One of the early analytical errors I made was in assuming guys like Heartiste were wrong about fundamental aspects of the modern sexual marketplace because the data showed, if anything, that the quantity of per capita sex was going down while the share of celibates was going up. Promiscuity? Ha, more like prudishness!
Upon further study, though, it became clear to me that I was leaving a lot out. The marketplace was bifurcating, especially for men. Some were being cut out completely while others got more than ever before.
Another related change came in the shifting nature of the sexual encounters. While committed long-term relationships are the surest way to have frequent sex, committed long-term relationships are on the decline. These steady state old faithfuls are increasingly being replaced by incels and volcels on one hand and tinder trysts on the other.
I’ve long since been qualitatively convinced this is the case, but the GSS provides quantitative reassurance. The following graph shows the percentages of sexually active respondents, by decade of participation in the survey, whose experiences over the last twelve months included “casual date or pickup” sex. The residual values for each decadel cohort can thus be considered to have come by way of some degree of relationship commitment:
As is always the case with self-reported sexual data, men appear less restrained than women. Part of the explanation could be attributable to differences in how men and women view relationship dynamics. He thought it was a hookup; she thought it a real date that just happened to end in a fit of passion. Be that as it may, the trend towards casual sex consuming a greater share and committed sex a smaller share of the total is clear.
Coronavirus and its consequences (the Great Handemic?) have revealed that we are living through a historical inflection point. Will the trend towards more casual sex and less committed sex end up being one of the many casualties of corona?
GSS variables used: SEXFREQ(1-6), YEAR, SEX, PIKUPSEX