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Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago, Says Survey (theguardian.com) 643

An anonymous reader writes: A survey of nearly 27,000 people suggests that millennials are less likely to be having sex than younger adults were 30 years ago. The Guardian reports: "The research, conducted in the U.S., found that the percentage of young adults aged between 20 and 24 who reported having no sexual partner after the age of 18 increased from 6% among those born in the 1960s, to 15% of young adults born in the 1990s. Published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior by researchers from three U.S. universities, the study involved the analysis of data collected through the nationwide General Social Survey that has asked U.S. adults about their sexual behavior almost every year since 1989. The results reveal that young adults aged between 20 and 24 and born in the 1990s were more than twice as likely to report that they had had no sexual partners since the age of 18 than young adults of the same age born in the 1960s. Just over 15% of the 90s-born group reported that they had not had sex since they turned 18, compared to almost 12% of those born in the 1970s or 1980s. For those born in the 60s the figure was just over 6%. The shift [towards increasing abstinence seen among all adults since the 1960s] was greater for white individuals, those who had not gone to university, and those who attended religious services. The trend was also greater for women than for men: the authors found that 2.3% of women born in the 1960s are sexually inactive, compared to 5.4% of those born in the 1990s. That, the authors suggest, could in part be down to a rise in so-called virginity pledges as well as concerns about social stigma. As for why this is the case, the authors of the study suggest it could have something to do with the fact that young people are living at home for longer, thus "stifling their sex life," and playing video games and consuming media in their free time. In addition, easy access to pornography may also be playing a role. A co-author of the research, Ryne Sherman, also suggests another factor could be that the way in which people interpret questions asked in the survey has changed. "Young people in the 1950s, when they were asked if you had a sexual partner, [might] say 'oh oral sex, that counts,' whereas young people today might say 'oh no that doesn't count because I didn't actually have sexual intercourse,'" he said.
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Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago, Says Survey

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  • NO MONEY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @06:17AM (#52634313)

    Read. My. Lips.

    They.
    Have.
    No.
    Money.

    Forget your bullshit socio-economic-policital-technobabble explanations. This isn't about cell-phones, or aids, or sex-ed, or work-life balances, or aids, or gender studies, or social media, or tv shows, or Donald fucking Trump!

    It's the economy stupid.

    Younger Millenials are fucked. They have less jobs, less stable jobs, less income, more debt, higher rents, etc, etc,... and most importantly less opportunity to buy a home. They cannot afford one, they will not be given a loan, they cannot hope to get the cash together to get on with their lives and pay for the dating scene. It's the economy stupid.

    This happened in Japan. It's happenning here. The sexy-time rate, house-buying rate, and baby popping rate are directly proportional to the opportunity and stability on offer to young people in society. Millenials have been fucked over to pay for Boomer's plummeting pensions and guess what, the goose has stopped laying the egg.

    It's the economy stupid.

    • Re:NO MONEY (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @06:29AM (#52634339)

      Younger Millennials are fucked.

      I thought the article's saying the opposite.

    • One of the less discussed aspects of the 'whole millenials are poor' debate is 'Where did the grandparents' money go?' Specifically we need to recognise that the property does descend through families, and that grandparents should be giving it to the younger generation if their kids are well established. It's not the whole answer, but will reduce the pain for some - as long as the grandparents think this through.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:31AM (#52634521)

        The grandparents are either still alive, active and living independently spending that money, or they're paying for expensive health care to keep their ailing bodies going, or they're living in an assisted care facility that costs $100k/year and requires you sign over all your assets.

        We're also kind of past the era where the "grandparent" generation easily acquired a lot of wealth in the form of meaningful hard assets like real estate. I think that was more common 1-2 generations ago, but in many ways the current grandparent generation probably came of age in the 1960s, got hammered in the stagflation of the 1970s during the peak of their earning power and then suffered the long-term stagnation of wages like everyone else.

        We're literally onto the 3rd or even 4th generation of "middle class" people who have lived in an era of stagnant wages which generally means stagnant or zero wealth accumulation, and much of the accumulated wealth they have ends up burned up by college tuition and health care.

