Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
Americans' sex lives have gone slack — making love is down about 15% since the 1990s

Sexy times in the US are declining, according to a new study in the Archive of Sexual Behavior.

U.S. adults reported having nine times fewer romps per year in the early 2010s than in the late 1990s — from an average of about 62 times per year between 1995 and 2000 to about 53 per year between 2010 and 2014. Researchers saw declines across ages, races, religions, education levels, employment statuses and regions. They linked the declining numbers to two trends: an increase in the number of single people over that period — who typically have less sex than married or partnered people — plus a slowdown in the sex lives of married and coupled people. But the drivers of those trends are still unclear.

The study is based on data from a long-running national survey called the General Social Survey (GSS). It is a nationally representative sample of Americans over the age of 18, surveyed most of the years between 1972 and 2014. The new study included responses from 26,620 Americans.

Specifically, researchers found that the annual whoopee frequency of married people fell from an average of nearly 69 in the period 1995-2000 to just under 56 in the period 2010-2014. The unmarried saw their lovemaking drop from 54 a year to 51 in the same time frame. Meanwhile, the number of people without steady partners — married or not — rose from 26 percent of survey respondents in 2006 to 33 percent in 2014. (Questions about steady partnerships were only asked during that period.)

People taking the biggest hits in the bedroom since the 1990s were those with college degrees (about 15 times less per year) and those living in the South (about 13 times less per year). Parents of children over the age of six also saw large declines (four to nine times less per year, depending on the age of their children). And people who skipped porn movies also did poorly, at 11 times a year.

It’s unclear what might be driving the trends. The researchers couldn’t link them to increased work hours or a greater interest in porn, which, when used solo, could undermine sexual potential. Instead, the researchers speculated that driving factors could include decreases in happiness, increases in depression, and the availability of distracting digital entertainment in bed — from Netflix to smartphones and social media.

“People don’t look around and say, ‘Hey, it’s 10 o’clock, what are we going to do?'” Jean Twenge, lead author of the study and a psychologist at San Diego State University, told me. The Washington Post.

But there may be more complicated factors involved. Twenge and colleagues also noted that people are having children later in life. The double whammy of older age and children — both nooky dampeners — could be a “perfect storm” to douse the romantic flames, the authors write.

Then there are generational differences. When the researchers controlled for age and time period, they found that people born in the 1990s (millennials and iGen) have an average of six times fewer boinks per year than those born in the 1930s.

Since the data is nationally representative, it applies especially to heterosexuals, who made up more than 90 percent of the respondents. And it may not mean people are having fewer orgasms, since the survey didn’t explicitly ask questions about solo masturbation.

But because frequency of sex tends to be linked to well-being, the researchers say the trends are important. Unfortunately, they will have to push harder to understand them. “Are they less happy and therefore have less sex or do they have less sex and therefore less happy? It’s probably one of the two,” Twenge told the After.

Archive of Sexual Behavior2017. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-017-0953-1 (About DOIs).

By akfire1

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