The biggest misconception young people have about the 1960s is that they actually happened in the 1970s. The real free love/drug culture only began in the summer of 1968 - the decade after, before AIDS, was really the time to hook up.
Yet many think it is happening more often now, among Millennials. The reason is obvious; premarital sex is far more accepted than ever, Tinder is a thing, and a baby born today is as likely to be born to a single mother as not. Yet in practice, Millennials are forgoing sex during young adulthood. Sort of. They learned from a former president that sex is what you define it as being.
The scholars used a two-pronged approach to compare sexual inactivity rates by birth decade among 20 to 24 year olds. They conducted an age-period-cohort analysis using the entire sample of adults ages 18 to 96 in the General Social Survey (GSS), a nationally representative sample of American adults conducted since 1989. They also examined gender, race, education, region, and religiosity as moderators to determine whether any changes in sexual inactivity differed from one group to another.
Among Americans aged 20 to 24, Millennials born in the early 1990s were significantly more likely to report no sexual partners after age 18 than Gen X people born in the late 1960s. Fifteen percent of the 20- to 24-year-old Americans born in the 1990s had no sexual partners since turning 18, compared to 6 percent of those born in the 1960s. The only other generation that showed a higher rate of sexual inactivity were those born in the 1920s.
An obvious confounder; maybe young people lie more on surveys than previous generations. It could certainly be that the prevalence of Internet porn means they don't have to endure the tedium of meeting someone.
The increase in adult sexual inactivity between the 1960s and the 1990s generations was larger and significant among women (from 2.3 percent to 5.4 percent), but not among men (from 1.7 percent to 1.9 percent). It was non-existent among Black Americans (2.6 percent to 2.6 percent, compared to a significant jump from 1.6 percent to 3.9 percent among Whites).
"Many of the differences between the groups in the recent generations were also significant," said Ryne Sherman, Ph.D., co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University. "For example, women were more likely to be sexually inactive compared to men, Whites more than Blacks, those who did not attend college more than those who did, and in the East more than the West."
In other words, the results will get mainstream media attention because you are so counter-intuitive. And therefore probably not real outside surveys.
Americans born in the 1990s were the most likely to claim to be sexually inactive in their early 20s, and showed a definite break with those born in the 1980s. Other findings from the study indicate that those born in the 1990s are growing up more slowly than those born in the 1980s. For example, fewer get a driver's license or work for pay, and we know the government doesn't think they are mature enough to decide if they need their own insurance before age 26.
The psychologists speculate about reasons for this major shift in survey claims between Millennials and other generations including more sex education and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, easy access to pornography because of technology, or perhaps even differences in defining what sexual activity is and is not - oral sex is not, as President Bill Clinton insisted.