OK. Before we dive into this particular topic, let me just say that 1) a lot of this data was citedbefore 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?
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
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 if 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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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