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Americans Are Having Less Sex. Here's How To Avoid Being A Statistic.

Folks are having less and less sex. Don't be one of 'em.

Sex

OK. Before we dive into this particular topic, let me just say that 1) a lot of this data was cited before the pandemic (which means that not having sex because of COVID doesn't really fly here) and 2) if you're someone who's having less sex because you're abstinent by choice, believe me, I get it (check out "I've Been Abstinent For 12 Years. Here's How."). Still, because I am a fan of sex, I write A LOT about sex and I work with couples who should be having sex (also check out "What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage"), when I noticed that there was article after article after article that said Americans are having less sex than they've had in quite some time—not only did it pique my curiosity, I knew that I had to share it with y'all. Because sometimes, it's not until something is specifically brought to our attention, that we'll even notice that it very well could personally apply to what we've currently got going on.

Anyway, some folks are calling this coitus valley a sex recession. Others, a sex depression. Either way, let's explore what in the world is going on—or rather, not going on—in so many bedrooms across the country, so that we can make sure that you don't become a statistic (if you don't wanna be).

Who’s Having Less Sex and Why?

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Now, before you assume that the people who are having less sex are your grandparents, let me debunk that myth, right out of the gate. Believe it or not, there is something that's literally known as the 70-year itch. Not only that but a Duke University study revealed that around 20 percent of seniors over the age of 65 said that they are currently having better sex than they ever have in their entire life. Also, according to an AARP study, among those who are between the ages of 45-59, 56 percent said they are gettin' it in at least once a week and 46 percent of those between the ages of 60-70 and 34 percent of people over 70 said the same.

So, who is showin' out on the inaction tip right through here? You might be surprised.

Between June of 2019 and June of 2020, 1 in 3 men between the ages of 18-24 said that, not only had they not had sex during that time, they didn't participate in any sexual activity at all. (Wow.)

Next up. Millennials (those are people who were born between 1981-1996). They are actually the reason why the term "sex recession" was coined. The drop in their sex life went from 62 to 54 times a year, on average.

Then there's married folks. A June 2020 study that was published on The Knot said that 24 percent of the individuals who took part in their survey had sex four times a week before marriage; those same folks dropped down to nine percent after saying "I do", although it should go on record that 62 percent of men and 47 percent of women did wish that they were having sex more often.

So, why aren't these people doing-the-do more often than this? As I dug even deeper, it appears that several factors come into play:

While it would be awesome to put it all on the stress and pressure that come with work demands, guess what? Actually, it's the couples who are the busiest who seem to have sex the most.

Younger folks? It would appear that many are struggling with adulting on a whole 'nother level. In fact, some data says that because so many individuals between the ages of 18-24 are taking longer and longer to live an independent life, it's ultimately taking a toll on their sex life.

I'm not shocked in the least that social media and constant online interaction are doing some real damage. Not only is it causing some people to become overstimulated, many are actually getting used to the idea of solely interacting with other people on their smartphone and laptops instead of engaging in face-to-face interaction. Plus, there are other studies which say that social media can trigger depression-related symptoms, not to mention what always taking in photoshopped and filtered images can do to one's sexual self-confidence.

Don't even get me started on all of the questions I've got about "Americans aren't making enough babies to replace ourselves". It's almost like sex has become so recreational that folks forgot that it is how we populate the earth too (SDMH). Anyway, having less of a desire to have children plays a role in less copulation as well.

For married folks and couples who live together, there's also the sleep divorce thing. This is when couples make the conscious decision to not share the same bed. Some do it because one or both individuals snore. Some do it because they've got different sleep or nighttime patterns overall. Others do it simply to get some "me" time or space. Anyway, it would appear that these are on the rise. While some researchers say it could benefit sex lives overall, other experts think that it is just one more thing that makes sex more…complicated.

And then there's our diet. Aside from how much a lot of us eat sugar, salt and processed foods and all of this can throw our libido way off, 36.5 percent of Americans are considered to be obese while 32.5 percent are considered to be overweight. When we as women fall into this category, it can put our hormones into a tailspin. When men do, it ups their chances for high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.

Gee. When you take all of this into account, it makes more and more sense why less of us are having sex, doesn't it? At the same time, these stats aren't something that you've got to—pardon the pun—lie down and take. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to keep this from becoming an issue in your own home.

5 Tips to Keep Your Sex Life Going Strong

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1. Be intentional about having more sex. Sex doesn't just happen. We have to make it happen. And to make something happen, there has to be a plan. That's why I find it so fascinating that some people frown upon scheduling sex. Why? You get paid on pay day because you go to work at a certain time. You are able to get a lot of things accomplished because you plan them out to happen at a certain time. Don't let these rom-coms fool you—sex oftentimes needs to have a schedule because there are only so many hours in the day as well. Besides, we typically prioritize what matters to us, so if you want to have a healthy sex life, be intentional about having sex. To do so regularly and consistently, sometimes that requires a sex schedule—and then following through with it.

2. Connect emotionally, not just physically. When sex is just a physical matter, it's pretty easy to have sex with pretty much anyone. Know what else? It's also fairly easy to become bored and feel somewhat of a disconnect, even from the act itself. That's why it's important to make sure that you're doing your part to secure an emotional connection with your partner.

Go on dates. Have meaningful conversations. Learn the art of mental foreplay. Cultivate intimacy outside of the bedroom. Laugh together. There are some people I've been in relationships with where, I dug them so much on the mental and emotional tip that sex—including the amount—was never an issue. I was pretty much always down. If you're in a relationship and your sex life is tanking, what's your emotional connection like? The answer to that question can reveal a lot.

3. Unplug more often. There are some studies that say that it's because of social media that cheating is on the rise. Honestly, I think social media addiction is a far bigger relationship culprit because, if you're more interested in what's happening out on these Instagram and Black Twitter streets than what's transpiring in your own life, at the end of the day, that's a problem.

And how do you know if you're addict in this area? If checking social media is the first and last thing that you do every day. If you can't turn your notifications off. If you think you would just die without your phone being in your room at night or you can't even imagine going a weekend without being online. If you're neglecting other priorities to be on social media. Sometimes, we don't realize how attached we are to something until we decide to go without it. If you take out this upcoming weekend to "unplug", you might be floored by, not just how much more free time you've got but how much time you have to do…other things. #wink

4. Take care of your health. Feeling lethargic, to the point where sex totally disinterests you, isn't just some random occurrence. It could be your diet ("So, Here's What Your Diet Says About Your Sex Life"). It could be that your sleep patterns are all over the place. It could be that your hormone levels are imbalanced. It could be that you need to exercise. It could even be something that is related to your mental health; something that could benefit from a therapist/counselor/coach working with you to sort it all out. Remember how I mentioned earlier that depression and being overstimulated can play a role in one's libido drop? Sometimes you can't fix those things on your own. Sometimes you need a professional's assistance—and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is knowing that something is beyond your own capacity and not seeking out some reputable help.

5. Talk it out. Finally, talk to your partner; especially if you're in a long-term relationship. While everyone's sex cycles and patterns are different, if you feel like your sexual needs aren't being met, there's a chance that your partner may either sense that to be the case or feel the same way as you do. And here's the thing—one of the absolute best aphrodisiacs is open and honest communication. That's why it's so important to do it. Often.

Less folks are having sex. There's plenty of proof to support this fact. Now you know why and what you can do to prevent that from being a reality that you can personally relate to. Besides, it would be a shame of your grandparents were blowing you out of the water on the sex tip. From the stats that I've seen, it's not as far-fetched as you might think. Crazy, huh? Hmph.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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