Americans apparently not as sexually active as we think

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Guess what – you’re grandparents had more sex than you are at the same age.  Say it isn’t so.  We, as Americans, almost pride ourselves on our sexual conquests and number of sexual partners.  Have we just been fooling ourselves into thinking we are getting it on far more times than grandma and grandpa ever did? 

Apparently, it’s true according to a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.  The report is basically saying sexual activity across America has dropped in recent years.  Activity in the bedroom is not as hot and furious as we may let on. 

Details of the study

Using 1989-2014 data from the General Social Survey, the study found that American adults have sex seven to nine fewer times per year than in the 1990s.  During that time, Americans on average had sex 60 to 62 times a year.  Then, beginning in the early 2000s, the number of sexual encounters began to cool down and by 2014 it had fizzled to less than 53 times a year.

The drop in sex was across gender, race, region, education level, and work status.  One reason for this slippage in sex is the fact of more people who are not in a relationship who tend to have less sex than committed couples.  But a surprising driver of the steady decline in the rate of sexual activity is for those who are married or living together with a partner.  If you tease out the data at look only at people who are married, there was an even sharper drop –from around 73 times a year in 1990 to around 55 in 2014.  Married couples are having less sex than never-married people who average sex 59 times a year.

Another detail from the study showed that Americans overall are becoming less coupled.  In 1986, 66 percent of American adults lived with a partner; by 2014, only 59 percent were.  Generally when a person is not in a relationship with someone, they tend to have sex half as frequently as people who are.

Other information the study uncovered included the following:

·      A steady decline in frequency of sexual activity as people age, from over 80 times a year for those in their 20s to about 60 times a year by age 45 and 20 times a year by age 65.

·      When comparing the same time period in the lives of each generation, the group having sex most often were those born in the 1930s.  Those having the least sex were born in the 1990s.

·      Sexual activity decline was sharpest in people in their 50s, those with college degrees, those with school-age children, people in the South, and those who had not watched a pornographic movie in the past year.

 

Why less sex?

There was no list of causes for the decline in sexual activity in the report.  But it did list possible factors that seem to be at play for this surprising fall in frequency of sex which include the following:

·      Too much electronic distraction. From cell phones, to laptops, to iPads, there are simply too many diversions grabbing our attention.  It’s as if we find scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, more fascinating to see what is going on in other people’s live then paying attention to our own.

·      Work-related fatigue. Two-income families are pretty much the norm and that means more hours spent working and then coming home from work to do more work with the kids and household.  Our minds are becoming more occupied with things other than the physical connection with our loved ones. 

·      Younger people are putting off marriage and parenthood at a much higher rate than in the past.  This combination of being middle-aged and raising children may be lead to sexual infrequency.

·      Millennials may be less sexually active since many of them are living with their parents longer and taking more time to become financially independent. 

We may not fully understand totally why the decline in the frequency of sex has occurred but in the meantime, let’s hope it picks up sometime soon to keep the human race from disappearing.