Here’s what we know about people who regularly enjoy group sex: they tend to be wealthy, they often use dating apps to find their matches, and they are the envy of many people around the world. Sex with two or more partners at once ranks high among sexual fantasies regardless of gender or generation.

So why doesn’t the high desire for group sex match up with the rate of those engaging in it? According to a recent study called “Sexual diversity in the United States,” Americans demonstrate a lower interest in “social sexual activities” than we have in prior decades. That means fewer of us are playing sexy games at parties, hitting strip clubs with friends, watching porn with others, and/or engaging in group sex.

Another study, “Heterosexual Young Adults’ Interest, Attitudes, and Experiences Related to Mixed-Gender, Multi-Person Sex” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that 82 percent of men and 31 percent of women surveyed expressed interest in a threesome, though only 24 percent of men and eight percent of women had actually tried it.

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So Why Aren’t We Having Threesomes?

Decrying the younger generations’ reliance on social media and smartphones is nowhere near a novel concept, but sexual data does show that we’re less likely to find that often-sought-after fantasy — group sex without strings attached — than people were in decades past. A lot of things have obviously changed since our grandparents and parents were single and ready to mingle, but technology, especially as it intersects with our sex lives, is a prominent one.

At the risk of assigning causation where there is only a correlation, one can also point out that young people, in addition to bedding fewer partners, actually have a pretty harsh idea of when their partner’s number of sexual encounters is just too high. One survey on the subject found that an average of 15 past partners would make any person “too promiscuous” to both men and women.

So, young people are largely judgemental of others’ sexual histories, though they still maintain fantasies of wilder sex lives. As for situations which can lead to threesomes, researchers link all “social sexual” activities, not by saying any of them leads to another, but merely because we have become less comfortable feeling aroused in public, though it remains a favorite fantasy of many people. Before dating apps allowed us to search for group sex partners, there were, of course, nightclubs and personal ads, but it stands to reason that most threesomes happened organically, between three people who happened to be horny in the same room.

Another monkey wrench in the threesome-building machine may be that millennials and younger people don’t have as much sex as previous generations did. By pushing off marriage and monogamous commitment into our 30s and 40s, the younger generation may not have the same societal pressure on us to screw around as rapidly as we can before we choosing our life partners. That means we’re less desperate to fulfill the items on our pre-commitment sexual bucket lists, perhaps because we’re just moving slowly toward the finish line. Additionally, many of us are curious about committing to a life partner romantically and financially while also exploring sexual experiences with others; data shows people are less afraid of ethical non-monogamy than we once were, though most of us still haven’t tried it.

In a 2016 study, OKCupid confirmed that 24 percent of its users are “seriously interested” in an open relationship, and 42 percent of them would consider dating someone already engaged in one. The Kinsey Institute recently reported that 11 percent of Americans had used a dating app to find a one-night stand, which is a much more efficient process than trying to woo someone in public.

To that point, Kinsey Institute researcher Amanda Gesselman says, “Using apps to find [...] short-term partners, but not friends with benefits, may signal a reliance on tech/apps for spontaneity, but not for regular sex with no romantic connection.” That means apps for threesomes may work if you’re looking for a one-off experience, but to truly find yourself in a sexual-but-not-romantic situation, one that has all the pleasure of bedding an attractive acquaintance in the context of both your lives, technology may not be helpful.

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One thing separates an intimate-but-spontaneous threesome from an ethically non-monogamous romantic or sexual grouping. Threesomes don’t require open communication, or even a follow-up, whereas high-functioning polyamorous groups are very open, practice safe sex more consistently, and are more satisfied with their romantic lives and generally less anxious. Threesomes, on the other hand, run the gamut of user satisfaction, and that may be part of why they’re not a huge part of our changing sexual zeitgeist.

In a world where we can request a Tinder date to Uber to our apartments, or search with our partners for a “unicorn” on OKCupid, meeting with said unicorn to discuss everyone’s boundaries ahead of time, why would anyone fall into bed with a couple of strangers?

Photos via Tom Galle, 20th Century Fox