    • If that's true, then I think it would be the first ever instance of poverty causing a decline in sexual activity and would be a very interesting research result.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Dude you have no idea, poor people do nothing but fuck, it is all they can afford to do. Young people are put off by disease as they are much more aware of them, specifically of course AIDS (why gamble with your life), free pron has taken the mystique out of sex and turned it into the shallow rutting of animals with the exchange of bodily fluids, (lots of bodily fluids, every imaginable kind of bodily fluid, ugh), the only productive output of sex is children and in today's capitalist society they are hugel

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        free pron has taken the mystique out of sex and turned it into the shallow rutting of animals with the exchange of bodily fluids

        When was sex anything but the "shallow rutting of animals with the exchange of bodily fluids"?

      • Perhaps poor people do nothing but fuck in the absence of other forms of affordable entertainment - but thanks to modern technology and the media industry, even the lowest-income Americans are now drowning in entertainment. More movies, TV and game than they can hope to consume, plus the possibility of an entire social life lived online for almost no cost at all.

    • Re:NO MONEY (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gtall ( 79522 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @08:30AM (#52634825)

      Or the Millenials just aren't picking up their end of the economy like the Boomers did before them. In some sense, it might not be the Millenials' fault. They were raised in an economy that produced without their contribution. They simply never learned how to build enterprises.

      I do think they also got somewhat behind the 8-ball on school costs. The Boomers thought education was great, let's spend more money on it. Unis promptly stood up to the task of spending that extra money and inflated their costs. The Boomer economy also screwed the unis by siphoning off the most economically viable with high salaries.

      The sainted American people got into the act during the aughts by buying extra houses, flipping houses, getting second mortgages, etc. When the music stopped, the economy had been distorted to such an extent that it was difficult for new businesses to start.

      Old established businesses learned the best way to compete was to buy up nascent competitors before they became a threat thereby whacking any future employment gain from those nascent businesses.

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      I never realized until now that poor people have always had less sex than the middle class. Strangely, I've never gotten that impression before. It's almost like poor boys can't find poor girls to date or something?

      True money helps with courtship but this article is about sex not marriage. The idea that poor people have less sex is new to me, it seems contrary to.. Well... The traditional breeding habits of the poorer countries of the world.

    • Millenials have been fucked over to pay for Boomer's plummeting pensions and guess what, the goose has stopped laying the egg.

      More specifically, Reagan and Thatcher cooked the goose. Their apologists often report that it was delicious.

  • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

    I'm not sure the "that doesn't count as sexual relations" thing is the best explanation if this is a recent trend. I'd have expected it to show up in responses long before now, not just those who actively grew up after the infamous Clinton episode.

    Compared to the 1960's? Sure. But that effect should have begun becoming noticeable pretty early in the 2000's, when teens old enough to be paying attention (somewhat) to culture and politics would have started becoming sexually active.

  • Kids these days... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @06:33AM (#52634363)
    Drug use, alcohol use, smoking is in decline, not just in the USA but in most developed nations. Violent crime of many kinds is also on the decline in developed nations too. In some categories these stats are quite dramatic (homicide and drug use in particular have halved since all time highs in 80s/90s, wow).

    In fact I am very genuinely concerned that kids these days don't party as hard as we did. In fact it's been years since I've had to tell any to get off my lawn!
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @10:11AM (#52635453) Journal

      Drug use, alcohol use, smoking is in decline

      Well, there's the problem right there. No wonder millennials aren't having any sex.

      Back in the '80s, there was so much cocaine, quaaludes and reefer that we'd have sex fifteen or twenty times a day. Often with inanimate objects. Back in college, my friends had to pry me off an abstract statue on the quad whom I believed to be my soulmate.

  • It is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @06:36AM (#52634375)

    it isn't because they don't have money, sex is cheap, it is convincing the girl to have sex that can get expensive.

    It is because they have more things to do, the freedom to do them, and options.

    50 years ago the average age a couple married and started popping out kids was 20.
    30 Years ago the average age a couple married and started popping out kids was 22.
    The last time I looked it was 28 and rising quickly.

