You may have read a recent piece or two about how people in Japan aren’ having sex. They’re not interested, the birth rate is suffering, and sociologists aren’t exactly sure why, how to fix it, or if they should.
It turns out that, per recent data, the trend toward a disinterest in having sex is popping up in the United States, too.
Young adults, as well as mature adults are experiencing long dry spells or totally abstaining – basically even those of us who are having sex are having it less often than we were a decade ago.
The study, completed by researchers at San Diego State University and Sweden’s Karolina Institutet, was published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open. Together, they surveyed around 10,000 adults about their sex lives over the course of 18 years.
The researchers found that sexual inactivity increased among men aged 18-24, and men aged 25-34, and also among women aged 25-34 over the time period in question. This trend did not hold true for people who identify as gay or bisexual, who were one of the only social subgroups to not experience the marked decrease in activity.
Perhaps more shockingly, 1 in 3 men between the ages of 18-24 reported no sexual activity at all within the past year. They were often unemployed, students, or low-income males. Conversely, 1 in 5 females in the same age group reported the same abstinence in the past 12 months.
51% of men between 18-24 were having weekly sex between 2000-2002, but by 2016, that had dropped 37%. Women in that age group slipped from 66%-54% at the same time, and married couples also reported a drop in their weekly sexual encounters.
The instances of people who had never had sex rose significantly among kids born in the 1990s, compared to those born in the 3 decades prior.
So yeah, kids today are having less sex than their counterparts in the 1960s.
The statistics have nothing to do with the pandemic, since research was completed in 2018, but instead seem to reflect a worldwide trend that has been noticed by researchers everywhere in recent years, according to this editorial piece.
“It seems clear that the trend toward less sexual activity has not occurred in isolation; it coincides with other substantial cultural shifts, such as the slowing of the developmental trajectory and the increase in time spent on electronic media.”
Researchers do point out that they did not parse out what was meant by “sex” or “sexual activity,” so some of the data could be slightly skewed because of that. Aside from these possible differences in interpretations, though, the trends are in line with what others are finding.
The survey did not seek to understand what could possibly be driving this decrease in sexual activity, though they suspect that the surge of electronic media and the other stresses of living in modern society could have something to do with it.
Jean Twenge, who wrote an accompanying editorial, concluded like this:
“Put simply, there are now many more choices of things to do in the late evening than there once were and fewer opportunities to initiate sexual activity if both partners are engrossed in social media, electronic gaming, or binge-watching.”
Just something to think about the next time you and your partner are alone together but each doing your own thing.
Is it your relationship that’s broken, or society?
Maybe it’s both, but I submit that either way, you have the power to change it if you both want to.