The Sunday Times: Smartphone generation give sex the kiss‑off

sex kiss off

We are in a sexual recession. We’re better protected — against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies — than ever. Pornography is ubiquitous. And we’re so frantically swiping right, we’re getting Tinder thumb. And yet, statistics suggest, young people today are not getting laid.

This month a long article in The Atlantic magazine by Kate Julian laid bare, in occasionally eye-watering detail, America’s sexual habits. One of Julian’s findings was that the average young adult in 2018 is having less sex than his or her counterparts of decades past. The under-25s are the first generation getting less action than their parents. And it’s not because they’re snowflakes too busy eating avocado toast.

Julian labels this phenomenon the “sexual recession”. Let’s get the awful economics jokes out of the way now. Has a failure to stimulate our assets led to flaccid markets? Have limp-wristed layoffs caused widespread shrinkage? Or has the economy become backed up, deflating our endowments and leading to a lack of liquidity?

Grim as a sexual recession sounds, it’s certainly intriguing — and counterintuitive, when, according to many sources, we appear to live in a sexually fluid Sodom and Gomorrah.

Julian considers various reasons for this sexual drought: economic uncertainty, mental health problems, an obsession with technology, #MeToo having left people reluctant to flirt. Hook-up culture, dating apps and inhibitions caused by social-media beauty ideals also play their part. Porn is a frequently cited factor: first for replacing the effort of real-life encounters with lazy solo relief, and second for teaching men a sort of sex that women don’t want.


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