Young people today are not having as much sex as previous generations, despite the widespread availability of dating sites and apps and more accepting attitudes about premarital sex, researchers said Tuesday.
The study focused on millennials, the generation of people born in the 1990s, and found they were the most sexually inactive group since the Depression era.
"The only other generation that showed a higher rate of sexual inactivity were those born in the 1920s," said the study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The report found that among Americans aged 20 to 24, those born in the early 1990s were significantly more likely to report no sexual partners after age 18 than Gen X'ers born in the late 1960s.
Fifteen per cent of 20- to 24-year-old American millennials reported having no sexual partners since turning 18, compared to six per cent of those born in the 1960s.
"This study really contradicts the widespread notion that millennials are the 'hookup' generation, which is popularized by dating apps like 'Tinder' and others, suggesting that they are just looking for quick relationships and frequent casual sex," said co-author Ryne Sherman, associate professor of psychology in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University.
"Our data show that this doesn't seem to be the case at all and that millennials are not more promiscuous than their predecessors."
Young women today are about twice as likely as men to be sexually inactive, it found.
The study also showed that fewer young people get a driver's license or work for pay, suggesting they "are growing up more slowly than those born in the 1980s."
Separate research out earlier this year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 41 per cent of high school students said they had never had sex, down from 54 per cent in 1991.
Sherman said the reasons for the shift are complex, but that factors may include more sex education, greater awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, easy access to pornography and perhaps differing definitions across generational lines of what sex is, whether it means oral sex or intercourse.
Somehow, knowing more about sex and being able to see it on video has not translated into more actual sex for young people today.
"While attitudes about premarital sex have become more permissive over time, rise in individualism allows young American adults to have permissive attitudes without feeling the pressure to conform in their own behavior," said Sherman.
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You may feel like saving is impossible with that huge pile of debt sitting on your back, but unless you take care of it first, you won't be able to plan out a clear financial future. "High debt levels will slow down your saving and investing abilities when you start working, so do everything you can do to stay out of debt," says author and financial coach David Campbell Lester. Obviously, this situation isn't ideal for everyone — especially students who take loans during the school year and don't find full-time work right away. Once you graduate, talk to a financial planner to figure out how much you should save each month, and if you're a student, talk to your school's career centre for part-time work or look for grants or scholarships.
This can either be someone who works at your bank or someone you know who is really good with their money. Meet with your mentor once a month and discuss your challenges and successes thus far in terms of your career and finances, Lester says. And although it may be a little embarrassing to share your savings and debt numbers with someone you know, remember, we've all been there at one point.
"When in school, get a part-time job that will complement your career when you graduate, and give you cash to keep out of debt," Lester says. Although getting part-time work can be tough during the school year, try looking at jobs on campus that can work around your schedule, and give you more skills in your preferred field.
If you love your credit card and treat it like a best friend, make sure you're using it for the right things."Build credit by paying your mobile, cable, internet, and other fixed costs on your credit card and then pre-authorize a full payment at the end of the month," he says. Don't make of habit of paying for everything on credit — especially if you can't pay it off. Also, when you are looking for a credit card, choose one (or two) that will benefit you with either points or a cash back feature. Credit can be your friend, as long as you don't create a hole of debt.
If you know you have $100 a week to spend on food, coffee, entertainment, etc. then leave that amount in a "spending account," or take it out in cash every Sunday, Lester says. If you are the type of person who is more likely to spend cash if they see it in their wallet, start with a small amount, like $20 to $40 per week.
Make your own coffee that day, pack your lunch, stay in and watch Netflix, and make your own dinner. Start this challenge by bringing your lunch every day, for example. Turn it up a notch by implementing financial-free weekdays at least three times a week. "Going out only once a week will save you a ton of money," Lester says.
Have your bank transfer 10 to 20 per cent of your paycheque into a savings account every time it goes in. Over time, it will grow and you won't even miss the amount. If you're worried about spending it, try opening up a separate bank account without any fees or invest in a TSFA. Remember, once you get comfortable, you can move up the percentage.
Looking into the future, start thinking about investing in property. "Real estate has gone up in the long run and there isn't a single better investment for retirement than a home that is paid for," Lester says. Although this may seem out of reach for most millennials, start saving early by putting away a certain amount of money each month for a condo or house, live with roommates to decrease your own rent costs, and keep an eye out for new buildings or units in your area.
"I know it seems boring, but once you have a portfolio of investments pumping money into your account, you'll see it as fun too," Lester says. Join an investing group, watch the news for the latest numbers or pick up some investing books from the library.
Take a minute to actually figure out where your money is, including how much money you have in each account, money you owe and money you have invested, if any. "You don't have to cut out expensive coffees, shop with coupons, and live like a hermit to be a money champ. Spend less than you make and save 10 to 20 per cent for your future," Lester says. If your net worth is increasing year after year, you're on the right track.