We Americans “are not having enough sex”, says Magdalene Taylor in The New York Times. More than a quarter of us haven’t got down to it even once in the past year, according to the most recent General Social Survey – including 30% of men under 30, a percentage that has tripled since 2008. In the 1990s, about half of us were bonking at least once a week; now it’s fewer than 40%. And it’s not just sexual relationships: the number of people who report having no close friends has quadrupled since 1990, and the average American spent 58% less time with pals in 2021 than in 2013. It’s all part of the same “cultural malaise” – a loneliness that is demolishing our “social lives, love lives and happiness”.
Covid may be “partially responsible”, but the decrease in time spent with friends was greater between 2014 and 2019 than it was during the pandemic. More of a problem is social media – users shut themselves in their rooms and embark on virtual relationships that are “no match for the real thing”. This trend has important consequences. Isolation means “less socialisation, fewer families and a sicker population” – sex reduces pain, relieves stress, improves sleep, lowers blood pressure and strengthens heart health. Here’s the good news, though: we have a rare opportunity to do something for the “betterment of the world” that involves nothing more than indulging in one of humanity’s most essential pleasures. Everyone should have sex – “as much as they can, as pleasurably as they can, as often as they can”.