So Much for Millennials Being the Hookup Generation

Those in the horny 18-34 bracket are not having as much sex as you'd think.

Millennials swipe right, are on the prowl for a solid hookup option come Friday night, and are just bangin’ their nights away because hey, we’re young and horny.

Yeah, that’s not the case. In fact, Millennials are far more abstinent than any — any — other generation, according to a study published Tuesday in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

“When you think about this notion of hookup culture, that would suggest that millennials really are more interested in sex, but our data suggests exactly the opposite,” Ryne Sherman, a psychologist at Florida Atlantic University and co-author of the study, said of the surprising results. How does the team know for sure Millennials aren’t getting any? They just turned to the Generation Social Survey — which started in the 1960s — to figure out how much sex each generation had while they were in their twenties. A new statistical technique allowed them to narrow the data to give them a snapshot of how each generation answered that question while they were between 20 to 24 years old. They found that 15 percent of millennials report having no sexual partners – nearly triple the number of baby boomers who weren’t having sex.

“I think that the reaction to this is going to be very interesting to watch,” says Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University and author of Generation Me. When she mentioned this finding to millennials she knew, she says most of them didn’t believe her. But this data is consistent with data the Center for Disease Control has been gathering from teenagers about potentially risky sexual behavior; despite an increase in positive attitudes about pre-marital sex, millennials and current teenagers are getting less action between the sheets.

Unfortunately, because this is an observational study, the authors can only offer speculation as to why we’re not having as much sex as our parents’ generation. Sherman’s theory is that millennials — many of whom are still living with their parents and haven’t gotten places of their own yet or are struggling to find jobs — aren’t exactly in the mood for sex. “There’s a lot of bad stuff said about millennials,” he says. “But millennials — when they emerge into adulthood in one of the worst economic times in recent history — they have difficulty finding jobs, and that means they have a difficulty in starting their life,” he says.

If you’re feeling like the only one Netflix-and-chillin’ all by yourself on Friday night, don’t take it personally — most of your generation is, too.


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