A recent report published in the Journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour suggests that us millennials (anyone born between1980 and the1990’s) aren’t as racy and wild as our parents perhaps think we are. In fact, the study suggests that in regards to our sexy bedroom antics, we're actually having a lot less sex than our baby boomer bonking parents *Ew, awful mental image*.
Though we watch shows like Girls and Broad City, and read the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey (if you're brave enough to admit that) the study suggests that in our mid 20’s we are more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive than the preceding generation. So why are we not getting down and dirty as much as we 'should' be? And how often is 'enough'?
The study attributes our lack of sexy time to 6 main factors: our obsession with our careers, a fear of becoming emotionally involved, anxieties surrounding consent, an increase of libido-suppressing antidepressants and an obsession with online dating, which focuses on appearance above anything else, are all crucial reasons why we aren’t doing the deed as much. Now while the fear of getting involved and the obvious increased obsession with appearance are understandable, are these factors really enough to keep us out of the bedroom?
What exactly is the “right” amount of sex to be having? As someone who feels like I’m doing it a pretty normal amount, this study made me suddenly question how the hell something as intimate and personal can be analysed and measured in such a scientific way. Shouldn't we just be having sex as much or as little is we want. Can it be that simple?
If you aren’t having sex because you don’t want to, that’s fine. If you aren’t having sex because you’re too busy with your career that’s fine. If you aren’t having sex because you’re worried about falling in love… perhaps something you need to address but still totally fucking fine.
Though there isn’t a definitive answer on how much or how little you should be doin’ it, the more important takeaway from this study is the fear that we seem to have about the whole thing. We are scared it will interrupt our careers, scared we will fall in love, scared we will be rejected because of our appearance or scared perhaps we will end up in a situation with blurry consent lines.
The experiences we have in the bedroom are so much more important than just figuring out where your G-spot is or how the hell to work the elusive clitoris. If it's fear that is holding you back, then perhaps you could take it in smaller steps. The bond that you can develop with somebody when having sex (be it a one-night stand, a fuck buddy or a long term partner) might help you get to know yourself and your comfort levels in a way that no other activity can. You learn to be naked and love yourself, you learn the wonders of post coital pillow talk. You learn humility, vulnerability and comfort of your own skin.
Now the issue of 'blurred consent' is definitely worth delving into. Is the fear surrounding consent really leading us to abstaining “just in case”? As a woman there is a concern, somewhere in your mind, that you’ll end up in a situation where you don’t want to be and not know how to get out. Interestingly the study suggested that many men worry about the issue of consent, more than women do. An article in the Los Angles Times quoted 18-year-old Noah Patterson as saying “Third-wave feminists seem to be crazy, saying that all men are participating in this rape culture.” Rather than end up in a situation he’s unsure about, he chooses porn instead. “It’s quicker. It’s more accessible. What you see is what you get.”
As a woman it’s hard to know whether this is a common thought process for men, or perhaps just one young man’s own anxieties. The idea that rape culture being something that all men participate in is completely and utterly ridiculous and obviously not the case at all. Rape culture is something that everyone needs to aware of and educated about.
Sex should not have these negative, fearful implications connected to it. The issue is that we are associating a beautiful, life-creating, FUN thing with fear and negativity. It’s time to take our parents indirect advice once again and have more fucking sex.
Image: Marguerite Kate
Anna Wall is a self-confessed hedonist and self-appointed travel expert. She drinks coffee until its appropriate to move on to wine and believes that there is nothing more satisfying in life than good wine and a good book. She's scared of balloons, the dark and of growing up.