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United States Communications Science

Americans Are Having Less Sex Than 20 Years Ago, Study Finds (arstechnica.com) 391

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: American adults reported having nine fewer romps a year in the early 2010s than they did in the late 1990s -- dropping from an average of about 62 times a year between 1995 and 2000 to around 53 a year between 2010 and 2014. Researchers saw declines across ages, races, religions, education levels, employment statuses, and regions. They linked the sagging numbers to two trends: an increase in singletons over that period -- who tend to have less sex than married or partnered people -- plus a slow-down in the sex lives of married and coupled people. But the drivers of those trends are still unclear. The study is based on data from a long-standing national survey called the General Social Survey (GSS). It involves a nationally representative sample of Americans over 18 years old, surveyed most years between 1972 and 2014. The new study involved responses from 26,620 Americans. Specifically, researchers found that married people's annual whoopee frequency dropped from an average of nearly 69 in the 1995-2000 period to just below 56 in the 2010-2014 period. The unmarried saw their lovemaking drop from 54 per year to 51 in the same timeframes. Meanwhile, the number of people without steady partners -- married or otherwise -- rose from 26 percent of survey respondents in 2006 to 33 percent in 2014. People who took the biggest hits in the bedroom since the 1990s were those with a college degree (about 15 fewer times a year) and people living in the South (about 13 fewer times a year). The study has been published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
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Americans Are Having Less Sex Than 20 Years Ago, Study Finds

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  • by Shane_Optima ( 4414539 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @11:34PM (#53997293) Journal
    Too much Netflix, not enough chill?
    • by s.petry ( 762400 )
      Hand lotion sales begs to differ with the report.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @01:47AM (#53997941)

        They don't need fapping lotion in places where men have normal (non-mutilated) dicks.

        • You masturbate by rubbing your penis inside the "non-mutilated" flappy bits? Why do you hate yourself so much?

          Get some lube, regardless what your penis looks like, it'll only feel several orders of magnitude better.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          Uhh, actually sales of lubricant is higher in countries where circumcision is less-practiced. Dry-dogging simply sucks.

          I worked in porn. I've done a LOT of shipping internationally. USA exports more lube than it imports.

    • Close.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:26AM (#53997563)

      Too much Fa(r)cebook.

      Seriously, the number of people who spend all their relaxation time buried in that pile of steaming shite
      and ignoring their partner is just astounding, no wonder no intimacy happens....

      Especially, I have to say it sorry, women. Many seem to spend much of their lives following all the other
      women they know, and thinking that everyone else lives a better life than them (while also themselves
      only posting the highlights of their own lives there, as glamorized as possible..).

      Ignoring the usual 'no one on slashdot actually has physical relations' jokes, that really is the problem,
      people are just becoming emotionally detached through not enough face to face time, so is anyone
      actually surprised they are having less sex?

      Trying to explain it to someone caught up in that BS though is like pulling the pin on a hand grenade, then
      deciding its juggling time.. They will violently claim they dont spend 'that much' time on there, and that
      anyway its only to keep in touch with their friends, and that it has no impact on their happiness or relationship.

      That much denial is a scary thing...

      • Says the guy busy burying his nose in /. comments. But who needs women anyway? Seriously, though, internet is getting better than sex. 20 years till the VRpocalypse where everything virtual is better than you stupid "normies" can imagine. When you're riding through space on a dragon who cares about "children" and shit?
      • Bingo! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @05:34AM (#53998435)

        Too much Fa(r)cebook.
        Seriously, the number of people who spend all their relaxation time buried in that pile of steaming shite
        and ignoring their partner is just astounding, no wonder no intimacy happens ...

        Especially, I have to say it sorry, women. Many seem to spend much of their lives following all the other
        women they know, and thinking that everyone else lives a better life than them (while also themselves
        only posting the highlights of their own lives there, as glamorized as possible..).

        Bingo!
        I totally second that. Had precisely that experience with my last attempt to build a feasible relationship.
        People need a basic ettiquette when it comes to social media and smartphones. Smartphone, tablet and laptop off when you're having quality time with your SO is my rule.

        Facebook is not a social network, it's a global mental illness.

      • Re:Close.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SacredNaCl ( 545593 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @06:27AM (#53998555) Journal

        Too much Fa(r)cebook.
        Seriously, the number of people who spend all their relaxation time buried in that pile of steaming shite and ignoring their partner is just astounding, no wonder no intimacy happens.... Especially, I have to say it sorry, women.

