This week’s guest blogger is the fabulous Violet Grey! She tweets at @v_greyauthor, blogs about sex, and is a millennial. In light of the recent … news? speculation? kerfuffle? … about millennials and sex, she wanted to share some thoughts on why millennials may be reporting less frequent sex than previous generations, and why ultimately the amount of sex you have or don’t have is no one else’s business but your own…
How much sex are millennials having? And why do you care?
Her: Talk dirty to me.
Him: We’re finally on the housing ladder.
Her: *multiple orgasms*
In the last year, I’ve seen a growing amount of coverage in the media that the good people of Generation Y – aka ‘millennials’ – are having less sex than their predecessors.
I came into the world kicking and screaming in the early 90s. Being part of the generation that gets blamed for a lot, it was no surprise that upon the publication of these fascinating studies, the trolling would ensue from people who should know better.
I’m only talking about those individuals in each generation (including my own – we’re not immune!) that will have something to say no matter what you do. The same people saying to me ten years ago:
‘Well, with your lot, anything goes! You all sleep around with and have no morals!’
are now saying
‘Bloody young people, they can’t even have sex right!’
Why are millennials having less sex?
I can’t give you a definitive answer on why millennials are having less sex. It really depends on the person. However, the more I read, the more it made sense to me that many of the cited reasons included stress and mental health.
With growing economic hardships, working longer hours for less pay and plummeting rates in job security and satisfaction, I think regardless of our age, all our stress levels have gone up since the 2008 financial crash. This has contributed to more people getting diagnosed with anxiety and depression, a well known stone-cold-killer for you guessed it! The sex drive.
Personally, I have a pretty high sex drive. Sex and masturbation are both things I really enjoy. I’m perfectly happy with sex a few times a week, work and general health permitting. But as we know, it’s not always possible. We have commitments and responsibilities that can be tiring and time consuming. While getting deliciously fucked all day every day may seem like a nice thought, for most of us sex won’t get our bills paid or put food on the table.
And despite the stereotypes about millennials and sex, plenty of us aren’t actually all that mad about hook-ups. I’m one such person who abstained from casual sex because it just wasn’t for me. Plus at the time, I was still a student at home. The thought of my folks finding a random man in the kitchen the morning after a fling is nothing short of mortifying!
Now, I’m settled in a long-term relationship. Mortgage-saving is happening and our sex life is ever-growing in a loving environment. That’s not to say, like most couples, we’ve not experienced our bumps in the relationship road.
Millennials have lives, and life affects sex
In the last eighteen months, my boyfriend and I went through trying times. As well as our busy working schedules (I’m a Master’s student on top of freelancing) we both experienced bereavements in the form of losing close family members and experiencing miscarriage.
As you can imagine (while our sex life has since picked up to what’s best for us) this took a huge toll on our mental health (I had a breakdown) and pouncing each other wasn’t high on our list. So we took the time we needed to heal after that traumatic time. The fact that some would still judge given those circumstances abhors me.
According to The Atlantic, the average adult has gone from having sex 62 times a year to 54. I crunched the numbers and that’s one or two fewer sex sessions per month. Mainstream media says that we are now in a ‘sex recession’ but personally, I wouldn’t go that far. In the grand scheme of things, once or twice less sex a month isn’t really that much.
Don’t ask if millennials are having sex, ask how we’re having sex
My own take on the subject is: it’s not if we’re having sex, but how we’re having sex that is changing.
We live in a time of immense change, and sexual change is no exception. The paradigm towards sex and sexuality is changing, and gradually become more open and accepting. As well as the negatives in the sexual sphere, we also need to address the positive.
We now have more sexual autonomy than say fifty years ago, which includes the autonomy to say ‘no’ as well as ‘yes’. Some of us are more focused on our careers than starting a family. Masturbation isn’t as surrounded in shame as before, and there is more access to materials such as reading erotic books or listening to audio erotica.
Awareness around conditions such as vaginismus and erectile dysfunction has risen and people know that sex doesn’t have to involve penetration. I’m genuinely curious as to how those sexual interactions are recorded: when surveys ask millennials if they’re having sex, are they including all forms of sex – including sex where penetration doesn’t ensue?
Also, cyber-sex has grown in popularity, in both casual and long distance relationships, so while you may not be engaging in skin-on-skin sex, you are still having sexual activity with a partner(s). People are finding more ways to enjoy themselves sexually without it necessarily involving another person.
I think what really needs to change are pressures to have sex, and that if you’re not having as much sex as everyone else claims to be, there must be something wrong because: How can you NOT want to get laid?
With those social pressures, is it not possible that some in past generational studies lied and said, ‘Yeah everything’s fine. We’re having LOADS of sex!’ because of said pressures? Now with a more open society, perhaps the millennial figures are more honest?
I could speculate until the cows come home but when all said and done, if someone is giving you a hard time because it doesn’t fit with what’s best for them, they’re simply not worth your time.
It’s no one else’s business how much or little (if any!) sex you’re having as long as you are happy.