It’ll come as no surprise for you to hear that when it comes to casual sex and online dating, attitudes have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, but just how much? Anecdotal evidence aside, we haven’t often had a lot of hard evidence as to what’s changed.
Until now, that is. Because a new study has found that whilst ‘Millennials’ (read: young people) might have popularized the casual hook-up culture and the notion of ‘friends with benefits’, there’s an interesting surprise in store.
That surprise is that whilst young people are more promiscuous than ever in their casual sex, they actually have fewer partners than their parents’ generation!
The numbers were taken from America, which does have a slightly different and more complex relationship with casual sex than we Brits do, but are nonetheless revealing. They found that the average number of sexual partners for American adults born in the 80s and 90s is about the same as for baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.
However, that number is complicated by a range of factors, including the time period when people reach adulthood, their age at the time they’re surveyed and the generation they were part of. Separating those elements from the results individually, the scientists found that the biggest predictor of somebody’s number of partners was their generation.
Removing all these elements from the results, the average number of partners for a baby boomer born in the 1950s was 11.68. The comparable figure for millennials was 8.26. That’s a fascinating result, one which points towards the increased promiscuity of the 60s, 70s and early 80s.
However, their numbers also found that whilst young people today have fewer partners, we have more casual sex with the partners we do have, without forming official relationships. A researcher noted: “While these partnerships are casual in nature, they may be defined by regular contact between a limited number of individuals, perhaps reducing the overall number of partners,” they wrote.
Another important shift has been in a broader and more popular acceptance of casual sex, with more young people than ever happy to discuss their casual sex habits. When surveyed, 45% of millennials were happy to disclose that they’d had casual sex with somebody that wasn’t a partner of theirs. That’s up from 35% for those in Generation X, indicating a much more honest and open generation.
It’s just another fact which may be contributing to a society where casual sex is not only more available than ever before, but more openly discussed than ever before. If you want to get involved in casual, no strings attached dating, there’s never been a better time than right now.
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