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TUESDAY, March 30, HealthDay News -- Despite being the dating-app generation, young adults are largely saying no to casual sex, and less drinking and more video games are two reasons why, a new study suggests. Surveys in recent years have been finding that compared with past generations, today's young adults are not as interested in "hooking up. The new study is no exception: It found that between and , the of to year-old Americans having casual sex declined.
Among young women, a simultaneous reduction in drinking seemed to explain part of the decline in casual sex. That was a key factor among young men, too. But two other trends also seemed to be interfering with their sexual activity: Online games and living at home with their parents. Alcohol can make sexual encounters more likely, so it makes sense that the decline in drinking was a factor in waning rates of casual sex, Lei said.
What was surprising, Lei said, was the fact that no additional explanations turned up for young women. That was in contrast to young men. Living with parents, meanwhile, put a cramp in some men's style. But the findings bring up a broader question: Do all of these trends -- less drinking, less casual sex, more video games -- reflect a general deterioration of social life among young people? If they are venturing out into the world less often than generations, Lei said, the decline in casual sex may be just one manifestation. These days, Palamar noted, "stimulation can be achieved in a heartbeat from your device, which is right at your fingertips.
Suddenly, sex might not be as interesting as a video or a game. Alcohol and other drugs may suddenly not be as interesting, either. That is not to say that devices and social media are the only culprits. In this study, for instance, the investigators found no evidence that online time explained any part of the decrease in casual sex among young women. And Palamar pointed to another social shift: There is generally less pressure on today's young people to find a soulmate and get married. Much more research is needed to understand all of these trends.
Lei said that if young people are socializing less, at least face-to-face, it's important to know why, and what consequences there could be. Even when it comes to casual sex, it's hard to define the decline as "good" or "bad," according to Lei. On one hand, she said, it could mean fewer unplanned pregnancies and less risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
On the other hand, some young people find no-strings-attached sex to be a positive experience, and part of their social development. In some cases, Lei said, those encounters can serve as a "trial" for a longer-term relationship. The findings, published recently in the journal Socius , are based on surveys of about 2, young adults. Since the study period ended in , Lei said, it's not clear how more recent social shifts -- from the pandemic to the "Me Too" movement -- may be affecting young adults' sexual lives.
All rights reserved. Skip to topic . You are here: Home. Related Reading. Search Our Health Library. Lei said the findings might be surprising to some people. He agreed that the paired declines in drinking and casual sex are no surprise. More information Youth. Request an Appointment. Find a Provider. . Services Family Medicine.
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