Study finds sharp increase in sexual inactivity among young heterosexual men in US
About 1 in 3 young men in the United States report having had no sexual activity in the past year, according to a new study published in JAMA network open. The study indicates that sexual inactivity has increased and that sexual frequency has decreased over the past two decades.
“The dating landscape and other related aspects of our lives have changed dramatically over the past decades; due to the introduction of online dating and dating apps and changes in the job market, the rise of social media, the consumption of entertainment that may compete with gender, and trends in choice of life such as if and when to get married, ”said study author Pierre Ueda, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute.
“The distribution of sex in populations has been the subject of much speculation and in this study, I think, we address some questions laymen may have about the distribution of sexual activity and the number of partners.”
For their study, the researchers analyzed data from 10 waves of the General Social Survey, an annual survey of American adults aged 18 or older. The survey included the questions “How often have you had sex in the past 12 months?” And “How many sexual partners have you had in the past 12 months?” “
Ueda and her colleagues found that most men and women reported having intercourse weekly or more, but they observed a decrease in sexual activity among those aged 18 to 44 between 2000 and 2018.
“There were two main conclusions. The first was that among those who were sexually active, the frequency of sex had decreased, so people had less sex on average than before, ”Ueda told PsyPost.
“The second result that was more important was that the proportion of people who had not reported sex for at least a year before participating in the survey had increased, and much of this increase occurred among older men. young people, ”he continued.
Between 2000 and 2018, the percentage of heterosexual men aged 18 to 24 who were sexually inactive in the past year increased from 18.9% to 30.9%. The percentage of men and women aged 25 to 34 who were sexually inactive in the past year also increased to a lesser extent.
“It is important to distinguish between a decrease in sexual frequency in those who are sexually active and an increase in those who do not have sex at all. While the average sexual frequency among those who were sexually active may reflect their priorities and preferences, sexual inactivity may reflect an absence of sexually intimate relationships, with significantly different implications for individuals and society, ”explained Ueda.
“Men with low income and with part-time or unemployed jobs were more likely to be sexually inactive. It seems that in the United States and elsewhere, there is a proportion of the population that does not settle in society, in the job market and perhaps also in the dating market.
But the reasons for the increase in sexual inactivity remain unclear. In addition, there is little research on the consequences of such inactivity.
“A key question is to what extent is sexual inactivity associated with dissatisfaction. While sexual inactivity is a choice for some people, it could be a source of distress for others. Sexual inactivity and potential dissatisfaction seem to be hot topics, perhaps more so than sex, ”Ueda told PsyPost.
“Sexual health research has mainly focused on sexually active people, with some surveys excluding inactive participants from answering questions about feelings about their (lack of) sex life. Given that sexually intimate relationships are important to the well-being and quality of life of many (but certainly not all) people and the substantial proportion of sexually inactive individuals, as our study shows, we need more knowledge about the reasons and potential feelings about sexual inactivity.
The emphasis on the incel fringe subculture – a coat rack of the term involuntary bachelors – hasn’t helped matters.
“Unfortunately, I think, the public debate on this topic has not been nuanced, with many stories focusing on the destructive niches of the internet subcultures of straight men, although these individuals are only a tiny minority. of those who are sexually inactive. Sexual (if not voluntary) inactivity can be a sensitive topic as it leads to sexual desires and, for some people, feelings of rejection and insecurity. Sexual inactivity should not be a subject to shame or ridicule, ”Ueda explained.
“While a lot of work has been done to promote a frank and nuanced discussion about sex and sexual activity, it would be in our best interest to talk better about not having sex. We need to improve the public debate on this topic. .
The study, “Trends in frequency of sexual activity and number of sexual partners among adults aged 18 to 44 in the United States, 2000-2018Was written by Peter Ueda, Catherine H. Mercer, PhD; Cyrus Ghaznavi, BA; Debby Herbenick