Madeleine Frank Reeves is deputy editor of Cosmopolitan in New York. She was also responsible for the Sex, Love pages
First, a quick reminder. It was five years ago ; in quick succession, several media outlets, notably the New York Times, the Guardian, and finally The Atlantic, revealed a series of apparently worrying figures on the sexual inactivity of a generation. Basically, millennials, often called Y, this famous group born with a remote control in their hands, would be the least active, sexually speaking, compared to all previous generations at the same age. A conclusion that is surprising to say the least, when we know that we are talking here about the famous Tinder generation, not exactly synonymous with chastity, it should be remembered. Whose fault is it ? Stress, porn, apps, everything was mentioned.
“Are millennials less active? But how much less active? » Madeleine Frank Reeves, happily married for seven years, asked herself all kinds of questions while reading these headlines, with which she did not really identify (nor did her friends or colleagues, for that matter). Verified, the conclusions reported came in particular from a longitudinal study, called the General Social Survey (GSS), which covers all kinds of questions, ranging from culture to politics. By the way, how many times do you make love per year (we’re obviously paraphrasing to summarize)? It is here that said decline was observed: from 81.2 times per year, to 78.5 times (between 1989 -1994 and 2010-2014). “We’re talking a little less than three times! That’s not a giant decline! », points out, amused, our interlocutor.
Fundamental question here: “But what counts as sex? » In a word: what exactly are we talking about? Is it even defined? Do we limit ourselves exclusively to penetration? Why is this relevant? And how did the LGBTQ communities feel challenged? “There’s a big blind spot here,” argues Madeleine Frank Reeves. For good reason: “On a daily basis, in our work, readers and experts with whom we interact say it: we need to explore what we mean by ‘sexual activity,’” she says. Sex toys, masturbation, “there are so many different ways to define sexuality”!
To find out, the magazine conducted its own survey, to which a thousand young people (18-34 years old) responded, still five years ago (more recent figures are in the works, but unfortunately not yet public ). No doubt, this generation has explored, the figures speak for themselves: BDSM (20%), anal (35%), rough sex (49%), toys (44%). Even better: “71% of respondents said they were happy with the frequency of their activities, but what’s even more interesting is that 92% said quality was more important than quantity! And that’s an interesting fact: it’s not a question of the number of times, people mostly want the good ones! », notes Madeleine Frank Reeves. The survey further indicates that 68% of millennials do not consider themselves to be in a “sexual recession.”
Impossible to ignore the movement
SO ? Is there cause for concern? “I think that the sexuality of millennials is doing very well,” continues Madeleine Frank Reeves, recalling that her generation grew up with Sex and the City, normalizing discussions as crude as they are naughty between friends at brunch time. “I don’t think comparing frequency statistics is particularly illuminating here. […] On the other hand, I think and I know that the sex lives of millennials are active, nuanced, and interesting, constantly evolving and expanding, she concludes. Generally speaking, I would also say that sexuality takes a big place in their lives. ” It is said !