Why I Think Millennials Actually Have More Sex Than Anyone Else on the Planet
There's a massive hidden f*ckfest going on in the millennial generation that nobody is talking about. It's being covered up by a rumor floating around internet-town that we're picky, that we would rather wait to find someone suitable before we have sex. That sex just isn't as cool as our parents thought it was 40 years ago. But is it even true? Let's explore.
There are a heap of articles claiming that millennials are having less sex than ever before: Maxim, Vice, Forbes, The LA Times, The Washington Post — I could keep listing them out, they go on forever. They claim that millennials don't need sex, that staying single is better for our health anyway, or that a career and education are more important. But I've been balancing the fact sheets as well, and I'm pretty sure it's quite the opposite. The study conducted by the General Social Survey (GSS), which is the study all of these articles are based on, is pretty confusing. It does say that millennials have reported having less sex than other generations at their age, but it doesn't define "sex." Even the studies themselves are full of sentences such as "students were more likely to rate a behavior as abstinence if orgasm did not occur" or "students were quite mixed in whether activities involving unidirectional genital stimulation (e.g., oral sex, genital fondling) constituted abstinence." But what really confuses me is that in the same report, millennials are said to be "hooking up" more frequently than other generations had "hooked up" at a similar age. They just aren't having sex. The big question, then, becomes how is everyone defining sex? It's not as simple as you might think. For instance: how do we know that Baby Boomers weren't considering blow jobs sex?
Is that why the number of their "sexual partners" is so much higher? And how do we know that millennials aren't considering anal sex as non-sex because it's not "traditional" penetration? How do we know we aren't all blowing each other, then claiming we're sex-free? And are all same-sex couples defining sex in the same way? Is oral sex considered sex? Millennials are reporting less sex, more hookups, and not informing anybody as to how they define sex. That's not the only misleading data. Another example is that extramarital affairs are on the rise. There's a lot of cheating going on nowadays, and those sexual experiences aren't being tallied correctly either. Nobody wants to be an adulterer, right? Here's what I think is going on . . .
I'm pretty sure we're all sex fiends in disguise — as online daters.
Gen Z rules the world with technology and multitasking. They can design Facebook 2, engineer a new railroad system, and discover another solar system all at once, faster than the rest of us can. They were born with tablets already in existence and at a time when selfies were socially acceptable. They share affection in code, and maybe there's nothing wrong with that. The point is, there's no way to conclude if their culture of distributing online affection with photo "likes" and story views will lead to more sex, since at the time of this writing, they're, like, 10 years old.
Meanwhile, millennials are having sex left and right and Gen Xers are proposing at later ages, but, according to Business Insider, in greater abundance as well. That's right: marriage still exists people. Gen X is getting married. And those of them that get married stay married. They've got a lower divorce rate than any other generation, so low that they're tilting the statistics downward.
But back to millennials and the massive f*ckfest that is happening, despite the slew of articles claiming otherwise. I want to believe that we are a healthier generation with different social values, which makes us more romantically advanced than the rest, but at the end of the day, I don't see any of that information being displayed. What I'm trying to say is that I'm pretty sure we're all sex fiends in disguise — as online daters.
And not to bring up Tinder, but, uh, what about Tinder? Tinder assigns a desirability score to all users, and those who get the most swipes, aka the hottest users, get the highest scores. Messed up, right? Anyway, those hot users with high scores then get more impressions in front of other hot users with high scores and go out on more dates, "hook up" 10 times as much, then report to the GSS that they're only having real sex with a few of them. Bullsh*t.
I see sex everywhere. It only takes a few swipes on one of the many top-rated dating apps to find someone that's within a half mile of my apartment. And sure, sometimes I'm in bed with someone that I don't have traditional penetration with, but, I mean, is there really that big of a difference between that and rolling around naked, doing everything under the half moon, having breakfast with each other in the morning, and hopping on the subway?
Well, to find out more, here are some fancy millennials that I interviewed to get their thoughts on all things millennial sex.
Britt Hysen, Editor-in-Chief of Millennial Magazine
Greg Cayea: Do you think it's true that millennials simply don't place as high of an importance factor on sex as their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts?
Britt Hysen: Absolutely not. In fact, I think just the opposite. We've become a generation of sex and not connection. With the advent of online dating, we have notoriously become less interested in forming a real relationship and more interested in getting in a quick lay just to move onto to new options. The choices are endless, and I believe this to seriously hurt relationships. Millennials wouldn't have a 50 percent chance of getting HPV if we weren't rampantly having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
GC: In a few recent studies, it was found that the millennial generation is not having as much sex as previous generations at similar ages. The general consensus is that millennials are more socially conscious about values, more career-driven, and have been taking less health risks. Do you find that reasoning hard to believe?
BH: Yes, I find this very hard to believe, especially with online dating culture. Sure, millennials might be more career-driven, which is why they are less interested in serious relationships and more interested in casual sex. It's very rare to meet someone who is happily abstinent.
GC: It's been argued that they simply don't care as much . . .
BH: I think they care even more! The problem is that we've become a generation of fantasy and not reality, and this is reflective of the social media influencer game. However, I don't think that really affects dating culture. I think dating culture has been repressed because of online dating making it too easy to find a date and then throwing it away to find someone different. We have lost courtship and made sex way too undervalued.
Alex Nahai, TV Network Executive at 420TV
GC: There seems to be some confusion: what is sex anyway?
Alex Nahai: If you are intimate with someone and sharing a very personal connection with them, I've gotta think it's some form of sex.
GC: Do people have sex to validate themselves?
AN: I think people conflate having sex with relating. I think sex for a lot of people serves as instant gratification — but it is short-lived. I think people tend to feel better when they take the time to get to know someone before having sex. It may be old-fashioned, but I think a lot of millennials are heading back in that direction.