        Its a little more than that, but that is certainly a part of it. I blame the smart phone. I thought I had a great marriage right up until my wife got an Iphone. Now admittedly I do spend a little too much time with computers and music gear. So I wasn't that worried about it when my wife first got her Iphone, but 6 months later I was genuinely lonely, felt ignored, felt like I could not a have a decent conversation with her, and its been a battle since. I try to have a conversation with her, she has to check this thing and wont give the courtesy of putting it away for all of it. I try to go places and do things with it -- we could be at an incredibly fancy restaurant sans kids and still has to whip this one (and yes, it might be limited to a brief snap of this to post about it, but its often not), I have sex with her and 30 seconds later that blue light is on. I can't even watch a movie with her without her checking it.

        I even took the step of introducing a high voltage static discharge into her prior one. She simply bought another within hours. She is not a morning person, so to see her sprint up even before I did to rush out to the Apple store was disheartening. Coming up upon a decade and I decided to file for divorce now rather than risk my retirement to it.

        Some people may have a less intense reaction to it than I do. It depends upon what speaks to you about being loved and feeling loved. For me its no different than choosing crack cocaine over your partner. 16 years together, the last 10 of them married.

        • Re: Close.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I feel ya.

          My first marriage also died a horrible death under a blue glow. Not a word at the restaurant table for texting under the table. Even better I found she was hooking up with old flames.

          (I'm not against that but don't don the life jacket before the soup arrives, and let the other passengers know please)

          I guess I should have read that from the mass panic of "zomgz I need to get a phone before we fly out". I've really never seen so much panic at the hands of potentially not having a web connection. She

      • Too much Fa(r)cebook.

        I think you'll find pornhub and xhamster, et al. get far more traffic than facebook.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @06:03AM (#53998491) Homepage

      I can save the "reserachers" a lot of time: People are having less sex because they're not as bored as before.

  • Distractions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ahziem ( 661857 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @11:38PM (#53997305) Homepage
    Correlation with the rise of smartphones, tablets, social media, video on demand, ubiquitous porn, and poor interpersonal skills?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hardest hit were those with a college degree so probably more to do with worklife balance. But the real story here is the annual average for married couples dropped from 69.

    • Re:Distractions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:55AM (#53998963)

      Also fear. Vague, insidious fear which turns people off.
      For decades the media has been dripping vague fears into our collective souls. fear of disease, of being mugged, attacked, bombed, fear of weather, fear of you-name-it. People have become risk-adverse for reasons they most times can't even name.
      "Let's not engage in X activity!" "Why?" "Because it's dangerous!"

      I've seen kids on trikes wearing more protection than a SWAT team member. I've seen people afraid to go for a swim because "this lake might be polluted". Eating fish at a restaurant? "It might have too much mercury". Inviting a co-worker out? "they might report me to HR for sexual harassment".

      People are more fearful of this and that than ever. It's collective madness.

  • gets in the way
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @11:42PM (#53997331)

    ...because people are evolving from homo sapiens into shpherical sapiens.

  • "Syfy" started making "Sci-Fi" again. And yes, some of it is even good. You're welcome. :-)

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @11:45PM (#53997351) Journal

    Do these figures include jacking it to Hentai?

  • 'an increase in singletons over that period -- who tend to have less sex than married or partnered peoples" Really?
  • Correllation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeB0Lton ( 962403 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @11:53PM (#53997399)
    Perhaps a correlation with the rising obesity rate?
  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:00AM (#53997435) Homepage Journal

    Men tend to initiate sex much more than women do. Men also tend to watch porn much more than women do. So I have a hunch the ease of access to porn has resulted in men getting their gratification alone while watching porn, thus less sex is taking place. Additionally the normal, average woman does not compare to your typical porn star, which may also result in men developing unrealistic standards and thus not having sex with their partner as much due to higher expectations.

    • Re:Porn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:21AM (#53997539)

      No, that's silly. The frequency of sex has to do with both people (and their respective schedules), and whether they actually communicate their needs to each other. When I watch porn it just makes me want to fuck the living crap out of my wife all the more.. that being said, I have to pay attention carefully to the signals, and do some things I normally don't really think about or feel like doing. As an added bonus, she's finally found her g-spot, and does this crazy thing with her hips, well.. whoosh!

