Is it just me, or does it seem like older generations love to pick apart the way we run our love lives? It’s like everything about how we date and have sex is “wrong” in their eyes — from our reliance on dating apps to meet people to our alleged affinity for hookup culture — but in reality, how Millennials have sex compared to past generations isn’t wrong… it’s just different.
“I think the sky is the limit for Millennial sex, but the anxieties are no less present,” Hannah Simpson, transgender advocate, writer, and educator & LGBTQ millennial expert, tells Bustle. “We have grown up having instant, stigma-free access to all kinds of sexual information and imagery. Nobody has to face another human being to rent adult videos. With more information, we are more picky with our partners and have higher expectations.”
Since some of us grew up with access to the internet and smartphones in our pockets, the way we learned about sex and relationships is inherently different than past generations. Sure, some of us still got “The Talk” from our parents, but we could also later Google “where is the clitoris” or “what does an orgasm feel like” instead of having to rely on our parents for those intimate details. We’re also a more open, accepting generation, and have grown up with important issues like LGBTQ rights, consent, and sex positivity at the forefront of our minds.
Because of all this, how Millennials have sex is, of course, a little different than how other generations have sex. Here are eight things you need to know about what makes Millennial sex unique, according to surveys and experts.
1. Millennials Have Multiple O’s
Evidently, all that Googling about the clitoris has paid off: according to the 2017 Millennial Sex Survey by SKYN Condoms, 50 percent of men and 44 percent of women have two or more orgasms during one session. It’s not always easy to have multiple orgasms, but Millennials are nothing if not overachievers… even in bed.
2. Millennials Love To Sext
Just like *NSYNC taught us, apparently Millennials have no qualms about digitally getting down. According to the SKYN survey, a whopping 48 percent of Millennials sext at least once per week — but this obsession with digital debauchery also has a dark side: 30 percent of Millennials said they have shared a sexual photo without the subject’s permission (which, it should go without saying, is a major problem).
3. Millennials Are Getting More “In Touch” With Themselves
Compared to SKYN’s sex survey from 2016, masturbation rates among Millennials actually went up in 2017 — meaning that we’re more comfortable than ever getting in touch with ourselves and our sexuality. And in even better news, the reason we’re most likely to masturbate is actually in order to get better at sex, so we can please others and ourselves.
4. Millennials Love Classic Positions
We might be open to experimenting with different kinks and fetishes, but when it comes to our favorite sex positions, we know there’s no harm in sticking to the classics. According to the SKYN survey, Millennials top three go-to sex positions are doggy style, missionary, and cowgirl — aka three tried-and-true positions guaranteed to get the job done.
5. Millennials Have Sex Less Frequently
Even though some might assume that Millennials are all hookup-driven and sex-crazed, the truth is that hookup culture isn’t as prevalent as you might think. In fact, Millennials are actually having less sex than previous generations.
“There is debate as to why [Millennials] have sex less frequently,” Nicole Prause, PhD, Sex Scientist at Liberos Center, tells Bustle. “Data so far suggest that the quality of the sex tends to be higher, so that people are less likely to consent when they do not really want sex. This is consistent with increased egalitarianism, where women are feeling less likely to have sex just to be attractive to a male partner.”
6. Millennials Feel More Pressure To Perform
One drawback to being a Millennial? In all areas of our lives, including our sex lives, we feel an enormous pressure to perform, and that can cause us to set our expectations around sex too high. “Millennials seem to have tremendous pressure to ‘perform’ at a high level,” Prause says. A prime example? Perhaps due in part to Millennials seeing all kinds of male-enhancement ads while growing up, Prause says, there’s the unrealistic expectation that the penis should always be completely erect during sex — which might play a part in the “gross over-diagnosis” of erectile dysfunction in that age bracket.
“There also is evidence that men tend to judge their own masculinity based on whether or not a female partner experiences an orgasm, which creates tremendous pressure on the female partner to perform,” Prause says.
7. Millennials Don’t View Genitals As The Extent Of Someone’s Being
When it comes to issues of gender and sexuality, Millennials know that not everything is black-and-white: we have a much more open, broad perspective of what gender is, and how it does (and does not) intersect with sex.
“A person’s genitals are not the entire extent of their being,” Simpson says. “There are lots more toys out there, lots more comfort using them, and lots more ways to buy them discretely. This makes kink easier, but also helps people who are LGBTQ, and especially trans and non-binary, to express themselves more authentically.”
8. Millennials Think Consent Is Sexy
Of course, we have a ways to go before everyone understands the the importance of (and definition) of consent, but recent movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp make it clear just how passionate many Millennials (and other generations, too, of course) are about making sure that no one, regardless of gender, is forced into a sexual act without their consent.
“Consent is absolutely huge [for Millennials], but we are also more wary of being taken advantage of too,” Simpson says.
Like past generations, we might not have all the answers, but Millennials are working towards having healthier, happier sexual and romantic relationships — and we know that the only way to get there is through being open, honest, and accepting of everyone, no matter their sexual preferences or habits.