Reasons Why Millennials Are Having A Hard Time Getting Laid
Twenty-somethings may have countless romantic options at their fingertips, but a new study shows that millennials are less likely to be sexually active than previous generations.
We are living in an age of sexual fluidity. It seems like every week I become aware of a new gender identity or sexual orientation. So, it's of no surprise that Millennials tend to have a more accepting view towards sex and sexuality than previous generations. A study conducted by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, surveyed over 33,000 adults about their attitudes towards sex. Positive attitudes towards premarital sex increased from 42 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2012. Positive attitudes towards same sex relationships have also increased dramatically, from 13 percent in 1990 to 44 percent in 2012. But, Twenge also found something that seems paradoxical compared to the findings stated above: Although young adults today are more accepting of sex, they are having less of it than previous generations.
Twenge found that millennials are much less likely to be sexually active when compared to previous generations, especially the Baby Boomers. She found that 25-year-old Baby Boomers had an average of about 11 sexual partners, Generation X had an average of 10. Millennials look like puritans with only eight sexual partners. A study in 2013 found that 44 percent of females and 47 percent of males experienced sex at some point. Compared to 25 years ago, this represents a significant decrease: a 14 percent drop for females and a 22 percent drop for males.
So, what is going on here? If we millennials are so open-minded, why are we so seemingly prudish when it comes to sex?
Women Aren't Feeling As Pressured Into Sex
Women in today's society are feeling more empowered and in control of their sexuality than ever before. Women are less likely to be having sex because they feel like that they should do it to appease a potential partner, says Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families.
"As people have gotten much more accepting of all sorts of forms of consensual sex, they've also gotten more picky about what constitutes consent," Coontz said. "We are far less accepting of pressured sex."
Too Busy With Work
Although Baby Boomers like to say that Millennials are a lazy generation, Millennials are much more hard-working than previous generations give us credit for. A reason why Millennials may be avoiding sex is simply because they are too busy, says biological anthropologist and Match.com scientific advisor, Helen Fisher.
"It's a highly motivated, ambitious generation," she said. "A lot of them are afraid that they'll get into something they can't get out of and they won't be able to get back to their desk and keep studying."
Less Likely To Engage In Risky Behavior
Younger Millennials were born after the HIV/AIDS scare in the ‘80s, and they grew up with a much more comprehensive sexual education than previous generations.
"This is a generation that has grown up with an awareness of HIV/AIDS," said Jeffrey Arnett, a research professor at Clark University. "When the boomers were in their heyday, that didn't exist and it seemed like free love was a good idea."
A study released by the CDC estimates that there are over 110 million STIs among American men and women. This may be reason enough why some Millennials don't readily jump in the sack with the first person they hit it off with on Tinder.
Unrealistic Expectations Make Dating For The Average-Looking Person Hard
Dating apps like Tinder are not meant to highlight someone's personality. You have about 500 characters to describe yourself and six photo slots to put your best face forward. When you use these types of dating apps, you are, for the most part, solely judged on your appearance. When you are just one person in a sea of faces (Tinder has about 50 million users worldwide), it is likely an okay-looking person will get lost in the crowd.
"For a lot of folks who are of average appearance, marriage and stable relationships was where they were having sex," said Twenge. "[And dating apps may be] leaving some people with fewer choices and they might be more reluctant to search for partners at all."
Desensitized To Personal Interactions
In our digital age, people are far more likely to communicate via the Internet than in person. For example, I've only met a couple of my employers in person. We conduct ourselves through texts and emails. We can hide our flaws behind a computer or phone screen. We can take our time to come back with witty or charming responses. We are stripped of these protections when we meet face-to-face with someone, and that can be a daunting prospect for many Millennials.
"The nature of communication now is anti-sexual," said Norman Spack, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "People are not spending enough time alone just together. There's another gorilla in the room: It's whatever is turned on electronically."
Don't Want To Get Emotionally Involved
We are the generation that coined the term "catching feelings." It is something that more often than not is said with an element of fear. We don't want to get romantically or even sexually involved with someone because of we fear what that relationship could do to our emotional well-being. Some Millennials rather err on the side of caution by cocooning their feelings away from a potential danger. However, by acting this way they are forgoing potential romantic and sexual satisfaction.
Anti-Depressant Use On The Rise
There may be a biological reason why Millennials are having less sex, too. In a study conducted by Twenge, she found that Millennials are more dependent on anti-depressants than previous generations. Anti-depressants and stimulants like Adderall, which many Millennials use and abuse, are linked to a decreased sex drive.