      Also, "the average woman does not compare..."; in what way? Doesn't she have a brain, and all the other naughty bits? I've been with stunning girls who were like cold limp beef in bed, and grey-skinned Turkish pig-women who were completely fucking hot. It's all in your minds, my friends.. Average is far far better than none.

      It's like the weather: When it's crappy out, I remind myself that it's better than no weather at all.

    • Re: Porn (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Too many women nowadays fall short of "average" standards, even, and rather than try to do something about it, they go "healthy at every size" (fuckin bullshit too).

    • Relative speed and quality of porn (so I'm told) vs. aging, fattening population trends
    • Men tend to initiate sex much more than women do. Men also tend to watch porn much more than women do. So I have a hunch the ease of access to porn has resulted in men getting their gratification alone while watching porn, thus less sex is taking place. Additionally the normal, average woman does not compare to your typical porn star, which may also result in men developing unrealistic standards and thus not having sex with their partner as much due to higher expectations.

      Blaming it all on men is a bit unfair. Women also have unrealistic expectations. The regular average man also compares poorly to movie actors, pop stars and professional athletes which may be another contributing factor. People these days have a very unrealistic expectation of what their ideal partner should look like, what they themselves look like, and people generally seem to spend so much time fussing over what what the person they are currently dating looks like that they forget to think about what kin

  • It's money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:15AM (#53997509)
    folks are making about 20% less than their parents did so it's not surprising. You need money to date. Plus being stressed about money all the time puts a damper on things.
    • So, you need money to date your own GF or to have sex with her?
      Oh, your dating culture must be quite strange.

    • You're talking about what we diplomatically call 'negotiable affection', here? There are other ways as well, you know. I'm not sure lack of money is the reason people have less sex; people often huddle together in times of stress, and sometimes they do more than huddle, since sex is an effective way to release stress, so I would expect there to be more sex. If you are in a relationship, sex is one of the more enjoyable things you can do, which don't cost money. My suspicion is that it has more to do with ob

    • Food is cheaper, houses are bigger, cars come packed with more tech, I have a supercomputer in my pocket, instant communications with everyone and everything are available 24/7 in my pocket, and I've got more access to medical care and entertainment--and spend more of my budget on these things.

      Americans at all income levels--especially the poorer and middle-class--have easier access to basic needs and spend more of their money on entertainment and on previously-inadequately-fulfilled needs (e.g. buying m

  • Less married couples (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:25AM (#53997559)

    The dirty little secret that Hollywood movies never told you is that married people have way more sex than singles. This drop in sexy times correlates to the drop in married couples in general (as the article cites). If you want to get it regular, put a ring on it and work to have a good relationship with your spouse.

  • by mnemotronic ( 586021 ) <`ten.epacsten' `ta' `cinortomenm'> on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @12:35AM (#53997601) Homepage Journal
    Bringing down the average for everyone in our time zone. My wife's motto is "once every five years, whether we need it or not". Thank god for reddit gonewild. Oops. Can I edit that comment??
  • Stolen from a Fark headline that should be a HOTY finalist.
  • A hope (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 )

    A part of me hopes that men in the US, much like those in Japan, are waking up to the terror that is false rape allegations, divorce and family law. Being aware of what *could* happen is like taking 100 ice cold showers while watching an old Richard Simmons workout tape.

    Men; you have guilty. If it's your word against hers, I hope you can comfortably reach your ankle.

  • ... that dating sites are full with sex hungry people. (Who are often pretty strange in human interaction)

  • Anti-depressants (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrBear ( 63712 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @02:48AM (#53998087)

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's due to the over prescribing of anti-depressants. SSRI's are notorious for killing off your sex drive, and doctors prescribe them for everything under the sun.

  • Sounds really low (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @03:01AM (#53998117)

    I'm closing on 60 and still averaging over 150 a year (and about 9 hours a week). One may be related to the other-- sex may be of less value to average folks who take 3 to 15 minutes, half the women don't have an orgasm, etc.

    Biggest suggestion I can make is to have your setup where the man can stand-- I prefer a inexpensive massage table. The height is adjustable. If she wants to ride cowboy, you can still lay down on it. It's comfortable but not so soft that you are fighting a mattress that's absorbing all your energy.

