- In 2018, the share of Americans who said they didn’t have sex for an entire year was the highest on record.
- In December, The Atlantic published an article about a “sex recession” among young adults.
- People have theorised that the lack of sex stems from the rise of social media, advances in women’s equality and independence, and generational differences.
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Ever since The Atlantic published a story in its December issue on what it called a “sex recession,” the internet has become increasingly concerned with the sex lives of millennials, the demographic that seems to be driving this decline in sex.
Now, data from the General Social Survey has reinforced the idea that the United States is in the midst of a larger “Great American Sex Drought,” The Washington Post reported.
Celibacy rates have increased steadily over the past three decades, but in 2018 the share of people who reported not having sex for the entire previous year was the highest on record. According to General Social Survey data, nearly one in four US adults reported having no sex during the past year.
It appears that millennials are fuelling the trend. From 2008 to 2018, the share of Americans ages 18 to 29 who reported having no sex doubled. They’re not the only ones giving up on sex, though.
While older generations coupled up and got married earlier than millennials, these people are now ageing past their sexual primes and are most likely having sex less as a result. Today’s young people are marrying later in life (if at all) and may be having less sex as a result.
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“There are more people in their 20s who don’t have a live-in partner,” Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, told The Post. “So under those circumstances I think less sex is going to happen.”
In addition to marriage trends, changing cultural norms may also be contributing to the sex drought. The increased availability of online entertainment, including streaming services and social media, play a role in how often sex occurs. That means even people who are coupled up may choose to spend their free time on Netflix or Instagram rather than on bedroom time with their partner.
Additionally, women have gained more independence in recent decades and feel they have a greater ability to pick and choose their partners. Straight women are getting married at record-low rates.
Still, this new data suggests young people aren’t the only ones widely abstaining from sex. It also raises the question of whether less sex is necessarily a bad thing, especially if it means women are more independent and able to exercise more control over their bodies.
- Read more
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