That's the claim recently made by the Italian paper La Stampa
, as reported in The Telegraph
According to yesterday's front page of La Stampa, an article entitled "The Lunch Time Swingers" suggests an estimated 500,000 Italian couples are swapping partners at private sex clubs. Thousands more are taking part in the activity in a more informal fashion, doing it in car parks, specially designated beaches, and even cemeteries. The article said wife swapping had increased everywhere "at a rate that makes you dizzy", primarily thanks to the internet... While 500,000 members meet in 200 private clubs across the country to swap, they believe that figure is only the start, and the real figure is closer to two million, a quarter of Italy's eight million sexually active citizens.
Their source for this information is "a Rome-based body called The International Federation for the Protection of Rights and Freedom, or Federsex, for short."
I can't find any information about this organization, nor about how it might have obtained these figures. My suspicion is that it pulled them out of thin air.
Sexual behavior lends itself to wild rumors. For instance, back in 2003 the British media worked itself into a lather over the idea that there was a "Dogging" craze sweeping the country, which involved people having sex in public places. And what about the 2006 report
from the Japan Family Planning Association which claimed that 7.9% of Japanese men aged 40-45 were virgins?