    But for the guy- doing a 2 hour pushup is much harder than dancing for 2 hours.

    Next, I'd say to guys *always* make sure she has an orgasm. Your orgasm is actually the optional one if you want to have a lot of sex- not hers.
    And as you get older, look into tantric sex. But a little denial will actually make your interest stronger. And induces you to naturally be nice to her, complement her, etc.

    I see so many couples who kill their sex lives thru random rejection. That's just a really deadly trap. One asks the other for sex and is rejected. After a few iterations, they stop asking.

    To the women, I'd say- guys need to feel special and you gotta flatter them. That doesn't mean putting on lingerie and expecting them to get aroused. That works on 20 year olds but it fails against football and video games even for 28 year olds much less 30 year olds. Don't believe, "All I have to do is show up naked". No. You need to flirt. You need to touch. You need to express interest. Sure- he needs to do the same. But the male ego is a real thing. And even if he thinks he wants it- if his ego is torn up, the rocket isn't launching. Penetrative sex isn't the only show in town but it is the most important to many couples (and even women who feel validated that the male rose to the occasion).

    To both sides: Brush and floss your teeth. A mouth that smells like decay isn't sexy. I don't even think I've ever seen a rule of 34 for that. For other body odors and scents- you need to talk to your partner and find out what they like. Antiseptic is good for some, but a little humanity is good for others and some folks like it ripe.

    Anyway.. sounds like a really low rate. It's a wonderful human activity and can be a lot of fun.

    • I'm closing on 60 and still averaging over 150 a year (and about 9 hours a week).

      Lucky bastard. ... Good for you.

    • Averaging 150 times per year = ~3 times per week, so 9 hours per week = ~3 hours each time. That sounds more like an addiction instead of genuinely, fully enjoying that all the way through and just happening to take that amount of time. Very few people have 3 hours to spend 3 times a week after they've got home from their long day at work, got the kids fed, washed and asleep and tended to their own personal needs.

      I'd look towards blaming long work hours, lower average pay and fast ubiquitous access to the I

      • That sounds more like an addiction instead of genuinely, fully enjoying that all the way through and just happening to take that amount of time

        Honestly, that is hilarious. I had to put my coffee down. You literally have no idea what you're saying. Addiction... for indulging in a basic human need. Good grief. You really need to find a new metaphor for people doing things they enjoy and likely do well.

        My advice is to put a lot of effort into losing the psychobabble (also put down the cellphone[s] if that's wh

        • I'm very happy with my sex life, but thanks for going straight for the strawman and ad hominem all-in-one.

          I know exactly what I'm saying: that spending 3 hours on average having sex every single time is just so far to the right of the bell-curve it can't even see the middle any more. That's also not accounting for sex being off-the-table 1 week out of every 4 for most men in monogamous relationships, plus things like times when you are ill, one of you is away without the other (e.g. a business trip) or if y

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            I'm very happy with my sex life, but thanks for going straight for the strawman and ad hominem all-in-one.

            You may very well be happy with your own sex life, but you were the one who threw "sounds like addiction" on the table in response to a quite positive post about someone else's sex life, which indicates 100% clearly that you are sans clue and paddle with regard to the sex lives of others.

            Feel free to protest all you want. You're still wrong.

        • by epine ( 68316 )

          Addiction... for indulging in a basic human need.

          There's no evolutionary need for nine hours a week. What every sexologist has discovered is that people are different. While I wouldn't necessarily call it an addiction, I wouldn't rule it out, either.

          Besides, most people informally use the word 'addiction' to imply that moderation has departed the building (presumably under a dark cloud) and I think that's what was intended here.

