Sex? No Thanks, We’re Busy

Helen Mitternight



Surely my friends are not the only ones who looked at the Olympic athletes and sighed about the…um…”stamina” these young paragons demonstrated, with a fantasy about other venues where they could use that energy.  

Turns out, though, Millennials aren’t taking advantage of all that energy as much as you might think.

In a recent study of more than 25,000 American adults, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (did you even know there was such a thing!?), Millennials and the iGen generation (ie those born in the 1980s and 1990s) reported no sexual partners at much higher rates than the GenXers – who apparently were veritable bunnies in their 20s compared to the younger generations. The exception—and I have NO idea what to make of this—is African Americans and college-educated Millennials.

The reasons given for this inactivity are what I find fascinating.

The reasons include being overworked and more focused on career status; fear of becoming too involved and losing control; anxieties about when no means no; and an increase in depressants, which have a side effect of suppressing libido.

My takeaway from all that?

They’re busy and a real-life sexual relationship is too much time and trouble. It’s like there is an entire generation who listened to their parents’ warnings not to get distracted by their hormones and to keep their eyes on the prize.

I’m not sure who these people are. Stroll down upper King Street on any weekend night and you practically have to slice through the cloud of lust to make any forward progress. But either these are the college-educated exceptions mentioned in the study, or what I’m feeling on those walks, is unrequited lust.

Which brings me back to the perfectly-sculpted Olympic athletes.

The study makes me wonder whether they got to medal status by throwing all that stamina into swimming, and diving, and running…away from relationships.