The Young and the Sexless

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 4 2011 2:04 PM

The Young and the Sexless

There’s surprising news out that kids these days are having less sex. (Those crazy kids are always confounding our expectations!) I have a feeling this news clashes with our impression of reality for the same reason we have the sense that crime rates are rising when they’re not . We believe our guts over statistics, and guts are influenced by anecdotal information and unscientific impressions.

The extreme hotness of our extremely young starlets – not to mention the books about how hook-up culture winds up (literally and figuratively) screwing girls – contributes to a sense that everyone between the ages of 15 and 24 is having sex all the time. In fact, according to the National Survey of Family Growth, within that age group "29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever - up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002," reports the Washington Post .


The random sample of more than 13,000 teenage to middle-age Americans suggests Americans in general are conducting themselves with a great deal of freedom in the bedroom. Lots of oral sex, a good deal of anal sex ( this should not surprise us ), and, among those 18 to 44, nearly one in 10 self-described straight women experimenting with same-sex partners. In other words, there appears to be more choice in every direction – to choose to do things, or not to do things, or to wait just a little longer before making that call.

Libby Copeland is a writer in New York and a regular Slate contributor. She was previously a Washington Post reporter and editor for 11 years. She can be reached at


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