The Misunderstood Millennial

A Slew of Bullshit Studies Prove Nothing About Millennials

By Ryann Casey


Everybody is obsessed with every move millennials make. What we eat, what we wear, what apps we use, how we’re dating, if we’re dating, and now our sex habits. Older generations fixate on deeming this generation as self-absorbed slackers who never leave home, leech off our parents and prefer virtual realities to any real human connection. It’s increasingly difficult to imagine any intergenerational interactions without judgement or negative comparisons filled with “when I was your age…”


The fascination with a younger generation and proving how they’re “wrong” compared to your own age group is typical if understandable, but two recent studies are to blame for the newfound obsession and misjudgments surrounding our generation’s sexual habits.

sex partners

One of these studies, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, claims that millennials are having much less sex than expected, especially in comparison to their predecessors of previous generations. Among 20–24 year olds, more than twice as many Millennials, born in the 1990’s, had no sexual partners since age 18 compared to Gen Xer’s, born in the 1960’s. While that comparison sounds astonishing, in actuality it only adds up to 15% of millennials compared to 6% of our parents’ generation, so 85% of our generation is still currently sexually active. The average number of sexual partners millennials have is 8, down from 10 of our parents’ generation and 11 of our grandparents.


The other study, published in Eater’s Digest, claims that 54% of millennials believe that eating can be as pleasurable as sex, with 35% agreeing that they would choose “an excellent dinner at a restaurant” over sex! Again, claims that sound unbelievable until compared to other generations answers. In the same study, 49% of Gen Xer’s and 42% of Baby Boomers agreed that food can be as pleasurable as sex, with 30% of Gen Xer’s and 35% of Baby Boomers claiming they would choose a nice dinner over sex. So in reality grandma was just as willing to leave the bedroom to fine dine at our age as we are.

Aside from the numbers being misleading, times are completely different now than in our parents and grandparents generations. It makes sense that more Gen Xer’s and Baby Boomers were sexually active during their early 20’s because most of them were married by that point! The situational differences between generations are paramount, making a study that compares two age groups who overwhelmingly lead completely different lives meaningless.


The real implications of these sex studies are positive, and delaying sex isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being intentional about our sex lives can lead to stronger relationships down the road. Women’s roles have changed, teen pregnancy has plummeted to a historic low, and we have access to reliable birth control. Women feel more empowered to say no. Our generation is extremely accepting of consensual sex, but we are far less accepting of pressured sex.


Millennials are also the most highly educated U.S. generation with the largest increase in women attending college and attaining degrees. We’re getting married later which delays family formation, but even with marriage rates dropping among young adults, 90% of them will go on to marry later in life.

Better sex education makes millennials more knowledgeable, we’re more ambitious in careers and more cautious in relationships. Many millennials are so selective because they come from single parent homes or have divorced parents, so want to avoid getting divorced themselves. We view marriage and sex as attachment and we fear being attached before we’re ready.


We’re products of divorce, so we’re not jumping into anything serious. We’re afraid of getting hurt and can you blame us? Most of our parents got married and had children at younger ages than we are now, and we see them struggling to find themselves as adults. Our parents (and some grandparents) are going back to school, getting new jobs, and even dating. We’re as much a support system for our parents as they are for us, and we are trying to learn from their mistakes.


We’re not taking longer to grow up, we’re learning about ourselves before we tie ourselves to someone else and take on more responsibility.  We don’t want to crash and burn when we’re older; we want to be sure about our choices. Instead of moving out at a young age to be dependent on a spouse we’re staying home until we can depend on ourselves.


Millennials are very self-centered, as we are constantly told by our parents and grandparents. But if  being self-centered means we are willing to stand up for ourselves and look out for our best interest without being pressured into things or having to rely on others to get us what we want, then I, as I’m sure my fellow millennials would agree, will take the self-centered badge with honor.

Our every action may not be an equal and opposite reaction to our parents failures, but the constant rooting for millennial failure is growing more ridiculous every day. It’s our individualist mentality that keeps us in school, pushes us to be open minded and accepting, and drives us to fulfill our dreams. So say what you want about our generation, we’re too “self-centered” to care what you think anyway.


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