So what’s the problem? Apparently young people need to get out more.
“Online dating apps should, in theory, help Millennials find sexual partners more easily,” psychology professor and author of the study Jean M Twenge says. “However, technology may have the opposite effect if young people are spending so much time online that they interact less in person, and thus don’t have sex.”
Her study through the San Diego State University mapped data from more than 26,000 respondents to a national survey, the General Social Survey.
The research was published this week in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
What it tells researchers is fewer Millennials have been having sex since turning 18.It found 15 per cent of 20 to 24-year-olds born in the 1990s reported having no sexual partners since age 18. This compared to only 6 per cent of Generation Xers when they were young adults.
It’s a similar story for teens.
The number of US high school students reporting being sexually active has fallen from 51 per cent in 1991 to 41 per cent in 2015.
The study goes on to speculate that the overwhelming availability of online pornography may now be giving young men and women an alternate outlet.
But it also notes a bevy of other social factors that could be contributing to increased celibacy:
— Education and housing prices are forcing more young people to live with their parents longer
— Easy access to ‘instant entertainment’, such as streaming video and computer games, online
— The prevalence of health and safety messages in the community.
“This is a very risk-averse generation, and that attitude may be influencing their sexual choices,” Professor Twenge says.
“It’s good news for sexual and emotional health if teens are waiting until they are ready. But if young adults forgo sex completely, they may be missing out on some of the advantages of an adult romantic relationship.”