GC: For the millennial generation as a whole, are we too busy complaining to get laid? Are we truly less interested in sex?
AN: No, I don't think we are too busy complaining or less interested in sex or relationships. I really just think that as a generation we are too f*cking fake. We are constantly promoting ourselves — all of us want to be celebrities. And we always think the grass is greener on the other side, that there is something better out there. We look to others to validate ourselves instead of looking within ourselves. And therefore, we don't feel secure enough to build attraction with another person to the point of sex before we move on and try to find someone better.
New Shack, A Synthwave Duo From Provo, UT
GC: So, New Shack. What is sex?
New Shack: Sex is an individual thing, and you get to define it however feels comfortable and consensual to you. In a time when sexuality is more fluid (and also cybernetic!), it makes sense that its definition is more abstract.
GC: Do you think it's true that millennials simply don't place as high of an importance factor on sex?
NS: Maybe "importance" isn't really the right word here. Millennials don't feel the same stigmas around sex, which makes them treat sex as a normal part of their lives. It's not that it's less important, maybe just more normal.
GC: Why do you think that is?
NS: Because we're not as ashamed to talk about sex and connect with people on that level. Shame is totally still at play, especially if you're coming to terms with sexuality outside of hetero norms. But it's a way different playing field than it was for our parents.
GC: In a few recent studies, it was found that millennials are not having as much sex as previous generations at similar ages. The general consensus is that the millennial generation is more socially conscious about values, more career-driven, and has been taking less health risks. Do you find that hard to believe?
NS: Highly doubt that less sex is result of weighing health risks. Again, it's probably due to the normalization of sex. Sex is normal! You don't have to go at it all the time because you're scared your parents might find out and it's your only chance to get laid. So, yeah, maybe millennials don't feel the need to seek it out organically because they can get that form of stimulation easier online.
GC: Do people have sex to validate themselves?
NS: Absolutely. It's a pretty significant role if you're young and playing the field. We bring this up in our song "Cherry." When you're trying to conjure up an ideal version of yourself in your head, you want to see yourself as sexual and sexually desirable. Having sex can help cement our sexual illusions and/or delusions about ourselves. And yep — not only can we get validation everywhere, but we can get all forms of stimulation (sexual or otherwise). We are CONSTANTLY entertained. Sex as entertainment isn't as necessary. We can literally keep ourselves entertained by creating virtual worlds around our life and existence — it's all quite grand and fragile at the same time.
Nicole Arbour, Comedian, Motivator, Social Media Star
GC: On a scale of 1 to 14 . . . how large of an impact do you believe dating apps have on a majority of people's romantic lives?
Nicole Arbour: 13. Most people I know use some kind of app to meet people, have hookups, or find a partner.
GC: Do people have sex to validate themselves? Do you think that since there are so many other places to grab personal validation nowadays, sex is an unneeded tool at times?
NA: This is such a good hypothesis! I mean, why have sex to validate how attractive I may feel I am when I can just get "likes" and online love on a perfect "version" of myself! You [may be getting the same] happy chemicals released when you get "likes" on Instagram as when you have sex . . . so it does serve as a sex-placement. From what I've seen, sex has turned transactional. I'm busy, give me what I want, and I'm back to work. We can swipe to get a hookup, have them leave after, and get back to what we want. On a positive note, I feel like the pendulum is swinging back now. I think romance is going to make a much-needed comeback, and with it . . . sex will come again.
Eva, Pop Singer, Activist
GC: So, Eva, what is sex to you?
Eva M: I guess this has become something that each person defines differently. I consider any kind of penetration to be sex. And hooking up is the umbrella term used to describe anything more than kissing someone. Rolling around naked all night long is not sex, but it can be hooking up — let them have that one! But I think millennials place more importance on having casual sex more often rather than the importance of any meaning behind it. It diminishes the meaning and overall love/dating culture over time when people aren't concerned about the underlying feelings or emotions past the usual college age, which seems to be happening these days.
GC: In a recent study, it was found that the millennial generation is not having as much sex as previous generations at similar ages. Do you find that easy to believe?
EM: This is surprising to me; I find it hard to believe. With apps like Tinder and Grindr, sex and dating made simple is just a swipe away these days. It couldn't be easier!
GC: I think the idea that millennial are having less sex is bullsh*t. Of course they want sex, but with so many "sexy bodies" floating around social media . . . it's kinda like what's the point?
EM: I totally agree. What you see on Instagram is all beautiful people living the best parts of their lives. It's a lot of fake BS out there that make people feel crappy. And yeah, its way easier and less scary to sit in the comfort of your home behind a screen and post amazing-looking pictures rather than go risk something real and face rejection. I personally don't think it's that they don't care as much; I think it's that the world has changed and there are a lot more insecurities to face with the internet as a huge part of daily life.
Although there are wildly different viewpoints on how millennials perceive the matter, including me, the fact is that we cannot flood the internet with a firm viewpoint that hasn't yet been proven. One juicy article comes out and 10 other articles report on it, assuming the information is true. That type of domino effect will go on forever unless we acknowledge that the information might not be correct! And until we can prove that every generation defines sex in the exact same fashion, there's absolutely no way to conclude if millennials are, in fact, having more or less sex than the rest of the world.
Based on all of the information in front of me, all of the studies and interviews and simple, plain old common sense, there are a few observations that I just can't shake. The first is yes, dating apps have made it easier than ever to hook up. Yes, this is the golden age of casual dating, millennials are casually dating more than the rest of the world, and they're hooking up more than the rest of the world. So since nobody can definitively specify the details of all these millennial hookups and sexual encounters, it's only reasonable to assume that sex is, in fact, on the rise.