    18 may start your adult life, but you need 4 years of college to earn more than $50k a year for the rest of your life.(yes some exceptions are available but not that many)
    Then you get to 22 and you need to start working.

    50 years ago women were not even allowed to buy a car or home without a male cosigner. (Equal credit act wasn't passed until 1974)

    We gave women freedom, they no longer need to be bound fiscally, physically,or socially to a man to survive. This is the natural result. Why people can't understand it or find it shocking proves just how stupid they are.

    • Women haven't been bound fiscally or socially to men for decades. It is 2017. That isn't it. What else do they "have to do"? Stare at Facetgram? Seriously, there is nothing better to do when you are single than have sex.
      • Re:It is simple (Score:4, Interesting)

        by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:44AM (#52634575)

        I think, though, that it takes a generation or two for the social attitudes about gender relationships to become really ingrained. The women who first came of age in an era of real financial independence were raised by women who didn't know any better in an era where the expectations were different, so they mostly internalized the older value system.

        Their daughters were raised with slightly different expectations and those women's daughters (more or less the millennials) were one of the first generations raised in an era of expanded options and different attitudes.

        Now, you couple that in with some evolutionary reproductive biology instincts that are oriented towards not selecting a mate who isn't seen to be a resource-rich provider for offspring and you have a situation where they don't need a male partner in any social or economic sense, either, so they've kind of selected themselves out of situations where sex is likely to happen.

    • Re:It is simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:20AM (#52634491) Homepage

      it isn't because they don't have money, sex is cheap, it is convincing the girl to have sex that can get expensive.

      Not only that but it's the current state of laws, courts and child protection services. You'll find that it's men compared to the women who are mainly not giving a shit about it all. If you get married and have kids, the man is likely to be the person paying child support even if the women makes more. They're also more likely to be paying forever to the women as part of the settlement even if she makes more. She on the other hand will likely never pay a dime back in the other direction. Top that off that in child custody, if the women was a stay-at-home mother, and was a substance abuser, abused the kids or anything else. Even if she worked and wasn't the one taking care of the kids but the man was, they're more likely to hand her custody anyway while denying financial support. You're starting to get a list where it's not worth it at all. And then you can start getting into the stuff that even if you're not the father of the kid and it was a one night stand...you're still likely going to be the one paying. For a lot of men, all of that isn't worth the risk, hassle or anything else. And you can see all of that happening at your local family courts.

      One of my friends was threatened by CAS(for Americans that's like child services), that if he didn't quit his job he would have no parental rights and would advise the judge of such as their position. This was after they'd been split, she was heavily abusing drugs and had attempted to whore her 12 year old daughter out for more drugs, the police had intervened on the case(she was criminally charged with sexual exploitation, possession of child porn, manufacturing of child porn and a couple of others) and both kids wanted to be with their father instead and CAS still threatened him. Now we're getting into the "why the fuck would I even want to deal with this shit" realm.

    • Re:It is simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:40AM (#52634559) Homepage Journal

      Sex isn't cheap. You need privacy, and privacy is expensive. You might be lucky and get it at your parent's house, but chances are you will have to pay for it. Dorm rooms, rented apartments, mortgaged houses. None of them are cheap.

    • Re:It is simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @08:11AM (#52634707) Journal

      it is convincing the girl to have sex that can get expensive.

      It can... but if you're trying to go down the route of buying your way to sex, then you're only going to find women who are somewhat willing to be bought receptive. And you're going to put off all the ones who think you're trying to buy your way to sex and think that's skeezy. And that, rather circularly, is going to get expensive.

  • "Young people in the 1950s, when they were asked if you had a sexual partner, [might] say 'oh oral sex, that counts,' whereas young people today might say 'oh no that doesn't count because I didn't actually have sexual intercourse,'" he said.

    After all, the honourable residents of the White House never lie, do they?

  • Millennials: no, millennials parents: yes, millennials grandparents: no, .........
  • Simple Explanation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:14AM (#52634473)

    The results reveal that young adults aged between 20 and 24 and born in the 1990s were more than twice as likely to report that they had had no sexual partners since the age of 18 than young adults of the same age born in the 1960s.

