The Sex Recession

The number of Americans not having sex has reached a record high. Similar declines in sexual activity have been documented in Britain and Japan. Young men are driving this recession—whether willingly or not. In the US, fewer young men than women reported having sex in 2018. In Japan, many herbivore men seem to be avoiding sex altogether. People in sexually liberated, first world countries have lost interest in sex and it is men who are driving the trend. So what is really causing the sex recession and is there cause for alarm?

The Role of Free Pornography

Back in the pre-Internet days, men would buy dirty magazines or rent pornographic movies. Nowadays, the Internet allows easy access to free pornography. Some argue that many men are not motivated to approach women, since porn already covers their sexual needs, and that men prefer masturbation over the effort required to approach women. However, while porn addiction can be a real problem, the evidence that porn is driving the sex recession is weak. Studies  suggest that people who watch more porn also have sex more often.

Social Media

Social media was supposed to make communication easier, but some believe that it has had the opposite effect, making us more isolated than ever. Social media usage has been linked to increased loneliness and people who grew up using social media a lot may have worse social skills than those who focused on face-to-face relationships. For example, this study found that children who spent some days away from screens showed improved understanding of emotional cues, compared to a control group. Social media and Internet use may hinder the development of in-person relationships and this may have in turn led to a decline in sex.

Economic Factors

Young people are struggling with unemployment and debt. Many live with their parents until their 30s. If they cannot afford to live alone, how can they have sex? If they’re struggling with student debts, how can they perform well in the dating world?

If you still live your parents, you’re probably less willing to invite a partner to spend the night at your house. However, this doesn’t explain why countries like Greece, Brazil and Mexico are very sexually active. If a better economy were linked to greater sexual activity, Greece, with its economic troubles, would be among the least sexually active countries. Research suggests the opposite. Several countries that face economic difficulties are among the most sexually active. The sex recession is more prevalent in wealthy countries like Japan, Australia, the US and the UK.

Unmarriageable Men

It is often argued that many working-class men have become unmarriageable because of job instability and because women tend to be better educated than them. According to this argument, many women refuse to date people who make less money than they do and many men refuse to date women whom they feel to be superior. According to one study, rich women prefer men with similar incomes to their own, while rich men are less likely to care about the income of those they date, focusing instead on physical appearance. Women are also more likely than men to say they want a spouse with a steady job. Many men seem unwilling to date women with successful careers.

These trends create a class of unmarriageable men, who, even if they get married, are more likely to divorce than those from wealthier backgrounds. Since some evidence suggests that married people have sex more often than the unmarried, marriage instability may be contributing to the sex recession. Working class men may also be considered less desirable sexual partners in general, which could explain why fewer men than women report having sex in the US. Some evidence suggests that men with high social status are more desirable to women. A study from 2014 found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated as more attractive than those in a control group. Another study found that men with luxury cars were perceived as more attractive than those without them.

Men Are Afraid to Approach Women

Some argue that #MeToo and other anti-sexual harassment campaigns discourage men from approaching women. Socially awkward men have trouble understanding the difference between being flirty and being creepy, so they don’t approach women at all. The sex recession started years before the #MeToo movement. However, many men are reluctant to approach women. Many young men genuinely struggle with social interactions—and the prevalence of social media might be making things worse. There is very little guidance for socially awkward men, who want to become more successful in the dating world. Politically correct advice like just be yourself or appearances don’t matter is not particularly helpful to them.

Is the Decline in Sexual Activity a Problem?

According to some, there is no reason for concern. Maybe millennials just have higher standards. Maybe sex is just not important to people anymore. On the other hand, many experts believe that sex can make people happier and reduce their anxiety. According to various studies, people who have more sex report a better quality of life. The decline in sex may be linked to the rising rates of depression among millennials and among Americans in general. Similar trends have been documented in the UK.

A class of sexless, single men may not be good for society. Jordan Peterson advocates culturally enforced monogamy. For Peterson, the increasing number of incels could prove disastrous for society, since male celibacy has been linked to increased criminal activity. Many disagree with Peterson’s idea that societal pressures should limit the sexual choices of women. However, multiple mass murders have already been linked to the incel ideology and even ISIS appears to have used the promise of marriage to recruit sexually frustrated men.

This sociological phenomenon requires further research. There are many reasons for concern. A decline in sex could mean a decline in social contact. And our social relations humanizes us. They are vital to our well-being.

