Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Rise of Sexual Inactivity amongst Millennials

See here and here.

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);

(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).
Both Twenge et al. (2015) and (2016) report the following about America:
(1) there was a cultural and sexual revolution from the 1960s and 1970s amongst Baby Boomers and then Generation Xers.

(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.
Why is this happening? The reasons are no doubt complex.

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;

(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.
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.

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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  1. Agreed. I'd also include the obesity epidemic to this as well. I imagine there's simply less people willing to have sex with overweight and obese men and women, especially if their own self-esteem and self-confidence are less than non-obese people, and thus do not seek it out as often

  2. Well, I'll say, the moral fiber of this generation is one of the finest.Fewer teenage pregnancies, fewer STDs, everybody's more abstinent.

  3. millenial/igen is here (well i born in 1994 the last year hehe).

    and i cant say at least the problem which i encountered.

    well actually as i can see there is way less people in this generation whcih want to get laid and way more which want sex as part of relationship.

    and in this case i dont know how people met each other in the good old days but today is simply hard.

    for example people which going to nightclubs every friday and to pubs in order to meet someone are well not for the taste of everyone.

    but basically its the only legitimate places excluding dating sites today (outside work or school and etc) to meet a partner but the problem as i said is that the partner you can meet in nightclub is not always the partner you want to have relationship with and since this generation more into relationships and somehow i believe less into one night stands.

    so for most of the people nightclubs as a way to meet a partner or sexual partner is less attractive now then in the past.

    and also the interent i believe destroyed some ways which are hidden for me now of how people met each other before the interent.

  4. The retreat into online social media, gaming, videos, etc. obviously does seem to lead to less social engagement and social life with real people, which leads to less opportunities for romantic engagement.

    I imagine virtual reality will make this much worse:

  5. i dont want to be technophobe but with all the benefits of the interent its certiantly having a darkside as well.

  6. Gen Y here...

    From my own observations, reasons 1 followed by 3 are the main ones. I think if you're a young person looking for 'action' it's - somewhat paradoxically - just as good a time as any to find it: Tinder, cheap booze/travel costs, accessible nightlife all help. But it's also easier than ever to be a satisfied recluse, settling for social media, video games, porn etc. Modern life, I think, cuts both ways a bit on this issue.

  7. Moreover, at least in the US, it seems like that there are simply less "public places" to meet people. Not a whole lot of public parks, community centers, recreational events that attract young people (outside of house parties), etc. I think it has something to do with the growing social atomization, suburbanization of America.

    Of course, one of the places in the past for meeting people is kind of off the table these days due to changing norms and laws (work)..

  8. LK, once virtual reality porn arrives, birth rates will hit 0%.

  9. It is the infantilising effect of porn. Quite obviously so. Japan paves the way for the future in this regard - as it does in so many regards.

    Lol. And to think people wondered why these things were sometimes derided as having a bad impact on society. They chided that side of the debate as religious moralists and all that. Well maybe some of those morals, lasting as they did for millennia and producing the most advanced civilisation known to man, were not just irrational and silly after all.

    1. Isn't making rational synonymous with 'good' clinging to the self-defeating precepts of Enlightenment thinking? Isn't that what's destroying the West according to you?

      Just saying.

  10. Low-paying service sector jobs and suffocating student loan debt are repellent to potential mates. Most women are attracted to men with careers and financial stability.