By now, anyone surfing the net at all has heard about the poll by the CDC that determined that young people, ages 15-24 are having less sex than the age group a decade ago.
Some religious folks are claiming victory, but let’s be clear. This was not a poll about abstinence. This was simply a poll about occurence.
Fact is there has been a steady decline in sexual activity among that age group for the past two and half decades. So what happened in the late 80s to start this decline.
The current religious resurgence is not responsible for this. I can say that with relative certainty simply because there is no current religious resurgence. Polling in the past twenty years has shown that each year fewer Americans claim to be Christian. Further investigation will show that, though some religions have shown slight increases in the last decades, such as Islam and LDS (growth of both is less than half a percentage point over two decades), the overall trend is downward by about ten percent.
Recognizing that sexual inactivity in youngsters and religion are going opposite directions is usually taken as a sign that there is not a significant causal relationship.
Two things have been increasing in the past twenty years that might be related however. Sexual awareness is up. Whether sex education comes from school, parents or society, fact is that kids know more about it than they used to. They know more about the consequences and it’s less of a mystery, meaning there may be less curiosity.
The other thing that been increasing and what I’d most likely blame it on is the prevalence of video games. Back around 1985, Video Game Systems dropped in price with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Other systems followed suit and over the years games have gotten better and relatively cheaper. Back then we’d gather at the homes of our friends who had gaming systems.
Today kids don’t leave their homes to gather. They meet online. 99% of boys and 94% of girls in this country play video games regularly. Almost everyone has a playstation, xbox or wii in their home.
So that means that kids are more social than ever but don’t have to deal often with intimate moments and struggles to overcome hormones reacting to pheromones.
I can’t prove the connection. No one can. But there is a way to verify it. Since we are now at the point where everyone has a gaming system, the trend of sexual inactivity among the youth should stabilize as well. So if ten years from now the numbers have levelled off, we can then be more sure that there is a distinct connection between video games and sexual responsibility.