If I asked you to think of celibacy, what’s the first image that comes to mind? A monk, a nun? Yet according to the BBC in 2019 the British Medical Journal surveyed 34,000 adults and found that British people are having less sex now than a decade ago, with less than 50% of those surveyed aged between 16-44 having sex more than once a week compared to a survey conducted in 2001 which found around 30% of the British population having sex more than 10 times a month. This lack of sex is not just a British phenomenon however; celibacy is on the rise in most Western countries, 23% of US adults surveyed hadn’t head sex in a year.
What’s causing the younger generations, specifically Millennials to engage in less sex?
While I can’t talk for everyone on why millennials appear to be less interested in sex, I can share my experience. I am a millennial and have been celibate on and off since 2008, my last sexual encounter being a year ago. But my longest break was 10 years. This hasn’t really been a conscious choice for me, it is just something that hasn’t happened, and it hasn’t really bothered me. I also just do not miss or crave sex at all.
Sex is not taboo, it’s just something that doesn’t really excite me, if you will excuse the pun. There are a few reasons for this. The main one being I’m a survivor of sexual abuse and thus sexual encounters can be difficult for me. The other issue is a tilted womb, which can, and does make sex a painful experience. Oddly many of my potential past partners haven’t been understanding of this issue and broken it off.
Being an early millennial baby, my teens saw the rise of TV series such as Ally McBeal, Sex in the City and Friends. Not that I was ever into any of these shows. Their portrayal of young adulthood just didn’t appeal to me. I’ve always wanted more than casual sex; it has to mean something to me. I was judged by my peers for not being into sex or the idea of loosing my virginity, not that I was bullied by them, just that I was dubbed ‘weird’. I never understood the rush to grow up in that respect. Indeed, my first sexual encounter that was a happy experience was at the age of 20.
Even though I have said sex has to be meaningful to me, that isn’t to say I have never had sex for fun, just that I can count on one hand the number of times I have had enjoyable experiences. I’m also not saying that I will never have sex again, it may happen, it may not. I’m just not going to lose sleep at night over the fact that I haven’t had sex.
I always thought I was an anomaly, that there weren’t many people who like me wanted a relationship without the sex. There are dating sites for people who are celibate, including AsexualCupid to name just one. Like eHarmony, Match etc these websites are for dating, but with a difference, the understanding that you’re looking for a relationship with someone who understands that you, or they don’t necessarily want a sexual relationship. I’ve tried one of these websites, but that’s a story for another day?
Remember, it’s ok to not like sex, and you do not have to justify your choices to anyone. This is the 21st century. You don’t want sex? That is fine- embrace it. You shouldn’t and don’t have to justify your sexual choices to anyone. And yes, it is perfectly fine to change your mind whenever you want.
Words By: Katy Colbert
Edited By: Sacha Bloch