8 Reasons Why This Generation Has Made Casual Sex So Damn... Casual
Millennials love nothing more than reminiscing about the 90s.
They were the good old days of Nickelodeon, flip phones, Dunkaroos, Beanie Babies -- and slightly uptight attitudes about sex.
New York Magazine recently reported that Americans are now more OK with casual sex than they were in the 90s.
According to the data from the nationally representative General Social Survey of 33,380 Americans over 18, 37.9 percent have had casual sex in the past year, compared to 32.2 percent in the 90s.
In addition, Americans have had more sexual partners over the course of their adult lifetime now than they did in the 90s.
There are a lot of reasons these more relaxed attitudes exist.
Though the 90s may have rocked in terms of mix tapes and the un-ironic donning of overalls, lots of positive changes have occurred since then to make America sex-positive.
1. The media are more open about sex.
The mere fact that "50 Shades of Grey" made it to the big screen and enjoyed the success it did -- it was the biggest R-rated theatrical release in movie history -- says a lot about the way our society's perspective on sex is changing.
There has never been more sex in mass media than there is now -- and that's a good thing because we are no longer viewing sex as a something shameful, secretive or taboo.
Sex has always been a normal part of everyday life, but now that normality is reflected in the media, too.
Even more so, being confronted with these images of sex and sexuality in the media forces us to have conversations about them.
And these conversations are especially important if something about how sex is portrayed angers us.
We can ask ourselves why this particular scene in this particular movie or TV show upset us and what the media can do to make it better -- which, in the long run, will only improve the portrayal and lessen the stigmas even more.
2. Americans are less religious.
Religion might be great for a lot of things, but sex-positivity is not one of them.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, 20 percent of Americans are not religious.
Of that 20 percent, 6 percent describe themselves as agnostic or atheist, and 14 percent have no religious affiliation at all -- and these numbers are only increasing.
With religion comes a perspective on sex that's generally of the more conservative variety.
The fact that Americans are less religious means they aren't adhering to beliefs that cast sex in a shameful light.
When you don't affiliate yourself with a religion, you're free to make your own decisions about your sex life without any reservations or guilt.
3. Feminism gives women more choices, especially when it comes to sex.
For women, the most important component about modern-day feminism is choice.
Thanks to feminism, we can choose our careers, our motherhood status and our skirt length. Most importantly, we can choose how much sex we want to (or don't want to) have.
No longer are women expected to remain virgins until marriage. No longer are women defined by the number of guys they've slept with.
The Madonna-whore complex has been rendered bullsh*t, and the reclaiming of the words "slut" and "whore" has given women freedoms they'd never before experienced.
Today, when it comes to sex, anything goes.
4. The boom of the Internet makes sex-related information more accessible.
With the rise of the Internet in the past decade, it's never been easier to search for anything sex related, including how-tos, advice and, yes, visual stimulation. And by visual stimulation, I mean porn.
Statistics over the years have exaggerated exactly how much porn is on the Internet, but that doesn't discredit porn's effect.
Out of the top one million most popular websites on the Internet, about 4 percent are sex related.
This may seem low, but consider that the most popular porn website online, LiveJasmin.com, gets around 32 million visitors per month -- that's 2.5 percent of all Internet users going to one website.
Information about sex on the Internet may not always be reliable, but this doesn't stop people from seeking it out anyway.
5. There's more awareness of the importance of sex education in high school.
With the increasing number of conversations about and portrayals of sex comes the need for real, comprehensive sex education in schools.
Recently, more and more research has emerged about the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only programs and the importance of sex education.
Educational programs that preach abstinence have been proven to be dangerous, inaccurate and a leading cause of an increased risk of teen pregnancies.
On the other hand, comprehensive sex education does not "increase rates of sexual initiation... lower the age at which youth initiate sex... [or] increase the frequency of sex or the number of sex partners among sexually active youth."
In other words, it's better to assume teens are having sex and equip them with the tools to be safe about it than to assume they're, well, chaste. Because they're not.
Thankfully, the government is listening: Obama's administration removed funding for abstinence-only programs in favor of sex education programs that have been proven to be effective.
This is an important step toward normalizing conversations about sex.
6. Dating apps make it easy to find sex.
Tinder, Grindr, Disckreet, Down, Pure, Blendr, Hinge -- if you think of a word and awkwardly tweak the spelling, there's probably a casual sex app with that name.
Thanks to these dating apps, we now treat sexual prospects like we treat racks of clothing at the mall.
Much like you'd browse through shirts at Forever 21, you can browse through prospects in your bedroom, on the train, at the club, on the toilet -- literally anywhere.
Seeking out sex has never been easier or more convenient, which further normalizes it.
7. The AIDS panic has decreased.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a global fear of AIDS ran rampant, fueling a culture of paranoia and uncertainty when it came to sex, especially among those in the homosexual community.
Millions upon millions of people were dying of AIDS, and nobody knew how to stop the disease from spreading.
Now, thanks to decades of advancements in medical technology, people who are HIV positive can lead normal, healthy lives.
There's less of a stigma surrounding AIDS than there used to be, so the sexual paranoia and uncertainty that plagued the country 30 years ago has decreased.
Having sex without fear of contracting AIDS is significantly more possible.
8. Instead of the "walk of shame," it's called the "stride of pride."
A one-night stand is officially no longer a "walk of shame." Now, it's a "stride of pride," which gives casual sex a whole new positive meaning.
We no longer live in a world in which you should feel guilty for engaging in some good ol' hitting and quitting, pumping and dumping, f*cking and chucking, nailing and bailing, wham-bamming and thank-you-ma'aming, skeeting and retreating, ejaculating and evacuating, pulling out and rolling out...
You get it. Just let your freak flag fly.