Percentage Of Americans Not Having Sex Reaches Record High—And Most Of Them Are Young Men

The share of U.S. adults reporting no sex in the past year reached an all-time high in 2018, underscoring a three-decade trend line marked by an aging population and higher numbers of unattached people.

But among the 23 percent of adults — or nearly 1 in 4 — who spent the year in a celibate state, a much larger than expected number of them were twentysomething men, according to the latest data from the General Social Survey.

Experts who study Americans’ bedroom habits say there are a number of factors driving the Great American Sex Drought. Age is one of them: The 60 and older demographic climbed from 18 percent of the population in 1996 to 26 percent in 2018, according to the survey. The share reporting no sex has consistently hovered around 50 percent, and because that age group is growing relative to everyone else, it has the net effect of reducing the overall population’s likelihood of having sex.

But changes at the other end of the age spectrum may be playing an even bigger role. The portion of Americans 18 to 29 reporting no sex in the past year more than doubled between 2008 and 2018, to 23 percent.

“There are more people in their twenties who don’t have a live-in partner,” she said. “So under those circumstances I think less sex is going to happen.”

Americans in their 30s, 40s and beyond, meanwhile, are much more likely to be married than those in their 20s. These age groups are now considerably more likely to have sex in a given year than their younger peers.
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