    Well, they obviously lying about their age, so chances are they are less than truthful about their sex lives as well.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @11:21AM (#52636051) Homepage Journal

      Maths fail?

      20 in 2016 would be born in 1996. 24 in 2016 would be born in 1992. But more likely they just asked people "between the age of 20 and 24, how much sex were you having?", those being the years when people are at university and starting work, and sorted them by decade of birth.

      What exactly are you implying is untruthful here?

      • I think they're snarking on the possible interpretation of the text as "20 and 24 year olds born in the 1960s", i.e. people currently in their 20s, but born 50-ish years ago (who would then obviously be lying about one of those things).

  • The Beautiful Ones (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xororand ( 860319 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:42AM (#52634567)

    It's not money but oversocialization and overpopulation.

    In the 1960s John B. Calhoun conducted extensive experiments with mice, examining changes in their social behavior in an Utopian world.
    Calhoun gave the mice clean housing and unlimited access to food.

    After day 600, the social breakdown continued and the population declined toward extinction. During this period females ceased to reproduce. Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting. They ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits. Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males. They were dubbed "the beautiful ones." Breeding never resumed and behavior patterns were permanently changed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    A documentary on the subject:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    ---
    There's also a controversial opinion piece that partly aligns with Calhoun's scientific findings.
    Theodore Kaczynski's manifest "Industrial society and its future".
    http://editions-hache.com/essa... [editions-hache.com]

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @07:55AM (#52634637)

    It was at the beginning of 1967, first as a limited test market rollout in the Bay Area. So many people thought it was a big improvement over the cell division we had practiced up t that time that by April the press was already proclaiming a "summer of love." By fall, it had spread nationwide, and my generation became legend.

    So apparently today's young people are going back to cell division. Who could have known?

  • The previous generation defied their elders by having sex. Millennials are doing the opposite thing now — but for the same reasons...

    Maybe, humanity was smarter about it in the earlier centuries — when the unmentionables weren't mentioned (as often) in the news and entertainment channels.

    There is so much of it now, it must be turning some people off...

  • by shabble ( 90296 ) <qkjj13x02@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @09:20AM (#52635075)

    Why is a study about homosexual and bisexual behaviour actually being on the increase [springer.com] (eventual source of the 'story',) that doesn't mention abstinence in it's heading or abstract being hijacked into a news story about something the study wasn't exploring?

    The number of U.S. adults who had at least one same-sex partner since age 18 doubled between the early 1990s and early 2010s (from 3.6 to 8.7 % for women and from 4.5 to 8.2 % for men). Bisexual behavior (having sex with both male and female partners) increased from 3.1 to 7.7 %, accounting for much of the rise, with little consistent change in those having sex exclusively with same-sex partners.

    (emph mine)

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @10:11AM (#52635447)

    I get all the arguments about declining buying power, wealth disparity and our media/online culture turning everybody into aloof nerds with no time for sex and the successful social interaction that is required for that, and it could very well be that that all factors into this development.

    However, I don't think that that is the sole problem. In Germany I observe the women of my generation and a decade or so younger caught up in demands and expectations that can only be called patently absurd. And I think it is very much the same in the USA, as in certain dynamics and structures in society these two countries are very similar.

    There are a lot of factors playing into this, such as women not yet completely atuned to having equal rights vis-a-vis their male peers and not yet having fully adjusted their expectations and their true responsibilities and 'duties' that come with it. Such as carefully balancing resource acquisition, mating and active survivaly strategies - by evolutionary and thus old-testatment definition a classic "mans job".
    There are studies that women are actually more unhappy today than they were back in the sixties, when they basically were second-class citizens. This could be due to the fact that despite all the media hype about women wanting to lead corporations and earn the big bucks, the vast majority of women would maybe rather have a guy doing all that annoying external survival stuff and rather sit at home with the tribe nurturing little humans.

    I very much think this is also due to some choice-effect coming up with equal rights and an abundance of goods needed for pure survival. For the first time in this planets history more people are obese than hungry or starving and a woman doesn't need a set of leader-warshipping willing-to-die-for-the-honor men close by to survive the other tribe warriors or the sabretooth lions roaming the area. She is free to choose when and if she takes a man and doesn't even need one to reproduce.

