Where’s The Sex Gone For Gen Y?

Sex for Gen Y

As humans we all love having sex, right?

It’s a fundamental component of our existence and crucial to the survival of the human species. It’s also well known that having sex releases hormones which help make us feel happy, reduce stress, and boost self esteem. Sex allows us to feel internally content and reinforces our love for our partner (or partners?).

Where for art thou Romeos?

So, it may come as a shock to learn that statistically the people of Gen Y are having much less sex than the previous generation. The results from a number of recent studies suggest that the frequency in which 16 to 44 year olds are having sex has been slowly but steadily decreasing over the past two decades. These studies discovered that women were having sex on average around 4.8 times per month and men not much more at 4.9. Going back 10 years these figures were considerably higher with women at 6.3 and men right behind them (no pun intended) at 6.2.

To where have these rampant young rabbits disappeared? These surprising findings don’t seem to line up with the popular conception of today’s young person being over sexualized by those nasty pop music videos and the evil interwebz.

Sex in the media

Shortly after the Motion Picture Association of America introduced its new on screen content rating system back in 1990, movie producers eagerly went down the ‘sex sells’ route and swiftly included more sex scenes into their movies to bump up ratings. We have witnessed an abundance of actors writhing around, moaning and baring buttocks ever since. How can this sexual movie madness not encourage the younger generations?

However, in the last five years, things have drastically changed. Films such as Nymphomaniac and Shame and television shows like Girls and This Is England have endeavoured to tell certain (often ugly) truths about sexual behaviour. No longer are we subject to the gentle facial caressing and “barely any movement and yet explosive orgasm” sex of the 1990s (9½ Weeks – I’m looking at you). Instead we’re faced with open discussions of sexuality, LGBT relationships, intimacy issues, fantasies, fetishes and role reversals – all portrayed without judgment.

– Hannah Slapper, The Guardian.

Even through humble mainstream literature we’ve seen the epic popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel about wrist cuffs, spanking, and other assorted sexual taboos. Don’t pretend you didn’t read it…

If we are significantly surrounded by sex within the media, plus the not-so-subliminal message that ‘anything goes’, then why are we avoiding sex in real life?

Gen Y Less SexImage credit: Erik Freitas, Creative Commons

Technological blockade

It’s not as simple as just hopping into bed, turning off the lights, and getting down and dirty. In today’s age there is always something that can easily distract you. Checking emails, going through a friends holiday photos on Facebook, or even reading an article on sex (got you!).

Picture a young couple placed in the same room with nothing but time on their hands. It’s a situation tailor made for a little loving. Throw in a couple of smartphones and a Wi-Fi connection and the best you can expect is for the duo to compare Instagram accounts or “like” eachother.

To compound the issue a little further these smart devices can all be used to access the abundance of adult material that floods the web. That’s right, they’re mobile porn cinemas. Recent studies have shown porn addiction is on the rise which suggests a growing disconnect between sexual activity and relationships.

Technology is simultaneously bringing people together whilst the lack of intimacy forces them apart.

The world keeps spinning faster

Gen Y is routinely criticized by elders for being a lazy generation, though this perception is somewhat misguided. Back when the baby boomers were first entering the workforce a standard day might involve a solid 8 hours in the office, typing and preparing letters, walking to the mail room, and manually calculating an accounts ledger. A modern day Gen Y can complete the equivalent amount of tasks in their first half hour, on their smartphone.

Put simply, the modern generation are cramming far more information and stimulation in to their brains than their predecessors. The creation of email was supposed to improve time efficiency for workers, yet it appears to have dramatically increased workplace communication – predominantly with LOLcats. For many employees email doesn’t stop when you leave the office either.

We’re trying to pack more and more in to every hour of every day, which is bound to impact upon other areas of life.

Over analysis killed the mood

The generational loss of libido is likely influenced by a wide variety of factors. Maybe we’re thinking about it too much? With so much sexual content and information only a click, swipe, or flick of a channel away, it could be that we’re simply overwhelmed. Our brains may be the largest erogenous zone within our body but the basic process comes down to that inbuilt lust or desire that humans crave.

Intellectualizing our bodily functions can become a dangerous exercise as it often leads to over analysis where we search for meaning which isn’t necessarily there. Sometimes it’s best to just understand your own personal needs and follow your own desires, rather than bothering with how your performance is affecting generational statistics.

Make time for sex

You’re busy, I’m busy, we’re all busy. As you get older the world seems to spin faster and faster. The surplus free time you despised as a teenager becomes craved as an adult.
Your sex life is what you make it. When you get home from work you have the option to turn on the TV, flick through your social media accounts, chat to a friend on the phone, or grab your partner for some sexy time.

Sadly we can’t get rid of the technology that has infected our generation. However we can prevent it from affecting us. If you’d like to be having more sex it’s up to you to make it happen.

Feature image: Cesar Poyatos, Creative Commons

Gemma Wilson