There are many things that define a generation. As much as people try to put an age on it, it is mostly defined by behavior, especially their social behavior. How many older people complain about a disconnect in society due to a lack of face to face interactions? How many people complain about an entitled nature or how easy someone has it? This Generation Y, as in “Y do they exist?” is often defined by technology. The years which people debate as the rise of Generation Y span the invention of the Personal Computer and reach all the way to the first iPhone. While social behavior is often what defines a generation, it is something that is, possibly even more than social behavior, or at least a huge part of what dictates that social behavior, connected with the technology available to them. The use of the smartphone, the addiction to video games, the fake social behavior of social media, and of course the hookup culture defined by apps like Tinder are all stereotypes of millennial culture, but is any of it true?
Is it a fact that millennials are not interested in relationships? Are we just diving into a culture where the only relationships that have face to face interactions, depending on how you do it, are for physical pleasure? Well, the thing about millennials and their access to and development of the internet allow us to dive into the facts and find the truth, not that that has ever mattered to anyone anyways.
One of the things people point to is a later age of marriage. How often do you have a family member begging you to get married so they can push you off to the in-laws’ house or for you to have a baby so they can try and fix the kinks they weren’t able to with you? It’s because things have changed over time. What was a 20-year-old average age for marriage in the ’50s turned into an average age of 22 and 24 in the 1980s and 1990s? Now the average age of marriage is 28. And that is not a bad thing. Technology doesn’t just change our social lives, but our physical lives as well. People are living longer and healthier lives, and are able to devote more time to both their single and married lives. And both are probably better for it.
Divorce is hard. Any break up is hard, but bringing the law, as well as finances and sometimes children, makes it significantly tougher. And yet it almost seems a staple of culture, doesn’t it? Divorce rates were rumored to break the 50% mark and with the Kardashians getting married and divorced in the same day, it seems like the event of the wedding and maybe a honeymoon is all people want. The facts say otherwise though. In the ’90s nearly 5 of every 1,000 people got divorced while today that number is less than 3 people for every 1,000. But does this point to the hookup culture that your old next door neighbor accuses you of?
Divorce is not the only thing that is decreasing. Charts show that people are less likely to have sex earlier, and even that sex in total for the United States, and other countries, is decreasing. Despite the ease of access to sex with hookup sites, despite the growing sexual culture, despite the fact that you can cut out that awkward question of sex and know if someone wants to have it just based on what app your using, people are having less sex.
Tinder has run several of their own studies that not only say that Tinder users are having the same amount of sex as offline people, but that tinder users are more likely looking for a committed relationship than people who are not online. In fact, Tinder users are more likely to find and stay in a committed relationship than people who find relationships in person.
So is Generation Y really the hookup generation. Despite what your neighbor may yell from his porch rocking chair, the evidence says no. Sex on easily accessed TV, easy and free access to pornography, apps and sites that allow people looking for sex to easily find and meet for sex, all of this content and technology at the tips of our fingers, and sex as a whole is becoming a less frequent thing. Divorce is down, committed relationships are up, and it may be for the reason that people believe that millennials only want to hook up.
Sex is an uncomfortable subject and one that is made significantly worse by a conversation with someone who you’re related to. Now that there is information on it everyone, both for the good and the bad, people learn earlier and are more educated about it. There is no one-sided conversation with missing information, no questions left unanswered, and that is not always a good thing. People are more ready to handle the world with more information and sex is no exception.
Generation Y is not having more sex, they are just more ready for when it cums.