    That a modern society that succsessfully has decoupled sex from reproduction and moves everyting concerning mating and reproduction squarely into the domain of conscious decision shouldn't be too surprised about the development described in TFA.

    I expect this development to get worse and only change once society has moved into some sort of utopian mating-and-reproduction ritual or mechanism that tries to mitigate the effects of humanity moving further away from their mammal originins.

    Then again, statistical analysis of humanities gene-pool show that throughout the history of mankind, 4 out of 5 men never got to reproduce whereas 4 out of 5 women did - which very much fits the fact that women take 9 months to build a human but men roughly 20 minutes to squirt one into a woman. In evolutionary terms a male individual is measurably less worth than a woman, which these numbers, odly enough, reflect again.

    It's complicated, but I defenitely observe first-worlds women, equal rights and a choice effect with women playing into this. Especially after just having visited a classic macho-culture the last two weeks and observing mens and womens behaviour there. I was in moscow and my fairly recent new sweetheart is a russian lady. A difference of night and day in some aspects of socialisation vis-a-vis German or US women. No doubt. I wouldn't say it's all good that way, but until society fully grows up about these things I'd rather go 'classic couple' than have no stable relationship at all.

    Bottom line concerning this aspect of the problem:
    Women in the west need to emanzipate further and need to notice what work comes with being more independant. I'm sure us men can help by keeping a wide berth around women [youtube.com] who aren't quite there yet and who's demands and expectations reflect that.

    My 2 cents.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @11:54AM (#52636331)

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about millennials.

    Most millennials can barely look each other in the eye, have a conversation, or put down their phone long enough to take a piss, how could they possibly manage to meet someone and interact long enough to have sex?

    Seriously, this doesn't surprise me one bit. I think a lot of millennials are social misfits, incapable of real-world interaction except under the most dire of circumstances. Ordering a pizza over the phone seems to push many of them to their social-interactivity limits.

  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @04:13PM (#52638621) Homepage
    We are beginning to go down the same road as Japan has. It's the economy, stupid.
  • by jgotts ( 2785 ) <jgottsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @04:35PM (#52638863)

    In the 1960's it was possible for most Middle Class people to have a child in their early 20's and go on to live a successful life. Today it's almost mandatory for Middle Class people to attend college to have any hope for good paying jobs with the ability to be promoted, and good luck being able to raise a kid at the same time when you're paying today's ridiculously high tuition rates. The easiest way to avoid this little complication is to wait until you're done with school to even have sex at all. Sad but unfortunately true for people with average means.

    Ironically, for people who have no way to attend a good college today, they might as well have children because there is little or no hope for any kind of economic advancement anyway.

  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Wednesday August 03, 2016 @05:47PM (#52639573)
    I'm 31, and based in Melbourne, originally from Adelaide YMMV. I grew up in a smaller town. I noticed that many of the things which people are bitter about appeared to be true. But the reality is more complicated. When I was living in Adelaide, it was very hard to meet women and even harder to date them. Men outnumbered women by a large margin. After moving to Melbourne a few years ago I very quickly noticed that the gender ration has dramatically shifted. A lot of women had left Adelaide to move to Melbourne and I was finding myself surrounded by women, often younger single women. The social conditioning of the society is playing a role. In Adelaide the environment was very fishbowl-like and there was a really strong conservative vibe to the place. In Melbourne it's very socialist/egalitarian. People don't care if you're rich or poor. I have a car and I rent an apartment. Not a fancy apartment. Two bedroom and I spend about 1/3rd of my monthly salary on rent. This seemed to be enough to get interest. I don't think being wealthy is a criteria. I think it's more about the social circumstances and the economic circumstances that the couple find themselves in. Would you risk a pregnancy if you couldn't afford to raise a child? Probably not. The economy is crap at the moment. In Australia housing is ludicrous. $1 million is rapidly becoming the norm for house prices in Melbourne and Sydney. This hasn't affected the chances of getting sex, but has definitely changed how having kids and buying property operates. I can see how living at home with your parents to buy a house is going to kill your chances of sex.

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