Sex frequency has been decreasing in young adults—even before the pandemic

A new study on sex frequency in young people is revealing some unexpected findings

Couple having sex
(Image credit: Image credit: Getty Images)

As it turns out, multiple generations are experiencing a sex slump. 

Even though COVID has negatively impacted dating and we've been wary of touching as a result, findings indicate that intimacy had been decreasing before the pandemic even began. 

A recent study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior (opens in new tab) uncovers that this surprising dip has taken place between 2009 to 2018 in the U.S. and other countries, particularly among older adults and young adults (ages 14 to 49). This includes both solo and partner play. 

Although the professionals behind the research will insist that regular sexual activity is necessary—orgasms do boost the immune system, relieve menstrual cramps and improve skincare, after all—the results were not quite what they predicted. 

What's the reason? Some say the increase in internet usage is behind the lag, while others think people identifying themselves beyond gender-binary terms could play a part. Then, some of the researchers tap into the question of the participants' honesty.

Another separate study indicates that emotional closeness is the strongest fuel for sexual desire, and perhaps that's simply lacking? Whatever the case may be, there's certainly a strong push for a healthy sex life.



How to healthily up your sex frequency:

1. Include sex in your wellness routine

2022 wellness routines go beyond spa nights and facials. Now, the experts say solo sex should play a part in your activities. 

"Female masturbation is becoming far more openly talked about and is becoming widely recognized as a type of self-care," says Nina Julia, a wellness expert at CFAH (opens in new tab). "A great place to start is spending some time getting to know yourself and exploring what feels good to you."

Exploring different types of vibrators might do the trick. 

2. Talk about sex with a partner

Talking about sex could be the key for both parties to experience exactly what they're looking for. This is the type of communication that brings couples closer together and makes the act more pleasurable. 

3. Incorporate sex into your morning routine

If you thought yoga was a good way to kickstart your day, why not try something a bit friskier? 

Morning sex has its perks: it relieves stress, and it's a mood booster. Plus, estrogen levels are at a high first thing in the am, which increases libido. 

Who said steamy sessions in bed were reserved for the night? 

4. Dispel any notions

How long should sex last? How often should you have sex? What's the right and wrong thing to do? 

Forget anything you think you should be doing—all that matters is that you and your partner are comfortable and happy. 

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)