Millennials might be having less sex than their parents did.
That’s at least according to a study called “Sexual Activity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen,” published in the academic journal, “Archives of Sexual Behavior.” The study suggested that more Millennials are refraining from sex than members of previous generations. Those who do choose to have sex have fewer partners: eight on average, in contrast with 11 for Baby Boomers and 10 for Gen X’ers.
Despite the public perception that young people are having more sex than ever, many students at The University of Alabama are choosing to abstain from sex for a variety of reasons, including health, economics and religion.
“I did grow up in a religious home,” said Bailey Clem, a junior majoring in the multiple abilities program. “I am religious, so that definitely plays a factor into it, but also for me it is a safety thing. Nothing is ever 100 percent safe except for staying away from it. And pregnancy is just not something I would be able to handle until I am ready –– married, financially stable, whatever that means.”
Clem said she believes that Millennials are better educated than previous generations about sex ed and that they may have less sex because they are more ambitious.
“We see all these things about how Millennials are ‘switching to dogs from babies,’” she said. “And how they want to focus more on having pets and things like that, and they can’t handle kids. I think it could be because back in our parent’s generation, what you did as a woman was you grew up and got married. That’s what you did. Now there’s more the option of choosing your path.”
Not all young people are refraining from sex, however. Around 85 percent of Millennials are still sexually active, according to the study. But the number of young people who have not had sex since age 18 had doubled when compared to the numbers of people in the 1990s.
For Josh Miller, a junior majoring in English and political science, the issue has less to do with safety than his own feelings about relationships and commitment. Though he is religious, he said that is only part of his motivation to wait until marriage.
“It’s been a personal choice of mine because loyalty is everything to me,” Miller said. “And I want to one day get married and settle down, and the person that I marry, I want them to have everything I can offer them. And because loyalty is such a big part of who I am, I don’t want them to feel like I’ve been disloyal to them even if I didn’t know them when it happened.”
Miller said he believes the statistics about Millennials are true and that many people he knows are refraining from sexual activity, even students from less conservative parts of the country.
“We’re in the Bible Belt, so there are a lot more reasons behind it, but I probably know just as many people who have, whether they have chosen to or not, stayed abstinent, as I do, from the South,” he said.