issues, you will be interested to note that Bulgarians are doing it at a greater rate than Serbians, while apparently the people of Greece are experiencing a significant downturn.

(I had promised myself before writing this that I would avoid ghastly references like “significant downturn” but, oh well, in for a penny, in for a bailout. A ménage a trios is simply more fun than a troika, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

Meanwhile, and perhaps in the context of the December 13 2012 figures released by Eurostat that Bulgarians have the lowest spending power of any country in the European Union, the pollsters were told that four per cent of Bulgarians said that their “most exciting sexual experience” had been with a prostitute. Encouragingly, however, the vast majority of Bulgarians said that their most exciting sexual experience had been with their regular partners.

However, the bell curve is uneven. The older a Bulgarian gets, the more likely it is that their most exciting sexual experience is with, as it is put, a lover or a mistress.

Unlike – according to the poll – Bulgaria’s southern neighbours the Greeks, the global financial and economic crisis has not done much to dampen the ardour of Bulgarians. Two-thirds of Bulgarians said that they were making love at the same rate as before the advent of the financial crisis.

At this point, the current correspondent is tempted to be mischievous. There are any numbers of factors. Bulgarians may also be staying at home and having sex because it is illegal for them to smoke in restaurants. Or because there is nothing decent, so to speak, to watch on television, or certainly that reading any Bulgarian newspaper is a capital waste of effort. Or because Bulgarians have the lowest spending power in the EU, qv.

However, it also seems that Bulgarians are more open to talking about sex than Serbians (if you are wondering what this whole Serbians thing is about, it is because the poll compared and contrasted Serbians and Bulgarians. No one, in good faith, was trying to provoke another Balkan War on the topic of sexual prowess rather than territorial claims.) To introduce a factor in no way referred to in the poll, could this be the reason that Bulgaria made it into the EU before Serbia? Apart from that Kosovo thing and a few other issues highlighted in the regular European Commission reports, I suppose one would have to ask Brussels.

Then again, Bulgaria is still subject to a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism which, if you think about it, could sound rather kinky. Again, if the path to EU accession depends on meeting all the criteria required, Serbians may have less to worry about than they first thought, unless speaking openly about sex is to be introduced as a new requirement, if only to make European Commission official documents a great deal less dreary reading.

According to the poll, 44 per cent of Bulgarian men had no problem speaking openly about their sexual experiences, while the rate for Bulgarian women was 35 per cent and for Serbians overall, 25 per cent.

In a finding that seasoned observers may find less than astonishing, it seems that Bulgarian men spend more time than Bulgarian women do looking at pornography. However, in all, only 16 per cent of Bulgarians told pollsters that they watch porn.

Moving swiftly on, it also seems that Bulgarians and Serbians have it in common that sex is only in second place in importance in a relationship. For both, honesty is in first place. (I have liked every Serbian I have ever met. Every Greek too.)

The difference between Bulgarians and Serbians, apparently, is that while of both more than half have sex more than once a week, Serbians are more likely to be doing it with someone to whom they are married. The statistical factor skewing this, apparently, is that the rate of people getting married rather than living together is higher in Serbia than in Bulgaria.

These Balkan countries, at the same time, face prospects less depressing than the British, going by a separate poll.

This poll found that in the UK, people were going to sleep a full 90 minutes later than they were 10 years ago, but that was because they were in bed – updating their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Of Brits in bed, according to the poll, 25 per cent were on the internet in general, 15 per cent watching online streaming of television shows and 13 per cent were in social networks such as Facebook.

Maybe it all has to do with spending power, by which I mean, the affordability of mobile internet technology that you can take to bed with you. Of course.

(Photo: Petrenko)




Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.