SAN DIEGO — How’s your love life going these days? Despite the perception that online dating has liberalized sexual encounters, one study finds that Americans are actually having sex less.
Researchers at San Diego State University looked at data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a commonly-referenced sociological survey. They found the GSS useful in that its representative sample of 26,000 American adults, dating back to 1989, inquires about sexual behavior.
Overall, the study shows that from 2010 to 2014, Americans were having sex nine fewer times a year on average compared to data from 1995 to 1999. Shockingly, this figure increases to 16 fewer instances for those married or living together over an even narrower time period— comparing the four-year period ending in 2014 to a period of the same length ending in 2004.
“These data show a major reversal from previous decades in terms of marriage and sex,” notes Jean M. Twenge, the study’s lead author, in a university release. “In the 1990s, married people had sex more times per year than never-married people, but by the mid-2000s that reversed, with the never-married having more sex.”
In a previous study, Twenge and her co-researchers had found that millennials may be having less sex, precisely because they have more stable partners over the long-term. So much for that much maligned “Tinder effect.”
The previous research also found that sexual frequency decreased as one get older, peaking at the age of 25.
Less sex was also found to accompany unhappiness, leading Twenge to proclaim: “It’s no wonder that American adults seem deeply dissatisfied these days.” Interestingly, increasing workloads of couples was not found to be the culprit for decreased sex; in fact, working more was positively correlated with having more sex.
The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.