By: Shane James O’Neill
The Decline of Sex
Did you know that people are having less sex today than they were 10 years ago? A report was released in May of 2019 from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which surveyed the sex-lives of 34,000 people.
The steepest decrease of sex is among people over 25, as well as married or cohabitating couples. People are having significantly less sex today than they were 10 years ago, and the decrease is getting sharper.
The researchers of this particular study don’t know why this notable decline is taking place, though they suggest technology as a possible reason.
For instance, many couples spend the last 30 minutes of their day in bed cycling through social media feeds. Also, Netflix and show-binging have the ability to quickly grab our attention and they don’t require anything from us.
In these moments, it’s easier to assume quality time is taking place, as we give ourselves to artificial stimulation, rather than having to build relational stimulation, which requires as much emotional intimacy as it does physical.
But is the sharp decline simply due to Netflix and the like? No, there’s more to it.
Related: Why Sex in Marriage Matters
What About Hook-Up Culture??
This sex-decline seems at odds with the rough stories we are constantly hearing about hook-up culture and how millennials just date for sex. It also brings out a strange disparity between the increase of porn use with the decrease of sex. So, how do we make sense of this?
Chasing the Plastic Butterfly
There was an experiment performed several years ago:
Healthy, thriving butterflies were brought together for procreation. Then beautifully fashioned plastic butterflies were placed in the same environment as the living, healthy butterflies. Once these fake butterflies were introduced into the scene, all of the living butterflies tried to mate with the plastic ones.
The living butterflies were so enamored with the beautiful, fake stimulation that they ceased procreating entirely with other living butterflies.
How does an experiment like this one translate into our current culture? Porn is our plastic butterfly.
So. Much. Porn.
The world’s largest pornographic website released their 2018 stats earlier this year, summarizing: Visits hit “a daily average of 92 million visitors … To put that into perspective, that’s as if the combined populations of Canada, Poland and Australia all visited Pornhub every day!
“Pornhub’s servers served up 30.3 billion searches, or 962 searches per second … If you were to start watching 2018’s videos after the Wright brother’s first flight in 1903, you would still be watching them today 115 years later!”
Related: The Most Popular Porn of 2017
Made for Intimacy
The researchers who tell us sex is on a decline suggest technology as a reason for that decline, but they are unwilling to be clear about which aspects of technology are likely to be causing the most harm. But when sex is rapidly declining among couples, while pornographic use is increasing among couples, an obvious connection is right in front of us.
Porn is our plastic butterfly. It is artificial and unreal. Porn reduces people to who they are physically and porn doesn’t require anything from us: people are a simple means of isolated pleasure. Sex, however, demands communication; sex is a messy-intimacy. Porn gives us whoever we want, however we want them.
If you’re married, have regular (weekly) sex with your spouse — even if you’re tired. If you’re single, learn who people are beyond what their flesh can give you and pursue a purity of motivation.
Sexual integrity is not something we only practice outside of the marriage bed, it’s something we also need to bring back into the marriage bed.
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Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.