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Millennials are Having Less Sex Than Any Generation Ever Has


SourceThese should be boom times for sex.

The share of Americans who say sex between unmarried adults is “not wrong at all” is at an all-time high. New cases of HIV are at an all-time low. Most women can—at last—get birth control for free, and the morning-after pill without a prescription.

If hookups are your thing, Grindr and Tinder offer the prospect of casual sex within the hour. The phrase If something exists, there is porn of it used to be a clever internet meme; now it’s a truism. BDSM plays at the local multiplex—but why bother going? Sex is portrayed, often graphically and sometimes gorgeously, on prime-time cable. Sexting is, statistically speaking, normal.

Polyamory is a household word. Shame-laden terms like perversion have given way to cheerful-sounding ones like kink. Anal sex has gone from final taboo to “fifth base”—Teen Vogue (yes, Teen Vogue) even ran a guide to it. …

But despite all this, American teenagers and young adults are having less sex.

To the relief of many parents, educators, and clergy members who care about the health and well-being of young people, teens are launching their sex lives later. From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent. In other words, in the space of a generation, sex has gone from something most high-school students have experienced to something most haven’t. (And no, they aren’t having oral sex instead—that rate hasn’t changed much.) …

When I called the anthropologist Helen Fisher, who studies love and sex and co-directs’s annual Singles in America survey of more than 5,000 unpartnered Americans, I could almost feel her nodding over the phone. “The data is that people are having less sex,” she said, with a hint of mischief. “I’m a Baby Boomer, and apparently in my day we were having a lot more sex than they are today! … Every year the whole Match company is rather staggered at how little sex Americans are having—including the Millennials.”

Brace yourselves for a double-barrel dose of “What the hell is wrong with you Millennials? Now you’ve even ruined sex!” yelling at clouds.


OK, not you can unflinch. Because I’m not doing that.

Millennials aren’t banging the way their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents did? No shit they’re not. And it’s got nothing to do with any kind of school abstinence program, pressure from their parents or the church guilting them into waiting until marriage. All those groups could’ve won that war without firing a shot. Young people aren’t doing it like people used to for the simplest reason in the world. Because they have something those earlier generations didn’t.

They have options.

Think about what life used to be like. You know why settlers on the prairie had so many kids? It wasn’t to raise extra hands to work on the farm. It was out of boredom. What the hell else did they have for entertainment in those days? How many times could you read the same fucking Mark Twain book? How many stories could you tell by the fireplace before you said “enough of this,” went off into your corner of the cabin and got some, just to break up the monotony.

Or take when I was a kid. A while back my brother got his hands on a DVD of a Patriots game from when I was like 13. And what struck me was how every commercial was for either beer or car care products. Batteries. Anti-freeze. Motor oil. Headlights. Today ad is either for Big Bang Theory or penis medicine. Men then didn’t need dick pills because they spent so much of their available time flushing their radiators or changing their oil they needed sex when they finally got in the house. And Nature provided.

Full disclosure, I didn’t have sex when I was in high school either. Due to a sociological phenomenon known as being “awkward and unattractive.” But it’s not like I didn’t want to. I wanted it a lot. Because my alternatives were a handful of TV channels, my record collection and Atari. If I grew up in a world of premium cable, streaming, Blu-Ray, SiriusXM, the ability to listen to any song ever recorded by saying the magic word “Alexa” in front of it and XBox? Believe me trying to get laid by any female in my class at Weymouth South High wouldn’t have cracked the Top 100 on my Wish List.

And I haven’t even mentioned porn. Your friends’ older brother’s Penthouse collection only made you want it more. Today, I can’t imagine wanting to put in all the time, effort and hassle it would take to maybe score a Weymouth 5 when you have unlimited free access to all the San Fernando Valley 9.5s you could ever want. I totally appreciate that the average 18 year old would rather just go that route and then get back to “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

So no judgment from me, all you youngsters. Just keep doing what you’re doing and everything will take care of itself. Though if you guys could keep doing the Beast With Two Backs with your hot teachers, just to keep the numbers up, that’d be great.