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Sexual Problems

In her CNN article There's never been a better time to be single, in a section headed "Single people are having more sex than married people.", Bella DePaulo informs us that "according to one of several ways of looking at the data, singles are now having sex more often than married people are." But the article she refers to with a link from having less sex, (Americans Are Having Less Sex Than We Used to, According to a New Study, Lisa Ryan, The Cut, MARCH 7, 2017), states that "Additionally, people who aren’t coupled up tend to have sex half as often as those who are in relationships, according to the study." And the abstract of the survey data DePaulo cites says "This [decline in sexual frequency] was partially due to the higher percentage of unpartnered individuals, who have sex less frequently on average."

Single people are having more sex than married people.

Moving past the teens and on to people 18 and older, the same holds true: Adults are having less sex than they used to. Analyzing survey data collected from more than 26,000 people between 1989 and 2014, researchers found that the average person now has sex around nine fewer times per year than the average person in the early '90s.
But not all groups followed the same sexual trajectory — the drop was especially pronounced for the people who were married or divorced, compared to people who had always been single. In fact, according to one of several ways of looking at the data, singles are now having sex more often than married people are.
- Bella DePaulo, There's never been a better time to be single, CNN, January 5, 2018

According to Psychology Today, Bella DePaula has a PhD from Harvard (1979), and has been described by The Atlantic as “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.”

On top of that, the study found that, in general, people in the U.S. have become “less coupled.” While 66 percent of U.S. adults were living with a partner back in 1986, only 59 percent of them were doing so in 2014. Additionally, people who aren’t coupled up tend to have sex half as often as those who are in relationships, according to the study. The researchers noted that the overall decline in sex could stem from higher incidence of depression, the use of antidepressants that cause sexual dysfunction, a decline in happiness in people age 30 and over, and more access to entertainment and social media.

“Are they less happy and thus having less sex or are they having less sex and therefore less happy? It’s probably some of both,” lead study author Dr. Jean Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of Generation Me, told the Post. “We do know that sexual frequency is linked to marital satisfaction, so overall if you have fewer people having sex you could have people who are less happy and less satisfied with that relationship.”
- Lisa Ryan, Americans Are Having Less Sex Than We Used to, According to a New Study, The Cut, MARCH 7, 2017


In addition, happiness among adults over 30 has declined since 2000 (Twenge, Sherman, & Lyubomirsky,2016a), and more frequent sex is associated with higher levels of well-being and happiness (Blanchflower & Oswald, 2004; Cheng & Smyth, 2015; Michael, Gagnon, Laumann, & Kolata, 1994; Muise, Schimmack, & Impett, 2016). Depressive symptoms are higher in recent generations (Twenge, 2015), and both depression and its pharmaceutical treatments are associated with sexual dysfunctions such as reduced sexual desire and arousability (Atlantis & Sullivan, 2012; Laumann & Waite,2008).The environment contains more estrogen-mimicking compounds, possibly reducing sex drive (at least in animal models: Dickerson & Gore, 2007). Finally, fewer Americans are partnered now compared to in the past. For example, the percentage of Americans aged 18–29 not living with a partner (married or unmarried) increased from 48% in 2005 to 64% in 2014 (Saad, 2015). Given that married people have sex more often on average than unmarried people (e.g., Michael et al., 1994), the decline in the percentage of married (and partnered) individuals may have a major impact on trends in sexual frequency.
Trends in sexual frequency are important given the link between sexual frequency and well-being (e.g., Muise et al., 2016; Wadsworth, 2014). ...
Much of the decline in sexual frequency appears to be due to the reduction in the number of individuals who are married. We found, as others have (e.g., Michael et al., 1994), that married individuals had sex more often than unmarried individuals. In addition, the percentage of Americans who had a steady partner (unmarried or married) decreased from 2006 to 2014, and those with a steady partner had sex about twice as often as those without partners.
- Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A Sherman, Brooke E Wells, Declines in Sexual Frequency among American Adults, 1989–2014, Archives of Sexual Behavior 46(8), March 2017



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