Why Turning Off Your Phone Can Help You Have More Sex
Millennials aren’t getting it on as often as young adults used to. So how can you buck the trend? Reducing your screen time is a good start.
Riverdale. Scandal. Vanderpump Rules. Young people on television are having so much sex, it’s impressive that they have time for anything else.
In real life, people in their 20s and 30s are also having sex—just not as much of it as young adults in previous generations had. It’s part of a larger trend: American adults in all age groups had sex less frequently in the early 2010s than they did a decade ago, to the tune of nine fewer times a year.
But the decrease is particularly prominent among millennials, or those born in the 1980s and 1990s. When Politico analyzed data from the annual General Social Survey (GSS), it found that in the early 2000s, 73% of adults between ages 18 and 30 reported having sex at least twice a month. Between 2014 to 2016, that figure sank to 66%.
Millennials, especially those born in the 1990s, are a lot more likely to report having no sexual partners at all, according to a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviors, which used GSS data. When Gen Xers born between 1965 and 1969 were young adults (defined as between ages 20 and 24), 6% reported having no sexual partners. For those born between 1990 and 1994, that figure rose to 15%.
While these statistics are fairly cut and dry, the reasons behind them are harder to pin down. Name a theory—Smartphones! Shifting gender norms! Young adults living in their parents’ basements!—and it’s been floated by an expert. As with any trend affecting an entire generation, there’s no single root cause. But some potential drivers may be more likely than others.
Millennials are glued to their phones
Psychologist Jean Twenge, who led the study, believes that technology has played a significant role. Twenge is an expert in millennial behavior and the author of iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. “It used to be there wasn’t a lot to do at home at 10 p.m.,” she told Health via email. “Now there are so many entertainment choices, from streaming video to social media.”