Study Reveals Millennials Have Fewer Sex Partners Than Their Parents Did

A psychology professor at San Diego State University has analyzed data from 33,000 U.S. adults about their sexual behaviors, based on surveys conducted between 1972 and 2012, and has come up with some surprising findings.

According to Professor Jean Twenge’s study, despite the rise in popularity of hookup apps and culture, millennials are actually having sex with fewer partners than their parents did.

Americans born in the “Greatest Generation,” born between roughly 1901 and 1924, slept with an estimated average of three partners during adulthood. Baby Boomers averaged about 11 partners and Generation X had an average of 10 partners.

Millennials, the Generation of Tinder and Grindr, has an average of just eight partners.


Twenge says one possible explanation for the surprising results is that Millennials may actually be having “sex within a smaller circle of people,” and not doing the serious dating that might actually lead to more partners.

Washington Post adds:

Millennials also tend to become sexually active later than Gen X. Between 2006 and 2008, 11 percent of teenage girls and 14 percent of teenage boys reported having sex before age 15 — compared to 19 percent and 21 percent in 1995, when Gen Xers would be coming of age, the Guttmacher Institute found.

The reasons that millennials may be delaying sex could be practical, Twenge said. Today’s young people are generally aware of risks of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, thanks to sex education and the Internet. Recent CDC data suggest there are more than 110 million total STIs among American men and women.

“Millennials are more accepting of premarital sex than any previous generation, yet have had fewer sexual partners than GenX’ers. This is consistent with their image as a tolerant, individualistic generation accepting others’ choices and making their own,” Twenge said. “The majority of Americans now believe there’s nothing wrong with sex before marriage.”

Oh yeah, one last thing! Twenge says that teaching abstinence in schools “seems increasingly untenable.”