How to fix the Millenial Boning Drought
Since a cover story in the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic, titled Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex, the mainstream media has been awash in think pieces and comment from academics about the phenomena of the Millennial generation and their lack of exuberance to get between the sheets.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent. Another academic referenced in The Atlantic article, Jean M. Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, found that today’s young adults were on track to have fewer sex partners than members of the two preceding generations, with those now in their early 20s two and a half times as likely to be abstinent as Gen Xers were at that age.
As a proud Gen Xer myself, all I can say is: Go team! I mean, every generation thinks they invented sex. The baby boomers before us had free love and the sexual revolution, but what about their parents? They are not called the Greatest Generation only because they stoically won the Second World War and ushered in a new era of global prosperity, they also created that baby boom by fucking like bunny rabbits. Go grandpa!
The question is then, why are the kids getting it on so little? There are lots of theories, but one of the more popular, and widely reported, comes from Allison Schrager, an economist and author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.
She applied the concept of risk management, often used in financial markets, to pinpoint the cause of the decline. According to Schrager, it has to do with a concept called “risk-free asset,” which makes up the foundation of the decisions people make. For Millennials, who have been generalised as being more risk-averse than previous generations, the ultimate risk-free return is not leaving the house, which has ultimately led to a decrease in sex.
Describing how people no longer need to leave the house to find entertainment, Schrager wrote: “Now everyone can live what feels like an entertaining life without taking the risk of leaving the house” thanks to nearly limitless television and video games. In other words, it’s Netflix and Xbox’s fault.
There is no doubt many societies have gone through rapid and disorienting changes in recent decades due to technology, economic and social influences. Look at Japan, where people not having sex has been elevated to the level of a national emergency as the birth rate continues to plummet. They even have a word for this wave of disinterest in sexual or romantic relationship – Mendokusai, which translates loosely as "Too troublesome" or "I can't be bothered".
But that is really a whole other rabbit hole to go down (and presumably one where the rabbits are just having a nice cup of tea and watching the telly), as it involves multiple generations and decades long societal and economic forces. What about the simpler question of why 20-somethings in developed Western nations are not getting their rocks off like we used to.
Well, dear reader, here is my entirely unscientific theory: The kids be too damn poor! Yes, we were poor in our day, but it was a very different kind of poor.
Let’s look at a few examples. We did plenty of shagging in the back seat of cars, but many fewer kids have cars these days. Do you know what insurance on a car runs today for someone under 30? Plus, there is way better public transport and the need to be more environmentally conscious.
Also, many young people are living at home far longer than they used to. Housing markets have skyrocketed across the globe in the last few decades, leaving young people with little option other than to keep living with mum and dad. There is no greater boner killer than having to bring a girl home to your childhood bedroom after a certain age.
Kids have to spend more of what little money they have on shit that we never dreamed of. Did we need to drop almost a grand on an IPhone? No. Did we have to worry about being fashion-forward and having the latest limited-release sneakers or watch? Hell no. I was a young dude during ‘peak-grunge’ where everyone dressed like they were one step above a hobo. That was being fashion-forward then, and all you had to do was head down to the charity shop.
This is how I propose we fix the situation, if governments around the world really are concerned about this issue. I believe everyone in this particular ‘at-risk’ demographic should be provided with sex stamps, similar to the food stamp program in the US that feeds millions of low-income earners. We should, as a society, ensure that low-sex earners are getting laid. To manage the program properly, these sex stamps could only be redeemed for condoms, lube, cheap hotel rooms and Al Green CDs.
Short of this, admittedly brilliant, solution, it all come back to the parents. Mum and dad, if you really care about the emotional, mental and sexual health of your kids, then throw some cash at said redeemable items and insist they get amongst it. As an added bonus, they will be absolutely mortified about having to talk about sex with you. And doing that to your kids is always fun.