Study: American Adults Having Less Sex than a Quarter of a Century Ago

Statue-Couple-Sex-AP PhotoMartin Mejia
AP/Martin Mejia

A new study released Tuesday shows that American adults are having less sex than a quarter of a century ago, with the biggest decline being among married people.

The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviorshowed a decline in sexual activity across gender, race, region, education level, and work status.

One of the factors for this decline is the increase in the percentage of unpartnered people, who tend to have less sex than partnered ones.

But a major factor for this decline stems from a steady decline in the rate of sexual activity for people who are married or living with partners.

The study found that American adults have sex seven to nine fewer times per year than in the 1990s, according to data from the General Social Survey from 1984-2014.

The average person used to have sex 60 to 62 times a year in the 1990s, but by 2014 that number dropped to less than 53 times per year.

The drop in sexual activity among married people was even sharper, going from 73 times a year in 1990 to 55 in 2014. The frequency of sexual activity among married people was below that of unmarried people, who have sex an average of 59 times a year.

The study said people who are not in couples, including those married in the past, have sex half as much as those who are.

The decrease in couples backs up this claim. Sixty-six Americans were living with a partner in 1986; in 2014, only 59 percent were, according to GSS data.

The report listed possible factors for the decline in sexual activity, including increased access to entertainment and social media; a decline in happiness among people 30 and over; higher incidence of depression; and use of anti-depressants associated with sexual dysfunction.

The study found a steady drop in sexual activity as people aged, but when comparing the same time period in each generation, it turns out that those born in the 1930s had sex the most often, while those born in the 1990s had sex the least.

The sharpest decline in sexual activity was among people in their 50s, people with a college degree, people with school-age children, people in the South, and those who do not watch pornography, according to the study.


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