Today’s world seems to be steeped in discussions about sexuality, sex positivity, and consent.
A record number of Americans today believe that there is nothing wrong at all with having sex outside the bounds of marriage, and our culture is more accepting of non-heteronormative relationships. So with all this sex positivity going around, why are millennials having less sex?
Studies have shown that on average, millennials are having sex less often and at a later age than their predecessors. And while this sex recession is happening among all generations, attention seems to be focused around the young people.
So let’s examine why millennials aren’t getting it on as often.
Parents Kill the Mood
One of the biggest reasons millennials are having less sex is among the oldest in the book – their parents are in the way. Given that the youngest millennials are at this point finishing college educations, this may surprise you. But crushing economic pressures and a lack of available housing have left many millennials still rooming with their parents.
According to some recent polls, as many as a third of millennials still live with their parents. And as many of us may know, it’s hard to get your groove on when Mom and Dad are in the next room. And that’s not mentioning the difficulties of bringing home a partner multiple times a week.
Good Sex Is Harder to Find
Another big motivator behind the sex recession may be that good sex is just harder to find these days. For one thing, it’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy – the less sex you have, the worse you are at it. But porn and poor sex education have been a contributing factor in this aspect of the sex recession.
While watching porn doesn’t on its own lead to less sex, it can lead to some distressing sexual expectations, especially for men. The scenes of muscle-bound men slamming ten-inch dongs into moaning partners are not at all realistic, nor do they show what makes for good sex. But because young people aren’t getting a proper sex education, they’re turning to these videos to learn, and it’s leading to less satisfying sex.
We Take Care of Ourselves
Given that it’s become so hard to find satisfying sex with a partner, young people are turning to sources that they know can give them what they need – themselves. Masturbation rates are on the rise in both men and women. Part of this is that masturbation has become less taboo, but part of it has to do with convenience.
Let’s run a quick scene here: it’s a Saturday night, and you’re feeling randy, but you don’t know anyone who’s down to get down. Do you: A) skim through the hundreds of undesirable partners on a dating app until you find someone you could tolerate for long enough to hopefully get off, or B) pull out your favorite masturbation aids and get down to business?
Simply put, it’s easier to take care of sexual needs on our own.
We’re Too Busy
The gig economy has been great for millennials in a whole number of ways. It’s provided non-traditional earning opportunities, workplace flexibility, and more opportunities to pursue the things we enjoy. But one thing it may not be helping with is getting laid.
More flexible hours often translates to working longer hours, leaving less time for other pursuits. It’s hard to get a date if you spend your Friday nights driving for Uber. And even if you do have the night off, who can justify spending the money instead of earning a little more working?
Most Dating Apps Suck
We know, we know – we should go outside and meet each other face-to-face for a change.
But here’s the reality: online dating is how many young people meet these days, and it’s easy to understand why. Rather than trying to play the guessing game of if someone you’re interested in is single, of a compatible sexual orientation, and interested, we can just open a whole collection of people who we know fit those criteria.
But even with all the conveniences that some online dating services offer, many of them still kind of suck. It’s hard to find a mature, long-term relationship when the expectation is so skewed towards hookup culture. And there are a lot of people on dating apps who are not who they claim – specifically older married men trying to get down with women young enough to be their daughters.
It’s hard to find any sort of a reasonable connection in this environment. There’s an automatic distrust that comes with meeting someone on the internet, and it takes some time to get past that. After all, if you can’t trust that someone is who their profile says, how are you going to trust them in an intimate encounter?
We Aren’t Settling
The internet has also had a significant impact on the sexual discourse happening today. Take this article for an example: can you imagine an article like this being published in a 1950s newspaper?
But with the diversity and anonymity of the internet, people feel more comfortable discussing sexual topics in frank, unapologetic terms.
And while this openness has led to a wonderful move towards sex positivity, it has also led to higher standards. Decades ago, people might not have had any way to verify that the sex they were having wasn’t all it could be. Now, people can talk about what constitutes good sex, and young people aren’t settling for less.
Relationships Are Hard
Relationships have always been hard work to maintain. We’ve all heard the phrase “marriage takes work,” and given the current American divorce rate of nearly two thirds, we know that statement is true. But while in the past a steady relationship was one of the only ways to have acceptable sex, times have changed.
With the rise of hookup culture, young people can get sex whenever they want it, meaning they don’t necessarily need to have a relationship with all the strings attached. But by the same token, you’re more likely to have sex more often if you have an available trusted partner all the time. Ergo, millennials may be hooking up more, but they’re having sex less.
Learn More About the Sex Recession
There are a lot of reasons why young people are having less sex right now. The sex recession is a complex issue involving economics, changing social values, the rise of the internet age, and the real estate market. So if you’re a millennial who’s not getting much (or any) action, don’t worry – you are far from alone.
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