And just like that, no one has sex anymore – but why? | Arwa Mahdawi


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(Not a lot) of sex in town

And just like that, no one has sex anymore. Middle-aged people don’t have much. Young people don’t have much. Japanese people don’t have much. The British or Australians or American. Over the past decade, a number of studies have shown a significant decline in sexual activity worldwide, last example this is a recent study focused on the United States showing declines from 2009 to 2018 in all forms of partner sexual activity and a decrease in masturbation among adolescents. By the way, the researchers looked at self-reported information from government surveys of people aged 14 to 49; it is possible that this is a very different story when it comes to the over 50s.

So what is going on with young people and young people these days? Why is sexual activity decreasing? While the study did not examine in detail possible underlying factors – nor did it examine the effects of the pandemic – two of its authors, Debby Herbenic and Tsung-chieh (Jane) Fu, recently shared their hypotheses with American scientist. The (very technical) summary of the conversation is that a bunch of factors are probably at play. There is of course an increasing use of social media and video games. A decrease in alcohol consumption could be another factor. Perhaps most interesting and disturbing, however, is the researchers’ hypothesis that the integration of extremely brutal sex could lead a generation of young people away from sex altogether.

In recent years, there has been a significant normalization of choking and strangulation during intercourse. Pornography played a big part in this, but women’s magazines and popular culture (50 Shades of Gray, for example) also helped make sex brutal. “plugged”. Hebernick and Fu told Scientific American that choking or strangling during sex “appears to be a majority behavior for college-aged students.” While in many cases this is consensual and appreciated, researchers note that aggressive sex can be intimidating as well. “We don’t know to what extent this may cause some people to withdraw [of sex], but we know that some people are afraid, ”Fu noted. “They could consent to sex, but something like choking could happen without being asked first.” This is not an unreasonable fear: In 2019, the We Can’t Consent to This campaign group noted that over the past decade, 30 women and girls have been killed in what would have been violent sexual activity consensus in the UK. “Rough sex gone bad” has become a disturbing cover for femicide.

To be clear: there is nothing wrong with having rough sex as long as it is truly consensual. What is problematic is when young people learn more about sex through porn and I think violence is part of intimacy. Hebernick and Fu’s observations on the normalization of rough sex echo the comments singer Billie Eilish made last month, about the impacts of watching porn from a young age on her mental health, and how it is. has skewed her expectations of what sex should be like. “The first few times that I… had sex, I didn’t say no to things that weren’t good,” Eilish said in an interview with the Howard Stern Show. “It was because I thought that was what attracted me.”

It’s easy to turn the porn industry, which isn’t exactly known for being too concerned with ethics, into a scapegoat for all that’s wrong in society. But if young people have an unhealthy view of sex, it can’t just be blamed on pornography – it’s also due to a lack of proper sex education. Between 2002 and 2014, the percentage of schools in the United States requiring students to learn about sexuality increased from 67% to 48%. The american government also spent $ 2 billion on abstinence-only programs between 1982 and 2017. If young people learn sex through porn, don’t just blame the porn industry: ask yourself why they don’t get better information elsewhere.

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Scientists recently stuck headphones on a group of dogs, placed them in an MRI scanner and played excerpts from The Little Prince. They then deduced that dogs may be able to tell the difference between speech patterns and can recognize different languages. Good smart boys! No doubt Big Feline already feels threatened by this study and next week we will learn that cats can do algebra.

  • Arwa Mahdawi’s new book, Strong Female Lead, is available to order – and is much better than a jar full of farts or an NFT of Melania’s head


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