This is referring to this study here (Twenge et al. 2016), which reports on Millennial (born from 1980–1994) and iGen (born from 1995–2012) sexual behaviour.
This can be supplemented with Twenge et al. (2015).
It is useful to note the various classifications of generations as follows:
(1) Greatest Generation / G.I. Generation (born from 1900–1924);Both Twenge et al. (2015) and (2016) report the following about America:
(2) Silent Generation / Lucky Few (born from 1925–1945);
(3) Baby Boomers (born from 1946–1964);
(4) Generation X (born from 1965–1979);
(5) Millennials (born from 1980–1994);
(6) iGen (born from 1995–2012).
(1) there was a cultural and sexual revolution from the 1960s and 1970s amongst Baby Boomers and then Generation Xers.Why is this happening? The reasons are no doubt complex.
(2) there was rising a culture of individualism and cultural permissiveness from the 1970s to 2010s (Twenge et al. 2015: 2274–2275).
(3) in particular, the social acceptance of sex before marriage has soared, from 29% of Americans in the early 1970s, to 42% in the 1980s, 49% in the 2000s and to 55% in the 2010s (Twenge et al. 2015: 2277).
(4) paradoxically, the social acceptance of extramarital sex (sex by someone with another person who is not their married partner) has declined from 4% in 1973 to 1% in 2012 (Twenge et al. 2015: 2277).
(5) but once again, paradoxically, while the Millennials have the most permissive social attitudes to sex of any generation, they have sex with fewer partners than the Generations Xers at the same age (Twenge et al. 2015: 2281).
(6) on the basis of the GSS data (a representative sample of Americans over the age of 18), 15% of Millennials born in the 1990s have had no sexual partners after the age of 18, whereas at that age only 6% of Generation Xers had no sexual partners after the age of 18 (Twenge et al. 2016, p. 3). This fall in sexual activity is found mainly in those Millennials who did not go to university.
Amongst the proposed explanations are as follows:
(1) many American Millennials, if they marry, marry late, and many are unemployed and some even living with their parents (Twenge et al. 2016, p. 5), and so have reduced social opportunities for sex;So, all in all, not only are Millennials the generation experiencing chronic unemployment, lack of careers and a lower marriage rate, but also increasing lack of sex as compared with Generation Xers.
(2) the 1990s Millennial generation may have decreased sexual activity owing to their education on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, but this has been questioned by other research (Twenge et al. 2016, p. 6). Alternatively, greater emphasis on promoting abstinence in the American private and public education systems and conservative culture might explain some of the trend.
(3) the increased withdrawal into a world of online social media means Millennials do not meet face to face as much as older generations and so have reduced opportunities for sex.
Twenge, Jean, Sherman, Ryne, and Brooke Wells. 2015. “Changes in American Adults’ Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972–2012,” Archives of Sexual Behavior 44.8: 2273–2285.
Twenge, Jean M., Sherman, Ryne A. and Brooke E. Wells. 2016. “Sexual Inactivity during Young Adulthood is more common among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on having no Sexual Partners after Age 18,” Archives of Sexual Behavior Published online, 1 August 2016: 1–8.
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