With Tinder, Ok Cupid and all the other dating apps out there essentially putting sex at your fingertips, you’d think millennials would be experiencing the golden age of casual hookups right about now. But according to new data, that’s not nearly the case.
A survey released this week by the Harvard Graduate School of Education says that young adults are having less sex than older people. Researchers asked both adults and teenagers what percent of 18 and 19-year-olds they think had multiple sexual partners, what percent had sex with more than 10 people in college and what percent were dating casually. And most of their answers to all three questions fell between the 50 to 70 percent range.
But those numbers were more than a little optomisitic. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2011 found that 27 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds nationwide had sex with more than one person in the previous year, while just 8 percent had four or more partners n that time period.
A 2013 national Time study illuminated college hookups in more detail, concluding that only 20 percent of students had more than 10 sexual partners by their senior year of college.
The study also showed that the false perception that millennials are hooking up all over the place has them feeling clueless about how to even begin a healthy relationship and wishing they’d grown up with their parents giving them better examples of how to do so.
“Many parents may not see providing guidance on romantic relationships as their role, not know what to say, or feel hobbled in these conversations because of their own romantic failures,” the study says. “Helping young people develop the skills to maintain caring romantic relationships and treat those of different genders with dignity and respect also helps strengthen their ability to develop caring, responsible relationships at every stage of their lives and to grow into ethical adults, community members, and citizens.”
Makes sense. The divorce rate’s been holding steady at about 68 percent for the last ten years or so now, which would seem to indicate that not very many parents know how to build healthy relationships either.