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To get the lowdown on time spent getting down, the researchers looked at data from the General Social Survey, a representative survey of the sex lives of more than 26,000 Americans, which has been in progress since 1989. According to the survey, the lack of lovin’ was pretty consistent across race, religion, gender, and education lines.
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In addition to the overall decline in sexual seduction, the researchers found that how often we have sex heavily depends on how old we are. For example, twenty-somethings have sex an average of 80 times per year, while those in their sixties are only getting it on about 20 times per year. And in case that whole “we’re having less sex than people were 10 years ago” news wasn’t enough of a bummer, the findings also suggest that most of us hit our sexual peak at 25. After that, how often we have sex drops by about 3 percent per year.
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But here’s where the findings get really crazy: The researchers found that when they controlled for age, the data showed those of us born in the ’90s (mostly millennials and Gen Z a.k.a. iGen) are having less sex than past generations did during their twenties. The decline wasn’t attributed to the fact that we use porn more frequently or work longer hours (the findings actually showed that those who worked more had more sex)—we’re just not as frisky as our parents and grandparents were. Woof.
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The study authors hypothesize that this might have something to do with the fact that millennials are less likely to have steady partners than previous generations were at this age, but they say that still wouldn’t explain the overall decline among those who were coupled up. Though the current data can’t prove it, they think it could also be due to increased rates of depression as well as more options for entertainment other than spending time in the bedroom. (Raise your hand if you’ve passed up sex for another episode of The OA.)
Consider this your excuse to beat the generational odds by making more time for sex—you know, in the name of keeping up with grandma in her day.