More than 100 years ago we were the first to get the vote, and in recent years, we've had some of the most powerful jobs in the country.

Now Kiwi women have come out on top again - but this time it's in bed.

According to a global survey on market research website, New Zealand women are the most sexually experienced in the world, with an average of 20.4 sexual partners in a lifetime, more than any other nationality.

Comedian Michele A'Court thinks the findings prove New Zealand women are more honest than those in other countries.

In the US, for example, some young women proudly proclaim their virginity, despite engaging in non-penetrative sex acts, she says. "Without making myself sound like a slapper, my initial reaction is that 20.4 doesn't sound like a huge amount over a lifetime."

Sexologist Dr Michelle Mars puts the result down to the failings of Kiwi blokes.

"New Zealand men aren't very good at picking up women unless they're really drunk. So what tends to happen is in New Zealand, women are just as likely to ask men to have sex as men are to ask women.

"While a lot of people would read that statistic quite negatively, I think it's quite a positive. It's more of a gender balance in people getting the kind of sex they want."

Former gossip columnist Bridget Saunders, who is writing a book on bad sex, believes New Zealand women are "incredibly sexually active" and is worried by the trend.

"A lot of it is to do with the new 'ladette' culture," she says. "It's almost like wanting to be one of the boys, or to be more like one of the boys than the boys are themselves."

The world's most promiscuous men were Austrians, with an average of 29.3 partners.