          If sex caused weight gain the same way excess sugar intake causes weight gain,

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            There's no evolutionary need for nine hours a week

            Evolution is not always (or even, often) the arbiter of normal human behavior. Sexuality is a complex personal and social component. It can't be reduced to evolutionary talking points.

            most people informally use the word 'addiction' to imply that moderation has departed the building

            Imprecision and inaccuracy are rampant in the population at large. That is one reason (though not the only one) why we see such words as addiction being profoundly misused. However

    • Me, too, but only recently. During the study period I was still married and probably had sex about 30-40 times a year. Now I'm happily divorced and my girlfriend wants it every night. Nice change. At my age, my orgasm IS optional and she usually gets a few each time. Role reversal from teenagehood.
  • Seemed kinda relevant....
    http://www.amazingsuperpowers.... [amazingsuperpowers.com]

  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @04:56AM (#53998349) Journal
    Children. Yep, having children is the best birth control. And the 2000s had a spike in birth rates. In fact, the underlying cause of the housing bubble (not the finances which allowed it, but the behavior which these finances paid for) was people starting new families. The wedding industry boomed as well. And well, the saying is pretty old, but it still holds true. The best birth control is having children.
  • I'm having much more sex than I was 20 years ago.
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @07:40AM (#53998723)

    People are working more hours than they used to 20 years ago. When stress and anxiety increases, fight or flight response kicks in releasing all kinds of chemicals like cortisol. What this does is it shuts down parts of the body that it deems unnecessary in preparation to fight. These are things like digestion and reproductive functions among other things. I can't wait to see the news stories of the 90's come around again over the concern that Americans aren't having enough children. America has family values? Ha!

  • by sudon't ( 580652 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:02AM (#53998789)

    If I told young people how much sex we had in the seventies, they wouldn't even believe it. The eighties were pretty good, too, and I understand the sixties were, as well. We are living in very conservative times, yet many seem not to realize it. Also, kids, still waiting for you to move on from Punk Rock and create something new in Rock.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @08:52AM (#53998943)

    As women move further up the ladder economically they are less and less dependent on men. While women still have their own inherent sexual drive, their sex drive is lower than men for a variety of reasons -- when they are younger, due to the inherent risks of pregnancy and child-rearing, and as they age, due to the decline in fertility and the increased risks of childbirth that come with aging.

    I think there's all kinds of evolutionary biology that suggests that sex drive in women is tied to the availability a reliable provider. Pregnant women and women with small children have much greater survival vulnerability -- reduced mobility, increases in risks from physical threats, increased nutritional requirements for both them and any offspring too young to participate in food gathering. And this remains true whether you're talking about a hunter-gatherer community or contemporary American economics -- pregnancy and child-bearing are significant drags on female economic advancement in our economy.

    Not only does having a reliable economic provider create the conditions for reduced child-bearing risk and increase innate sex drive, it also creates an environment where women are more likely to meet male sexual demands because of their economic dependency. They have both fewer disincentives for sexual activity and incentives to meet their partners demands for sexual contact even when their own sexual desire thresholds aren't met.

    I think this goes some way to explaining why conservatives favor traditional female roles -- increased female dependency leads to increased male access to sexuality.

    The way to improve the sagging sexual numbers in the US is probably much stronger economic rights for pregnant women (reduce economic risks associated with pregnancy). It won't help women at the end or past their fertility, though, since nature is already doing its job to reduce desire via declining hormones to prevent high risk pregnancies or because pregnancy is not possible.

  • Man I'm in for one hell of a December!

  • Let's not forget or skip the more important fact that obesity has TRIPLED in the US since the 1990s. I've seen so many comments blaming Facebook, smart phones, or legislation. With so many of us so much bigger than we were in the 90's, it should come as NO surprise that everyone is being physical less frequently. http://stateofobesity.org/adul... [stateofobesity.org]
  • First, men are masturbating to easily available Internet porn (and women also to some extend). It's hard to get hard on with a real woman when you have ejaculated to 10x more beautiful and younger girl just yesterday and you have a completely new such girl awaiting you behind a couple of clicks.

    Two, women are getting fatter and fatter. Men are visual and a normal girl these days have such a fat asses that you need to look the other way to maintain an erection. Or at least I need to. I tried to have sex with

  • That's because there are more geeks now than 20 years ago. Duh. And geeks don't get to have sex. It's like some kind of unwritten law. Or maybe it is written, I haven't bothered to google that.

  • Holy crud... I'd settle for 54 in a lifetime.

  • by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2017 @01:46PM (#54000723) Journal

    Didn't read the article, but here's my speculation on potential factors...

    Factor 1...With a higher percentage of women working, I'd bet they aren't feeling romantic as often after a day at the office.
    Factor 2...Less disposable income. The Great Recession caused a lot of financial strain, and likely many arguments among couples...more stress, less sex.
    Factor 3...Aging population.
    Factor 4...More self absorbed, or internet distracted population.

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