Why everyone's having less sex

Zoe Strimpel, Myriam François and Louise Perry debate the past, present and future of sex

In an age seemingly dominated by hook-up culture and dating apps, it seems rather bizarre to speak of the decline of sex. Yet statistics overwhelmingly show that we are having less sex; a trend most prevalent amongst the younger generation. But what explains this phenomenon? And is the decline in sex necessarily a cause for concern? At HowTheLightGetsIn festival London 2022, Zoe Strimpel, Myriam François and Louise Perry debated the paradox of sexual liberation.


We are more open about sex than ever before. No topic too outrageous to discuss. No concern too personal to share. The sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s opened the floodgates for a new culture of sexual plenty, and in many ways we have never been more liberated. Yet at the same time, surveys paint a surprising picture of the current state of sex. In the US, the number of people having no sex in the last decade has risen by over 20%. [1]

So how do we make sense of this jarring paradox?

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David Simpson 10 December 2022

It seems to me there are 2 drivers here.
1) internet sex is purely functional - here is a sexually arousing image - be stimulated and satisfied, job done
2) I’ve just met someone I’m attracted to. Now I have to invest a lifetime in that person.
It’s a no brainer - I’ll tend to pick option 1, cos it’s easier, lower cost.