“The impact of new patterns of friendship and courtship facilitated by the economy, 24/7 pornography, smartphones and the Internet” appears to be affecting young men’s ability to have partners and sexual relationships.
While there is an idea in the collective imagination that young men have sex all the time and that if they are single they will have orgies, but research shows a different reality.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that more than 63% of men in the United States under the age of 30 are unmarried, while only 34% of women in their 20s are in the same situation.
What’s more, according to certified couples and family psychologist Greg Matos, new research shows that not only are more young men single, but there are also more young people who are sexually inactive. “The level of sexual intimacy between men and women appears to be at its lowest level in 30 years,” he told Psychology Today.
American youth and teens are having sex less often than previous generations, according to a study by Dr. Debbie Harbenick, published in the Sexual Behavior Archive.
Why do young men have fewer partners and sex?
There are multiple factors that have changed the dynamics of relationships.
Pandemics, pornography and social networks
That’s not the cause of the problem, but the pandemic has exacerbated some of the things that have happened over the years.
COVID-19 confinement has caused ordinary people, especially men, to move away from real-life relationships and turn to virtual worlds.
“People are now spending a lot of their free time on the internet. It results in diminished opportunities,” said sexual psychotherapist Dr. Marty Klein.
In line with these lines, Fred Rabinowitz, a psychologist and masculinity researcher at the University of Redlands, found that after the pandemic, young men were “looking at a lot of social networks and pornography, and they were I think we’re meeting a lot of the needs of people without doing anything.” have to go out. “
In fact, data from the US, UK, Australia and Italy published by Matos revealed that 76% to 87% of men aged 18 to 29 view porn regularly. .
The problem is that research shows that people who watch porn frequently tend to be less satisfied with real-life sex.
“More alarmingly, there is an increase in psychogenic erectile dysfunction (psychological factors), delayed ejaculation, and low libido in men under 40, associated with frequent pornography use,” says Matos. said Mr.
All of this made the dating environment seem very competitive and exhausting compared to the less effort required to consume porn.
“Since young men have fewer opportunities to date to develop real-life intimate skills and abilities, these choices will have lasting impacts on relationships,” says Matos.
Women turned to professional development and raised standards
In this regard, Matos said the previous generation lived through adolescence, when “sexual intimacy was a common pathway to attachment with women actively seeking romantic partners.” I’m here.
“Men can certainly depend on a disproportionate investment in women’s emotional and sexual attachment. , worked in this relationship dynamic,” she explained.
Now, however, women’s priorities have shifted, with women “oriented toward academic, professional and financial goals,” experts said.
And for the same reason, women have higher expectations of starting a relationship because it is no longer a priority.
In this scenario, some men found themselves exposed to rejection and stopped trying, instead improving their social and romantic skills.
For this reason, the psychotherapist’s advice is, first, to “normalize female selectivity” and, second, to work on building relationships in real life.
“It starts with reprioritising close and intimate relationships in your life for your own well-being,” she says.
Many young people live with their parents.
Finally, there is another factor related to the economy. The high cost of living is forcing many young people around the world to continue living with their parents longer than usual.
“This means fewer cohabiting couples, less privacy for couples living with their parents, and less sex. Youth unemployment and underemployment rates are worryingly high. Less money means less courtship, less sex,” Klein said.
As such, Klein summarizes the reasons for young people’s sexlessness as “economic influences, 24/7 pornography, and new patterns of friendship and courtship facilitated by smartphones and the Internet.”