Jokes and generalisations about the gender divide were (and continue to be) a favourite cheap device in contemporary British advertising. I wore frilly clothes and dated a lot of alpha males, who lectured me through dinner before picking up the tab.

Indeed, much of the culture can be divided along "his" and "her's" lines. Now that I'm a little older (and a handful of failed relationships wiser), I have abandoned my fantasies of being rescued in favour of an equal partnership.

At the very bottom of the list were "male-dominated" countries, such as Indonesia and Japan.

The survey, conducted by Edward Laumann, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago, found that people living in countries with the highest levels of gender equality have the most satisfaction with their relationships and sex lives.

Britain ranked at the bottom of the list of Western nations, with only 59.8 per cent reporting they are happy in bed, and even fewer have good things to say about their relationships.

The study found what everyone in a marriage or long-term relationship already knows: that sexual satisfaction can almost always be measured in direct correlation to relationship happiness. Since returning to Canada a couple of years ago, my romantic life has improved - and drastically.

While part of this may well be attributable to the fact that I'm on home turf again, a more important factor is that Canadian men and women simply get along better than their British counterparts. My father rarely went out drinking with his buddies. My Seventies hippy feminist mother dressed my sister and me in sturdy shoes and overalls, cut our hair short and forbade us from watching The Flintstones or the Dukes of Hazard on television, because of their demeaning depictions of women.

This, according to Laumann's study, is the key to a long and happy romantic future.

In a recent interview, he said that in relationships based on equality, couples tend to focus on each other's pleasure.

Seeing nothing wrong with these single friends, I had hoped theirs was simply a run of bad dating luck.

But Prof Laumann's survey confirmed my darker, nagging suspicion: that men and women just don't seem to get along very well in Britain today.

Prof Laumann's study also shows that people all over the world are having longer sex lives - the vast majority reported being sexually active well into middle-age and into their eighties."The baby boomers are bringing a, let's call it, 'revitalised' attitude towards sexuality, where they're not content just to sit in a rocking-chair and watch the world go by," says Edward Herold, professor emeritus at the University of Guelph in Ontario.

"If they're sitting in a rocking chair, I guess they want their partner to be in the rocking-chair with them."Unless they want to end up in that rocking-chair alone, British men and women need to work on revising theory d.

Four years ago, I wrote an article for The Spectator complaining about the romantic ineptitude of the English male.