Washington DC, Aug 3 : If you thought people born in the 1990s are the 'hookup generation,' then it's time you popped your bubble as a recent research has suggested that Millennials are having far less sex than GenX-ers.
According to the Florida Atlantic University study, the new sexual revolution has apparently left behind a larger segment of this generation than first thought.
"This study really contradicts the widespread notion that Millennials are the 'hookup' generation, which is popularized by dating apps like 'Tinder' and others, suggesting that they are just looking for quick relationships and frequent casual sex," said co-author Ryne Sherman.
"Our data show that this doesn't seem to be the case at all and that Millennials are not more promiscuous than their predecessors." A key finding from the study is that the changes in sexual inactivity in Millennials were not related to the time period or decade, but rather to the generation.
"This is really about this generation of young American adults and not the time period in which they are living," said Sherman.
"This has very little to do with changing norms about sexual behavior; the generations are just different and it has everything to do with them." To determine if this shift was due to differences in age or generation, the researchers used a two-pronged approach to compare sexual inactivity rates by birth decade among 20 to 24 year olds.
They conducted a unique age-period-cohort analysis using the entire sample of adults ages 18 to 96 in the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative sample of American adults since 1989.
They also examined gender, race, education, region, and religiosity as moderators to determine whether any changes in sexual inactivity differed from one group to another.
Among Americans aged 20 to 24, Millennials were significantly more likely to report no sexual partners after age 18 than GenX'ers born in the late 1960s.
Fifteen percent of the 20- to 24-year-old Americans born in the 1990s had no sexual partners since turning 18, compared to 6 percent of those born in the 1960s.
The only other generation that showed a higher rate of sexual inactivity was those born in the 1920s. The increase in adult sexual inactivity between the 1960s and the 1990s generations was larger and significant among women (from 2.3 percent to 5.4 percent), but not among men (from 1.7 percent to 1.9 percent).
It was non-existent among Black Americans (2.6 percent to 2.6 percent, compared to a significant jump from 1.6 percent to 3.9 percent among Whites).
The researchers speculate that there may be a number of reasons for this major shift between Millennials and other generations including more sex education and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, easy access to pornography because of technology or perhaps, even differences in defining what sexual activity is and is not (e.g.
oral sex vs. intercourse) since generations define sex differently. "While attitudes about premarital sex have become more permissive over time, rise in individualism allows young American adults to have permissive attitudes without feeling the pressure to conform in their own behavior," said Sherman.
The study appears in journal Archives of Sexual Behavior..