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America’s Unhappy Sex Recession

The Atlantic observed, “The United States is in the middle of a ‘sex recession.’ Nowhere has this sex recession proved more consequential than among young adults, especially young men.”

In 2018, the number of American adults who said they hadn’t had sex in the past year rose to an all-time high of 23 percent. The demographic having the least sex is, predictably, those older than 60. But those having the second-least amount of sex are 18 to 29. Today’s young people are having significantly less sex than their parents are.

Of the 20,000 college students surveyed by the Online College Social Life Survey from 2005 to 2011, the median number of hookups over four years was only five—and a majority of students said they wished they had more chances to get into a long-term relationship.

Americans talk a lot about sex. Anyone would think they’re having a lot of it. The behaviors now espoused—free sex, with anyone, at any time (as long as there’s consent)—seem like they’d lead to nonstop, uninhibited hookups. Instead, the opposite has happened. Young people are having less sex—and are less happy—than the married, churchgoing generation before them.

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