If you’re curious what people are doing with their genitals these days — and let’s be honest, who isn’t — is your guide.
And this is one topic where Regnerus does have a plausible longitudinal comparison.
A 1992 survey suggested that 29 percent of men age 18–24 masturbated at least weekly, while the (roughly) comparable number from Regnerus’s survey is 49 percent.
But so far, at least, the trends don’t seem all that significant for Americans who’ve made it past early adulthood, either.
The General Social Survey provides an easy way to investigate questions like this.
An important possibility is that while kids these days are waiting longer to get started, they’re catching up during an extended “early adulthood” that lasts until age 30 or so.
(Twenge’s core finding is that teens are growing up more slowly than they used to, and Regnerus tells us of a 32-year-old subject who didn’t lose her virginity until age 22 but has had about 20 sexual partners since.) Those born in the ’90s and later — ’s focus — won’t start hitting 30 for a few years yet.When asked about their most recent sexual partner, few (about 5 percent) say sex began “the day we met.” But about a fifth to a quarter say it began “after we met, but before [we were] in a relationship.” On the other end of the spectrum, about 5 percent say it took “more than a year,” and about 10 percent say it wasn’t until “after we got married.” A common theory about casual sex is that it happens only for the “alpha males,” who “monopolize” the few women willing to engage in it while the “beta males” are left out.But this suggests a gender imbalance that doesn’t exist: The 10 percent of men with the most partners in Regnerus’s survey reported 52 percent of the (opposite-sex) sexual partners, compared with 48 percent for the top tenth of women.More broadly, when sifting through Regnerus’s modern stories and data, readers should be careful not to assume that things were all that different a generation ago.*** That said, Regnerus’s interviews and survey data, both of which involve some incredibly personal questions, offer a remarkably detailed overview of the current mating market.Such trends were the focus of the psychologist Jean Twenge’s Few would deny that the Pill was a nuclear bomb detonated above the sexual marketplace, or that the fallout has continued for decades in the form of delayed marriage and childbearing and rising rates of women working.