Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Who Killed Sex?

Talking a good game is not the same as playing a good game. Some people talk so much that they become all talk and no action.

If you are not a millennial, you have probably gotten the impression that the younger generation of twentysomethings does nothing but hook up and engage in raunchy, dissolute, degenerate orgies. When you are doing decadence, you might as well do it right.

After all, these people have been receiving non-stop sex education since kindergarten. They know everything there is to know about sex. Whatever they did not learn in school they learned by watching the now-ubiquitous pornography. And they talk about sex all the time. They fill the airwaves with constant discussions of everyone’s sex life. How you have sex, with whom, where and when… the least we can say is that everyone’s consciousness and awareness about sexual matters has been largely heightened.

But now, shockingly, the truth has appeared. The millennial generation is undersexed. A significant number of them is still virginal at age 26. That would be around 12%. In a prior generation the number was 5%. Then again, it is fair to note that our forebears normally married much younger than today’s young people, thus they were engaging in regular conjugal sex while in their early twenties.

Shocking, isn’t it? Our hypersexual culture, our culture of hypersexual awareness, has managed to kill sex, for a significant number of people. The London Telegraph has the story:

Millennials are waiting longer to have sex, with one in eight still virgins at 26 years old, new research has found.

The sharp rise in the number of young people waiting longer to have sex may be because of a "fear of intimacy" and the pressure of social media, according to analysts.

The Next Steps project, the brainchild of the Department for Education which is now managed by University College London, has tracked 16,000 people born in 1989-90 since they were 14.

Naturally, everyone is seriously puzzled by this phenomenon. What do the psycho professionals think? Glad you asked:

Susanna Abse, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Balint Consultancy, told the Sunday Times: "Millenials have been brought up in a culture of hypersexuality which has bred a fear of intimacy.

"The women are always up for it with beautiful hard bodies and the men have permanent erections. That is daunting to young people.

"The fear for young men is of being humiliated that they can't live up to that, plus the fear of exposure in your Facebook group."

Of course, fear of intimacy is a psycho cliché. We could all do with fewer psycho clichés. Yet, our hypersexualized culture must contribute to the fact that young people are avoiding sex. It might be because people fear exposure, but that means that they do not believe that they can trust anyone. It might mean that they fear being judged... in a culture that prides itself on being non-judgmental.

This suggests that social ties among millennials have frayed. If you cannot trust anyone, why would you ever confide in anyone, why would you ever share important information with anyone? And why would you try to perform sexually in front of someone who might well share his or her impression with the world. Certainly, social media has contributed to a culture where no one trusts anyone else… and that is bad news indeed.

Similarly, a culture of open and honest sharing, where everyone is taught to overcome their sense of shame and express their feelings to whomever, indiscriminately and promiscuously, has contributed to the current problem. Anyone who is advising people to overcome their sense of shame has contributed to our current decadent culture.

Of course, young people might reduce the threat of exposure by limiting themselves to having sex with someone they know. A hookup culture does not facilitate relationship formation.

In the past, those who sought discreet sexual encounters could drop by the nearest brothel. These institutions of ill repute offered sexual pleasure and discretion… for a price. By definition, a prostitute was not going to expose your sex life to the world. Now, of course, thanks to a porn star named Stormy Daniels, indiscretion has become the rule for women of lesser repute. Since mainstream media outlets have flooded their shows with the latest revelations from Stormy Daniels, the nation’s culture of shamelessness has taken a great leap into the void.

If you can't trust a porn star, who can you trust?

And, of course, the problem with pornography is not so much that people are comparing themselves to porn stars or even that they imagine that their sexual encounters must mimic what they see in PornHub. Another problem is that young people-- especially those of the masculine persuasion-- too often have a sex life that revolves around the self-pleasure they gain by watching porn. We have long known that being addicted to pornography, becoming a pornoholic, reduces one’s ability to respond to sexual stimuli from a potential partner. Thus, watching porn desensitizes young men to sexual stimuli. Fortunately, there is a cure. Therapists do know that pornoholics who go cold turkey on porn eventually recover their ability to respond to human partners.

The incident recalls a thought once uttered by the Bishop of Hippo—you know him as St. Augustine—around seventeen centuries ago. Before we had the internet or Facebook or even internet porn, Augustine observed that sex was better in the dark. He reasoned that since carnal relations were sinful people could more freely engage them when the lights were down and when they were not watching what they were doing. It’s amusing to think that today’s young lovers often make videos of their concupiscent exploits and that they are in the habit of exchanging pornographic images of their genitalia. It is even more amusing to think that these practices, by bringing sex into the light of day, have taught a generation of young people to avoid sexual encounters. Unfortunately, such seems to be the case.

Obviously, Augustine was not inveighing against those who have sex in the morning. When he talked about having sex in the dark he was undoubtedly thinking of consigning it to a private space. People who have sex in public, who are being scrutinized by an audience are normally not as desirous as are those who keep it private. Unless, of course, they have no shame, have taken the proper medication and are being well paid for it.


Ares Olympus said...

I'm not sure I'd do any extrapolation at all by a stat like 12% are virgins at age 26. That ignores the other 88%! Otherwise certainly ubiquitous online porn must be trouble, if it makes young people define their sexual preferences by what they see there. I'm sure neither gender wants to be compared themselves to bored porn star fantasy bodies trying to bring home a paycheck to pay for college.

sestamibi said...

"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought, which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are mat work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother."

Looks like we've gotten a lot closer to that dystopia since 1984, thanks to our new Junior Anti-Sex League feminists.

David Foster said...

I suspect this, like much else, is related to the excesses of 'self-esteem building'....which has resulted in people who are so brittle that they cannot face the possibility of rejection.

Sam L. said...

Some of us were just slow starters.