Trends in Sexual Activity: Why Are People Having Less Sex?

We hear it all the time. Older generations complain constantly that young people are out of control. They’re too deviant. They’re too rebellious. They’re out there in the streets, running around naked, worshiping demons, and having sex like jackrabbits on crack.

Talk to anyone over the age of 45 and they’ll probably tell you that young people these days are more deviant than their generation. They’ll say young people are detached, distant, and selfish. They’re more concerned about texting on their phones than spending time with family, working on the farm, or volunteering at their church. Is there some merit to their criticism? Yes. Is their sentiment valid? No. In fact, it may be the opposite.

Last week, the Washington Post did an article highlighting the trends in sexual activity among Millennials. Some of these trends don’t fit the whining and complaining that older generations bemoan. It turns out, young people today are having significantly less sex than Baby Boomers or the Gen X crowd. The portion of youth that remains sexually inactive has more than doubled over the past 30 years. That’s a pretty big shift and nobody really knows why.

There are some theories. The article highlights concerns about sexually transmitted diseases, which grew significantly in the 80s and 90s. However, that alone doesn’t account for the data. Others suggest that the easier availability of porn, thanks largely to the internet, has made it easier for people to fulfill their needs without a partner. This is probably only partially true at best. Anyone who lived before the age of the internet will tell you that even without porn, they found ways to get off. They may not tell you before a few drinks, but it is true. People still masturbated before the internet.

I’m not a scientist. I don’t have any expertise in this area other than writing books centered around sexy themes. That said, I have learned through my many years of hearing people complain about sexual trends to notice a few themes.

Anything that’s happening in the sexual landscape of a culture basically becomes this big ink blot test. People are having more sex? This must be due to some perverse religious trend, some devious new form of media, or some widespread rebellion against authority. People are having less sex? This must also be due to some perverse religious trend, some devious new form of media, or some widespread rebellion against authority. People see this and use it to inject whatever conclusion they feel fits their agenda. They do the same with politics, religion, and tastes in fast food.

So what do I think? Well, I think like most things involving the complexities of human society, trends in sex have multiple influences. It’s not just smartphones, media, or diseases alone that affect these trends. It’s a combination of many forces, some more powerful than others. So if I had to give more weight to one force in particular, I’d favor the one that tends to govern most human affairs to a significant degree: economics.

Let’s face it. Sex and being in a relationship is expensive. Men and women expect a lot more these days and not just in terms of fancy dates. Between the cost of divorce and the conflicting expectations, getting sex requires a lot of time and energy. In an era where young people have to work a lot harder to achieve the same level of financial stability of their parents, there’s just not as much to dedicate to sex.

It’s not a very sexy explanation. I admit that. People are having less sex because they can’t find good jobs or are shackled with too much debt? That’s not a satisfying explanation and it doesn’t lend itself to a simple solution. People like things that are satisfying. Ironically, it’s kind of like sex. If it isn’t satisfying, they look elsewhere. In this case, however, what isn’t satisfying may also be valid.

Money does affect relationships in a major way. According to the Walls Street Journal, millenials in particular are shackled with a lot of debt, mostly from college loans. Few things kill your sex drive more than the knowledge that you can’t pay your bills and barely have enough money to survive. In terms of our basic needs, survival does take priority over orgasms most of the time.

Is it the only explanation? No. I don’t claim that this is the sole explanation for the decline in sexual activity among young people. There are likely other factors in play, such as changes in feminism and growing awareness of sexual assault. It’s hard to quantify just how much those factors affect the results. It may even be impossible in some ways.

Be this as it may, the success of the porn industry and the continued success of erotica give me hope that people of all generations still have a healthy libido. I hope to nurture it with my books. In the meantime, here’s an insightful video from Think Tank that explores this issue in greater detail. Their explanations are probably only part of the story though. What do you think is causing young people to have less sex? Nobody knows for sure, but that won’t stop plenty from speculating.

4 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Trends in Sexual Activity: Why Are People Having Less Sex?

  1. Pingback: The (Dark) Secrets Of The Millennial Mind | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

  2. Pingback: The (Possible) Secrets Of Generation Z (And Why We’ll Be Appalled By Them) | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

  3. Pingback: The (Potential) Sex Lives Of Generation Z | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

  4. Pingback: Cheap Sex, Sexual Revolutions, And Why It’s A GOOD Thing | Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

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