“Each generation thinks it invented sex,” science fiction author Robert Heinlein famously claimed.
A corollary to that oft-quoted maxim is each generation assumes the subsequent one is having raucous sexual encounters with lots of attractive, sweaty strangers in unimaginable ways.
It may be a sign of the changing definition of them.”Twenge points out that among American adults who say they have had casual sex in the past year, the percent who said they had “sex with an acquaintance” in the last year jumped from 30.7 percent in data collected 2005-2009 to 41.2 percent in data collected 2010-2012.
“For most people, that [the question] probably includes anal and vaginal sex.
It may not include oral sex.”“In our culture, there was a time when the president suggested that oral sex wasn’t sex, and that is still with us, to some degree,” psychologist Geoffrey Michaelson told ABC News in 2012. But she ultimately believes that millennials may be reining in the number of sexual partners.
However, she adds that based on this specific set of data “it looks more like acquaintances with benefits.”Another element that may obscure the millennial sexual landscape is how we define “sex.” The General Social Survey asks how many partners respondents had sex with, but the generation that grew up with the Lewinsky scandal blasting into our living rooms knows the answer to that question isn’t so simple.“It doesn’t specify what kind of sex.
It’s the Bill Clinton question,” Twenge says with a bit of a laugh.