According to the Salt Lake Tribune, recent data from the General Social Survey shows the portion of Americans reporting no sex in the past year more than doubled between 2008 and 2018, to 23 percent. Most striking is that the lack of sex is driven primarily by people in their 20s, especially males.
“For most of the past three decades, twenty-something men and women reported similar rates of sexlessness,” writes Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post. “But that's changed in recent years. Since 2008, the share of men younger than 30 reporting no sex has nearly tripled, to 28 percent.”
That’s a huge leap in a short period of time. Interestingly enough, the sexual decline occurred alongside another significant trend: the decline in labor force participation among men. From January 2008 to December 2018, the portion of men in the labor force declined from 73.4 percent to 69 percent.
There may be more than one reason why twenty-somethings are having less sex — their obsession with career and their addiction to technology, to name a few — but there’s simply no question the drop in male employment has had a direct effect on their love lives.
“The survey showed,” Ingraham adds, “that 54 percent of unemployed Americans didn't have a steady romantic partner, compared with only 32 percent among the employed.”
No one wants to admit this, because it’s unfashionable to do so, but an unemployed woman is not the same as an unemployed man. A woman without a job doesn't make her any less attractive to men. But we cannot say the same thing about a man. An unemployed man who lacks purpose and direction just isn't sexy, especially if he lives in his parents’ basement, which more than a third of men ages 18-34 do.
No one wants to concede, because it’s unpopular to do so, that an unemployed male is not the same as an unemployed female. A woman without a job does not make her any less attractive to a man. But a man without a job is unquestionably undesirable to a woman.
It appears the chickens have come home to roost. For decades, America has hailed the rise of women while dragging men down in the process. The media, whether in film, television programs, or the 5 o'clock news, used to sell positive messages about men and women, love, and family. The media of today hails women and portrays men as losers at best, perpetrators at worst.
What’s the inevitable result of all this? Young people not having sex is the least of it. More pressing is that young people struggle to form relationships with one another. If they can’t do this one simple, completely natural thing, marriage will die out, families will break down (or will never be formed in the first place), and society as we know it will end.
That may strike you as fatalistic, and perhaps it is. But before we continue down this path we’re on, we would do well to ask ourselves what we did to create this brave new world, one where falling in love and connecting with one another spiritually and sexually is now considered quaint, something humans used to do back in the day but now feels utterly primitive.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of any problem more imperative than that.
Suzanne Venker (@SuzanneVenker) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is an author, columnist, and relationship coach known as “The Feminist Fixer.” Her newest book, "WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts," will be published in October 2019. Suzanne’s website is www.suzannevenker.com.