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  1. I would think that all of these factors would contribute to a societal reduction in sexual intercourse. Men are failing more academically and becoming less successful and less desirable to women, who at the same time are becoming more successful and thus narrowing the field of men that they would be willing to date. Meanwhile, men are taught that our sexual desire is toxic and that being sexually assertive is abusive, and we have access to unlimited pornography online. Not exactly surprising that men are checking out of the romantic scene, or that women are less interested in us. It’s just not worth it to try.

  2. You only need to read the title o know this total bullshill; they sell women’s panties (used) in vending machines in Japan.
    How can we know the truth about sex? All the orifices of the body are internal/external component. The question about
    sex is why it feels so amazing for seconds. What is that about, and how did that come into evolution? That’s what I want
    to know about sex!

    listen together

    After reading that, one wonders about 300 million years of EVOLUTION; and, what about the evolition of feeling good,
    you know, liberty, happiness… go read the debt section in American Theocracy.

  3. Naturally, you blame everything but the real cause: the self-centered, entitled, misandric attitude of too many women and their deep-seated belief men are always to be treated as a means and never as an end.

  4. every notice how every psychiatric medication lists decline in libido, and how every one is being prescribed psychiatric meds for the serious mental condition of not feeling happy all the time? could this also be a factor?

  5. The ubiquitous portayal of men as dangerous sexual predators and women as helpless victims coupled to the one side treatment of men accused of anything by a woman and the elastic and ever expanding definition of ‘innapropriate behaviour’ has made men especially nervous inexperience dmen understandbly cautious. Women have been educated to be unreasonably demanding unsupportive and intolerant.

    Any approach a man makes to a woman, and it is still men that are expected to initiate any relationship, risks being met with abuse, ridicule and perhaps worse, an accusation of sexual harassment however unfounded is a life destroying event.

    Women are all to often toxicly demanding and have unreasonable utopian expectations. When these are not met they can leave acrimoniously and when they do have the backing of society to destroy the man financially and if they chose to do so reputationally and with false accusatiosn criminally.

    It is a dangerous time to be a man. The best advice is to be very careful who you approach and form a long term relationship with. Those with a ‘traditional’ outlook are much safer especially if they were not born in a western country.

    Given the dangers and disincentives then the results are not surprising.

  6. Used to be that a guy could get laid, accidentally impregnate the female, have a “shotgun” wedding, and 5 years later watch as his now ex-wife takes the house, the kids, and 1/2 of his paycheck in alimony and child support. Now a guy can have his life ruined in one night because she decides the next day that she had too much to drink and wasn’t able to “give consent”.

    I suppose bypassing the 5 year investment in building a family and her wellbeing and going straight to completely screwed might be a step forward. Hmmm…never thought of it that way…that’s definitely a plus. Anyway, moving on.

    When confronted with the option of free porn, in ANY flavor you might desire, and one or both of the aforementioned scenarios, is it any wonder guys aren’t that excited to have sex? I mean really…sex (at least the sex that most men are able to get) isn’t THAT amazing. Honestly, it’s kinda lame, sweaty, unfulfilling, and expensive. In it’s best incarnation, sex is kinda like an ice cream cone – nice but I could live without it…plus, I make better ice cream myself anyway so, meh.

    Guess the ad industry will have to find another way to sell us beer, pickup trucks, and energy drinks. Thank god for that.

    1. “Guess the ad industry will have to find another way to sell us beer, pickup trucks, and energy drinks. ”

      Well, they’ve certainly already tried a novel approach to selling us razors. We’ll see how that works out.

      1. At the end of July P&G wrote down the value of its Gillette brand by $8 billion. Of course, corporate officials didn’t attribute the loss to it’s ad strategy of alienating men.

  7. “For Peterson, the increasing number of incels could prove disastrous for society”
    Not sure it’s helpful to adopt the loaded term “incel” here.

    1. Indeed.

      And linking to far-left websites such as Vox, HuffPost, and the NYT isn’t helpful. We all know what the far-left think of men and traditional masculinity in general. I wouldn’t waste my time — reading this article was bad enough — reading anything about men in the mainstream media. The MSM is completely and utterly corrupted by feminist nonsense.

      As usual, the article plays the “there’s something wrong with men” card rather than looking at the other side, too. We can’t have a conversation about biological sex in the West without denigrating men and pretending women are morally virtuous.

