Ingeborg van Teeseling

Men Are Having Less Sex … This Is Why

According to numerous sources, more men are having less sex. The reasons why are a matter of discussion.


The Washington Post recently published some alarming news: In the U.S., more people than ever were not having sex. Especially men under 30 were doing it tough. In ten years, the percentage of them reporting no action under the sheets at all had almost tripled, from 10 percent in 2008 to 28 percent in 2018. With women, it had also grown. Doubled, in fact, from 9 to 18%. But young men were clearly missing out more than women. Because even if they were doing it, they were doing it less often. Most disturbing was that the share of men under 30 who reported zero female sex partners since they turned 18 had grown from 7% in 1989, 8% in 2008, to 27% in 2018. Journalist Christopher Ingraham spoke to the researcher responsible for the General Social Survey that produced these numbers and asked her, of course, what was going on. According to Jean Twenge, there were a number of reasons. First of all, the participation of young males in the workforce has fallen. And “less work = less relationships = less sex.” 54% of unemployed Americans don’t have a steady partner, compared with 32% of the employed. Secondly, men in that age group are “more likely to live with their parents, which presents obvious barriers to having sex.”

Worried, I had a look at whether the “Great American Sex Drought” was a local affliction, or if it could be seen around the world. After a day of researching, what I can say is that most of us are apparently doing it less and less. A 2014 Australian study of Health and Relationships found that people in heterosexual relationships have sex 1.4 times a week, down from 1.8 in 2003. 14.6% of the people interviewed had had no sex at all in the month before. Here, researchers blamed the drought on the “intrusion of individually consumed media … people take their laptops and smartphones to bed” instead of each other, and that, of course, works not as well, sex-wise. Another, more recent, a bit of research showed that 1 in 2 Australian men experience sexual difficulties, although almost opposite ones: 37% climaxes too quickly, 17% lacks interest in sex altogether.

So, what on earth is going on? With sex in general, but men and sex in particular?

Of course, the famous incels, the involuntary celibates who clutter up the internet, are blaming it, as writer Phil Barker recently wrote, on “the perfumed evil of testosterone-sapping feminism.” They believe that “the average guy has no chance of being chosen by a woman for sex,” because those horrible females “only want sex with alpha males.” To Barker, this sounds like a “self-perpetuating cycle”: you sit at home at your computer all day, playing video games and watching porn. And then your complaint is that fabulous women are not beating your door down to have great porn-like sex. It is a strange kind of reasoning, but also very dangerous, because it makes men “angry. Too angry. Someone’s going to get hurt.” And that shows, because men kill women. In their relationships, in the world. “Some men believe that everything bad in their lives” is because of feminism, which “has robbed them of a basic human right: sex.” And therefore, what they see as revenge is acceptable.

Obviously, this group is the first one that is, I guess (and hope), having less sex now than they were.

Leaving the crazies to one side for a moment, Barker also points to what he calls the “Man box,” that contains everything a “real man” has to be and cannot be. You know the drill: don’t cry, don’t touch. “Talking trash about women is a prerequisite of membership of the Man Box,” so maybe being in a relationship (which is often, I would say, the prerequisite of sex) is a no-no. Especially now, when women and girls are overtaking men and boys in just about everything. According to the Man Box, men have to be on top, and this generation of girls (and more and more women) don’t mind a little bit of that themselves, thank you very much. So that might be the second reason especially young men aren’t getting any. Reason three, according to Barker and psychologists Steve Biddulph (in Australia) and Philip Zimbardo (in the United States) is the lack of male role models, especially fathers. As Biddulph wrote: “If you want to be loved, you have to see the opposite sex as people, empathize with them and care about them,” which is something that men learn from their fathers. Unfortunately, a lot of those “elders are absent and men do not step up,” so good manhood is not taught. In the U.S., 41% of women with children are single mothers. That, Zimbardo says, means a lot of fatherless boys. And even if they are there: the average father talks to his son 30 minutes a week. A week! That is not nearly enough to show them how to behave in a way that catches a mate, not drives them away.

According to Zimbardo, there are a few other reasons why young men don’t usually present as prime sexual partners. Because society mostly tells them what not to do, but not what they should do, boys and young men are confused. This makes them withdraw into the safety of their own bedrooms (and seeing that they are 25% more likely to live permanently with their parents now, they don’t even have to get out of that room to make money to pay for it). There, they watch a lot of porn and play a lot of video games. Thirteen hours a week on average, apparently. In fact, American research has shown that by the time they turn 21, boys have spent 10,000 hours playing online games. Had they gone to school, they could have obtained two BA degrees in the same time frame. Which is what girls are doing, who are now, as a consequence, topping the boys in education everywhere. Obviously, those games also do other things: they normalize violence and domination, and have clear goals that can be reached. They are safe, unlike the outside world, especially that of (sexual) relationships. And the porn has not only introduced them to completely nutty male/female connections, it has also given them something called “porn induced erectile dysfunction.” Apart from that, sitting on their bum all day has made them fat (70% of U.S. males are obese) and reduced both their libido and their testosterone levels. Charming. But not helpful in real-life mating. Just asking: isn’t it time we did something?


Ingeborg van Teeseling

After migrating to Australia from Holland ten years ago and being warned by the Immigration Department against doing her job as a journalist, Ingeborg van Teeseling became a historian instead. She is writing a book and runs Lifebooks, telling people's life stories.

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One Comment;

  1. Max Sedanka said:

    Porn and video games existed in 1988, 1998, and 2008, yet men in each of those times had a lot more sex. What didn’t exist for the entirety of those times was social media and Tinder. As women have gained more financial upward mobility (which is a good thing), that means some of that had to be taken from someplace. Those places were once held by men, men lost those places and are now displaced, and these are the results.

    With greater upward mobility comes an increase in wants. When women could not provide for themselves as well, a man of average means was more attractive because he could provide a better life than a woman could on her own. Now, that same man is invisible because he is not needed by the average woman any longer. So this leaves women to choose partners based solely on physical attraction rather than sensible needs, and this is where the crescendo hits.

    Tinder is where women under 30 (and some over 30) go to find men to mate with, and for women this is an easy endeavor. For the average man, not so. Men who are not 6 feet tall have little chance on dating apps. Men who aren’t in great shape have little chance on dating apps. Men who don’t have a conventionally attractive face have little chance on dating apps. Simply being a normal average man of modest success and reasonable attractiveness is no longer enough for the average modern woman. It now takes an extraordinary man to secure an average woman. Now that all of the 80/20 studies and surveys have confirmed how women in this era find so few men attractive, it comes as no surprise why the responses of inceldom, MGTOW and others have come to the surface. There is a large majority of men being ignored by women.

    When people write these articles they always either subtly or not so subtly blame men entirely without looking at the major role women are playing in this whole equation. Understand, the average man is not angry that the most beautiful women are not available to them (this is a myth perpetuated mostly by misandrists and others who aren’t trying to understand), they understand that group of beautiful women was never available to them. The anger from men is coming from the fact that even below average looking and average looking women are practically unattainable to the average man now even when that man is doing well in life and has plenty to offer. 80% of a population cannot be ignored for long before it has dire consequences on the balance of a society. We cannot make women attracted to these men, but women do need to understand that their indifference to their existence is going to contribute to a halting of the progress of our society sooner rather than later. For the top 20% of men, they are experiencing a sexual revolution. For the rest of the 80% of men, they are mostly living a life of confusion, despair and hopelessness, trying to cope and make sense of a society that treats them as if they don’t matter with women that want nothing to do with them outside of scolding them simply for being male.