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Less Sex Please, We’re Young!

Why millennials and iGens are having less sex than Generation Xers

Sekkusu Shinai Shokogun: celibacy syndrome is a term coined by the Japanese press for  a country that just isn’t that interested in sex. But in reality it goes beyond Japan’s borders, it is affecting today’s youth, the millennials (born starting in the 1980s) and iGen (born in the ’90s) who are less likely to be having sex than young adults were 30 years ago.

150203124816-last-tango-in-paris-exlarge-169According to new research published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, today’s 20-year-olds are having less sex than the previous generation. About 15% of adults between the ages of 20 and 24 reported having no sexual partners since they turned 18. Just 6% of the previous generation said the same at that age.

Ryne Sherman at Florida Atlantic University, who is a co-author of the research, said it goes against popular notions that the internet has made casual sexual encounters more common. “You would expect, based on the popular notion that with apps such as Tinder, it’s a group that is looking for hook-ups and not long-term relationships,” said Sherman. “[But] what we are seeing is this group is less likely to hook-up, so to speak, than previous generations.”

The authors say the trend is primarily due to a so-called cohort effect, meaning that sexual behaviour appears to have changed between generations.

While the study itself did not examine why young people today are more abstinent than in the past, the authors suggest the trend could be down to myriad factors.

“This is part of a general theme of later maturation that’s been pretty well-documented,” said Jean Twenge, lead researcher of the new study and author of the book “Generation Me.”
Just as young adults are now less likely to have jobs and get married and are more likely to live with their parents, part of this sexual trend may have something to do with economic realities, she said. Still, other factors might also explain these results.
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Young people are living at home for longer, potentially stifling their sex life, while a rise in video games, online services for TV shows and movies such as Netflix, as well as the internet in general could be offering them an alternative way to spend time. What’s more, it is possible that hook-ups might involve modes of behaviour other than sex itself, while easy access to pornography could also be playing a role. “Access to pornography may be able to relieve sex drive,” said Sherman.

Too busy for sex

“There’s the possibility that technology has something to do with this,” Twenge said. If you’re spending more time texting with your friends and less time in person, she explained, you might have fewer opportunities to “hook up.” Or, more simply, since “there are more ways to entertain yourself,” sex is less important, being just one of many possibilities on a growing list.
mulholland dr ?? 2001 - Universal Pictures - All Rights Reserved
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Changing attitudes

But another factor, says Sherman, could be that the way in which people interpret questions asked in the survey has changed. “Young people in the 1950s, when they were asked if you had a sexual partner, [might] say ‘oh oral sex, that counts’, whereas young people today might say ‘oh no that doesn’t count because I didn’t actually have sexual intercourse’,” he said.

Data from the General Social Survey found that young adults between 18 and 25 did not report “more sexual partners since age 18, more frequent sex, or more partners during the past year” than Generation X respondents.

They’re commonly billed as the “hookup” generation, but this gives a false impression of millennials, explained Martin Monto, a sociology professor at the University of Portland who is not linked to the current study.
“The term ‘hookup’ is entirely ambiguous,” he said, and since it is “basically a nebulous term that could mean anything,” it has led to a misunderstanding of what’s actually going on today

Less pressure

Overall, the results suggest a win for the young adults who are not emotionally ready for a romantic relationship. The pressure is off everyone. However, “humans hit their sexual peak in their early 20s,” noted Twenge, so presumably there are many who are ready for and want a romantic relationship, but they simply have fewer opportunities.

Source: CNN.com; Theguardian.com; Businessinsider.com

The information here is purely for entertainment purposes. No "sex tourism" or "sex travel" promotion is expressed or implied. Any opinion expressed is purely that of the author.