Americans are not having sex as much as they used to

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What do you do before bed?

Sex in the country is waning—not even young people are getting as much lovin’ as they used to.

According to a paper published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior on Tuesday, Americans across the board are having less sex. The study found similar declines across gender, race, region, education level and work status, with the largest drop in frequency “among those in their 50s, those with school-age children, and those who did not watch pornography.”

While the report found that an increase in the number of unpartnered Americans is partially responsible for the drop, the other major contributing factor was simply that partnered Americans are having sex less frequently.

Using data from over 20,000 Americans gather in a General Social Survey from 1989-2014, the study found that we’re having sex seven to nine times fewer each year than we did in the 1990s. It seems when booty calls were more cumbersome in the era of the beeper, people had sex 60 to 62 times a year, but by the early 2000s frequency started slipping, and by 2014 they were getting their freak on less than 53 times a year.

The drop was sharpest amongst married people who had sex around 73 times a year in 1990 but only 55 times in 2014, an even lower number than never-married people who have sex an average of 59 times a year.

The study also found a not-so-surprising decline in sexual activity as people aged. While those in their 20s had sex over 80 times a year, at age 45, that number dropped to 60, and even more sharply to 20 times a year by age 65.
Interestingly, however, it seems millennials are having the least sex of all. When the study compared the same time period in the lives of various generations, those having the most sex were Americans born in the 1930s, while those having the least sex were born in the 1990s.

So, why aren’t more Americans getting it on?

The study pointed to no direct causes, but according to its lead author, Jean M. Twenge, technological distractions aren’t helping matters. Twenge told the Washington Post, “People aren’t looking around saying, ‘Hey, it’s 10 o’clock, what are we going to do?'”

The study cited several possible causes in addition to our increased access to entertainment and social media. Among them were rising rates in depression, the use of anti-depressants that could lead to sexual dysfunction, and a general decline in happiness in Americans over 30.

But the causality between happiness and sex easily becomes very chicken-egg according to Twenge who asked, “Are they less happy and thus having less sex, or are they having less sex and therefore less happy? It’s probably some of both.”

H/T Washington Post

Nayomi Reghay

Nayomi Reghay

Nayomi Reghay is a frequent contributor to the Daily Dot, covering body positivity, feminism, sex, relationships, and gender. She is also the author of the advice column “Swipe This!” A former New York Teaching Fellow, her writing has been featured in Reductress, Rolling Stone, Mic, Someecards, and more.