Silicon Valley has a sex problem, according to Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor who is an advisor to President-elect Donald Trump.
In a must-read interview with The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, Thiel points out that techies in Silicon Valley are not having very much sex, and that it was part of the reason why so many people in the region criticised Trump’s comment from the Billy Bush tape.
Here’s what he said:
“On the one hand, the tape was clearly offensive and inappropriate. At the same time, I worry there’s a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex. One of my friends has a theory that the rest of the country tolerates Silicon Valley because people there just don’t have that much sex. They’re not having that much fun.”
Thiel may have a point.
Silicon Valley has the highest ratio of single men to single women, while the tech industry as a whole has struggled with gender imbalance for decades. (However, it’s worth noting that the San Francisco metropolitan area also has the highest ratio of people who identify as LGBT in the US).
In fact, Dr. Sandra Lindholm, a sex therapist and clinical psychologist in the Bay Area, recently told Forbes that she’s now seeing an uptick in young, male clients who complain about a variety of sexual challenges and issues.
“They’re coming to sex therapy because they don’t feel they have time or energy for sex,” Lindhold said.
Some of the common issues include low sexual desire, difficulty meeting women, and performance issues. Plus, she points out people in tech generally have a reputation for being introverted. Another particular issue that frequently comes up is what she calls “tech overload”: people spend so much time on their gadgets that they “forget about being in the moment.”
Although there’s no official data on Silicon Valley’s sex frequency, a 2012 survey by condom maker Trojan revealed that Bay Area residents had the least amount of sex and the shortest time in bed, in a sample of 10 major US cities including New York, Chicago, Miami, and so on.
Still, even with all the perceived lack of sex in the region, San Francisco and its nearby counties, like Alameda and San Mateo, haven’t suffered from birth rate declines. The US Census Bureau estimates the number of babies born in San Francisco and Alameda counties rose from 2010 to 2015, while San Mateo county’s birth rate stayed the same, despite early predictions that they would fall.