A new survey found that Americans aren’t having as much sex as they used to. Married couples or those who cohabitate had sex 16 fewer times on average between 2010-2014 compared to 2000-2004. Overall, Americans had sex about 9 fewer times per year in 2010-2014 compared to 1995-1999.

Well, presumably the other two are still going strong.
Image credits GanMed64 / Flickr.

Based on data collected from the General Social Survey which has recorded (among other things) the sexual behavior of more than 26,000 American adults since 1989, a team from the San Diego State University found that Americans today just aren’t getting down between the sheets as much as previous generations did.

“These data show a major reversal from previous decades in terms of marriage and sex,” said Jean M. Twenge, the study’s lead author and professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

“In the 1990s, married people had sex more times per year than never-married people, but by the mid-2000s that reversed, with the never-married having more sex.”

Twenge says that the main factor driving sexual habits seems to be the birth cohort (i.e. generation), with those born earlier in the 20th century having had more sex on average compared to their younger peers at the same ages. But it may not be so much an issue of Americans having less sex with their partners, but rather a lack of partners to get frisky with — Twenge’s previous research found that Millennials/Generation Y had fewer sexual partners on average compared to members of the Generation X at the same age.

“Despite their reputation for hooking up, Millennials and the generation after them [iGen or Generation Z] are actually having sex less often than their parents and grandparents did when they were young,” said Twenge.

“That’s partially because fewer iGen’ers and Millennials have steady partners.”

Age is also an important factor. People in their 20s report having sex in excess of 80 times per year, a figure which declines to 60 times per year by age 45, and goes all the way down to 20 times per year by age 65, the team reports. So individuals’ average sexual frequency declines by 3.2% each year after the peak at age 25.

But it’s not only kids failing at attracting the opposite sex, Twnege says. It’s also happening to married couples.

“Older and married people are having sex less often — especially after 2000,” he said.

“In a previous paper, we found that the happiness of adults over age 30 declined between 2000 and 2014. With less sex and less happiness, it’s no wonder that American adults seem deeply dissatisfied these days.”

While the study doesn’t offer any evidence as to why this is happening, Twenge says that it’s not due to excessive workloads — Americans who worked more hours actually had sex more often than their peers. Which my actually explain why they work so hard.

The full paper “Changes in American Adults’ Reported Same-Sex Sexual Experiences and Attitudes” has been published online in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

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