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Some Millennials Less Likely to be Sexually Active Than Generation X

Some Millennials Less Likely to be Sexually Active Than Generation X

American millennials seem to be having less sex than their Generation X counterparts did at the same age.

A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that while most millennials are sexually active, 15% of those aged 20 to 24 (born between 1990 and 1994 at the time of the study) had had no sexual partners after age 18.

In contrast, 6% of a Generation X subgroup (born between 1965 and 1969) fell into this category.

Data were collected in a survey of 26,707 U.S. adults, which included both millennials and Generation Xers.

However, the findings apply more to women than to men. Also, they did not apply to college-educated and black respondents.

The results run counter to what many see as a “hookup culture” among millennials.

“Online dating apps should, in theory, help millennials find sexual partners more easily,” said lead author Dr. Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, in a press release. “However, technology may have the opposite effect if young people are spending so much time online that they interact less in person, and thus don’t have sex.”

Other factors might contribute to the decline. Men and women are marrying later. Pornography and online entertainment can be easily accessed by millennials, which was not the case for Generation X at that age. Also, more millennials are living with their parents, which may limit opportunities for sexual encounters.

Personal safety and sexual assault are also on the minds of millennials.

“This is a very risk-averse generation, and that attitude may be influencing their sexual choices,” Dr. Twenge said.


Archives of Sexual Behavior

Twenge, Jean M., et al.

“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”

(Abstract. First published online: August 1, 2016)


The New York Times

Bromwich, Jonah Engel

“Some Millennials Are Not Having Sex. But a Vast Majority Are.”

(August 4, 2016)


San Diego State University

Price, Michael

“Millennials Less Sexually Active than Gen-X Peers”

(August 2, 2016)