Millennials, frequently associated with the rising “hookup culture,” may not be having as much sex as is expected. A new study has revealed that those born particularly in the 1990s are less inclined toward sex as young adults.
“This study really contradicts the widespread notion that Millennials are the ‘hookup’ generation, which is popularized by dating apps like ‘Tinder’ and others, suggesting that they are just looking for quick relationships and frequent casual sex,” said co-author of the study Ryne Sherman, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, in a press release.
The research found that about 15 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 24 reported having no sexual partners since they turned 18. The figure stood at six percent for the previous generation (those born in the 1960s) at that age.
The research found that the move toward sexual inactivity in Millennials was not linked to the time period but to the generation itself.
“This is part of a general theme of later maturation that’s been pretty well-documented,” said Jean Twenge, author of the book “Generation Me” who co-authored the study.
“This is really about this generation of young American adults and not the time period in which they are living,” said Sherman. “This has very little to do with changing norms about sexual behavior; the generations are just different and it has everything to do with them.”
The researchers conducted an age-period-cohort analysis with samples of adults between the ages of 18 and 96 in the General Social Survey (GSS) that provides a nationally representative sample of American adults since 1989. Parameters like gender, race, education, region, and religiosity were also monitored to analyze changes in sexual inactivity from one group to another, if any.
The increase in adult sexual inactivity for those born in the 1960s and the 1990s generation was more significant among women — from 2.3 percent to 5.4 percent — but not for men — from 1.7 percent to 1.9 percent.
“Many of the differences between the groups in the recent generations were also significant,” said Sherman. “For example, women were more likely to be sexually inactive compared to men, Whites more than Blacks, those who did not attend college more than those who did, and in the East more than the West.”
Attempting to understand the cause for this decline, CNN reported Twenge as saying: “This generation is much more concerned about safety on both a physical and an emotional level.”
Even as the society becomes more accepting of sex, Sherman explains the recent trends saying: “While attitudes about premarital sex have become more permissive over time, rise in individualism allows young American adults to have permissive attitudes without feeling the pressure to conform in their own behavior.”
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.