      The comments are far more on the money than the article. No real surprise. People are so easily fooled, it’d seem (see Brexit, Trump, ScoMo).

  8. I doubt the veracity of these sorts of surveys, all of which are certainly recent. We do not have data on how many people were having sex in the pre-civil war era, or during the Great Depression. So the basic assumption that people are having less sex than in the past is questionable, maybe even laughable.

    Yet — Even if we assume all this has merit, so what?

    What is the proper level of sex for a population of 300+ million different people? Who decides such a thing?

    If we imagine the point and purpose of sex is simply for personal gratification, than the fact that many people finding are gratification in other (probably simpler) ways is their choice and should not be considered a sociological problem. Their life may be improved!

    If we imagine the point of sex is procreation, we also have no problem – as we seem to have no problem at all in this area since populations of most nations are still growing.

    The idea that declining sexual activity may lead to crimes is also laughable speculation. Most of the information I read indicates crime has been declining in the developed nations over the past two decades. So the idea that increasing celibacy leads to criminality seems also completely unfounded.

    To me this entire subject seem to be little more than a prurient and salacious fantasy.

    It’s fun to talk about sex under any pretext, even if we have to invent them.

    But we should eventually move on to a more serious (if less enjoyable) subject.

    1. Sex is a proxy crude as it may be for social connectivity. The fact is it’s men who naturally have a much higher sex drive (sorry feminist but that is basic science) and yet it is men who are the ones engaging in less sex. This, of course, seems counterintuitive to what we would expect and certainly demands an examination as to the possible causes. I tend to think it’s part of a larger phenomenon of a breakdown in our social fabric as liberalism reaches it’s final perfected state of radical individualism.

  9. Women wanted to feminize men. They hated the aggressive alpha male football player type. So they reshaped society to shame the football player and praise the weak soyboy type of man.

    It worked. What are women complaining about?

  10. SOY….That’s the problem..They put soy in everything and it’s diminishing testosterone in males and turning men into man bun, skinny jean soy boys who can’t get a boner. Women on the other hand need to be stimulated into wanting sex and now with men having abdicated that role that duty now falls on the back of purple haired pierced and tattooed carpet muncher lesbo’s, so the whole gene pool is in danger..

  11. I get the sense that many women don’t really care to be looked at or flirted with anymore – not that I am or have ever really been particularly outgoing in that sense, but more than ever, people, maybe men too, seem to be glazed over, disinterested, bored and possibly resentful and suspicious. Occasionally I get the sneaking feeling that I’ve been consciously looked through like when you blur over an object to focus on something behind it. Who can say if any of this is accurate but there was a time not too long ago when men and women actually engaged with each other. Doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Who knows!?

    1. I work in a grocery store, I can attest to both glazing, and being glazed at. today a young woman took a tight corner at high speed into the aisle I was working in, and almost ran right into me from behind before she stopped herself. instead of thinking “damn woman, watch where you’re going!” (and I dare not even think of harboring a “hey there! what’s the hurry?”) I thought only “oh boy, I sure do hope she knows I couldn’t see her when the back of my hand grazed her hip…”

  12. Thank you very much, dear Maria!
    Although I am already familiar with this topic, your blog is really interesting and, most importantly, you are not trying to teach us.
    Best wishes!

  13. ‘The difference between being flirty and being creepy’: there is no objective difference, and the #MeToo mob is not interested in any difference, on the contrary, they like shaming male sexuality without any nuance. ‘Years before the #MeToo movement’; no doubt, so did the shaming, #MeToo was just the culmination of it.

  14. Personally speaking I have plenty of reasons (excuses) why I (a single 28 Yom) don’t want to date. Some of them are listed here. Porn is a easy option. Social media makes me want to limit all my human interactions, both on and offline. I have some money, but only because I live with my parents and save it. If I moved out on own, I’d have nothing. #MeToo makes me feel like it is inappropriate to even look at a woman, much less talk to one.

    I am overweight and not attractive, which makes me less desirable to others. And trying to find someone willing to look past that is a tiresome process.

    I am an introvert, so just talking to my friends is mentally exhausting, much less random strangers. And online dating is a major pain.

    Between a long commute, working a full-time job, and grad school I don’t have time or mental energy to commit to stressful activities like dating.

    Dating is just a massive pain and time commitment, with limited benefits, so why even bother?


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