It's a river survey.In December, the American newspaper The Atlantic made its front page on the spectacular hypothesis of a "sex recession" among young people, American in particular, Western in general.Journalist Kate Julian has worked for long months to achieve these conclusions: sex between young adults would be clearly down in comparison with their elders.The thing is not quite new.For several years, various studies have suggested this trend, which Kate Julian returns in detail and with several indicators.There is the age of the first report, in decline;The percentage of American high school students who have already had sexual intercourse, from the majority at the minority, with more abstinence before the age of 20.Over several decades of sexual activity, young adults declare fewer partners than the two previous generations;Each year, American singles reveal a frequency of sexual intercourse than last year ... Many sociological data come from the United States, but also from Great Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and theJapan.What about France?No global study has been published for ten years, but data reaches us in small touches, offering lines of reflection.
The "sex recession"
IFOP published in December 2018 a study on sexual development, and in particular masturbation (6,029 European women aged 18 and over, interviewed in June 2018)."In 2017, three in four women (74 %) admit that they have already masturbated in their lifetime, compared to 60 % in 2006, 42 % in 1992 and barely 19 % in 1970.In nearly fifty years, the proportion of women having already delivered masturbation has therefore multiplied by 4, "reveals François Kraus, who led the study, died of the scale and speed of the phenomenon, especially onSex-toys use.
The explosion of free porn access has also been there.Kate Julian sums up in The Atlanticles Reasons which, according to all researchers, psychologists, economists, therapists, educators and young adults with whom she conversed for her investigation, would explain her famous theory of "sex recession": "I was told, she writes, that it could be the consequence of the hookup culture (short relations and without commitment more often than before, editor's note), overwhelming economic pressure, increase in anxiety rates, […]The increased use of antidepressants, streaming platforms, endocrine disruptors contained in plastic, online porn, the golden age of vibrators, dating apps, paralysis of choices, careerism, ofsleep deficiency.Name one of the joys of modernity, and you will find someone, somewhere, to make it responsible for jostling libido.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»
On video, sexual desire: expert words
Solo sex is nevertheless a recurring theme.François Kraus even trained a theory: “We can meet his sexual needs by masturbation and online porn;You can fill your need for exchange, emotional support and popularity on social networks.Finally there is the Netflix effect: we are caught up in highly addictive scenarios, series made by geniuses, to the point that having sex with her partner goes to the background.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»And here are your sexual intercourse to two reduced to high speed.
Caricatural?Yes of course.But what is at stake is not so much sexuality as the relationship.Aurore Malet-Karas is a doctor of neuroscience and sexologist.She read The Atlantic's article: "He especially shows a generation that does not know how to manage this normal stress which consists in going to another.Being comfortable in a relationship, it takes time and it is built.And the new generations are a little more individualistic, especially in the United States.»»»»»»»»"For the researcher who wrote her thesis in Germany and New York, Anglo-Saxon culture would suffer from a kind of relational capitalism:" We do not commit completely, even as a couple, because there is always a possibilityto find better.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»
The influence of porn
What do the French say that we interviewed?Salomé, 32, marketing manager, had a busy sex life: fulfilled initiation with an older partner, curiosity that she was satisfied between long or brief relationships and then, as a temporary conclusion, abstinence: "I wanted toStop the sudden intimacy, the sex that arrives too early, I had gone around a certain form of sexuality a little spectacle.And I wanted to be freer, far from this necessity of the couple, of the sex to reassure themselves on their ability to seduce.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»Émile, 22, producer in audiovisual, grew up in the countryside.Arrived in a teenage town, he saw sexuality inviting himself among the concerns of his friends, in particular via porn.After first moderately pleasant experiences, at 18, he stopped all sexual activity for a year: "I no longer had confidence in myself, I thought I had a problem of precocity.Thanks to a story with a girl I was in love, I understood that it was not the case.»»»»»»»»»»»»"Single, but with regular partners, he nevertheless concludes that sexuality and blooming romantic relationship go hand in hand, which confirms men and women questioned by sociologist Janine Mossuz-Lavau, in her bookla sex in France (ed.La Martinière;two versions of 2001 and 2018 allow comparison).
Salomé, Émile and the others experience at some point the need to distance themselves from the sexual representations offered by their environment. C’est aussi le cas de Fabien et Myriam, 32 et 30 ans, mariés très jeunes, qui ont vécu sept ans de sexualité exclusive et «un peu plan-plan»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» puis sont devenus libertins, avant de revenir à une sexualité quasi exclusive et plutôt sobre : «Je pense qu’on avait envie de se rassurer, de se dire "je ne suis pas un mauvais coup" car on avait eu très peu de partenaires avant, et quand on est jeune, on a tendance à se comparer»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»», estime rétrospectivement Fabien.When we talk about sexuality today, porn is never far away.All our witnesses say without hesitation that it is a source of ignorance and complexes: on the size of the penis for men, the injunction to multiple or sound orgasm in women, on performance in general.
A table to be nuanced
In the IFOP study on the sexual development of the Europeans, the Dutch are the best-based: “It is in the Netherlands that sex education is the earliest, the lowest abortion rate andthe highest development rate, because sexuality is not shameful. C’est le poids du regard des autres, du complexe, qui peut éteindre le désir»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»», décrypte François Kraus.Aurore Malet-Karas pleads for "more sex education, from primary, if only to speak of gender equality and prevent violence, and also to help young people not be ashamed of their bodies, thiswho will adult them in the face of injunctions.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»
Les experts français restent prudents : «Les méthodes d’études ont changé fondamentalement ces 15 dernières années»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»», alerte François Kraus.We would have tended to overvalue his sexual performance in the face of an investigator, less in the recent solitude of a digital questionnaire.Janine Mossuz-Lavau, who has not detected a recession during her investigation, nevertheless concedes that the length of studies, school rhythms and the fact that young people later live among parents explain that sexuality has less'space in their life.What Aurore Malet-Karas is suitable, who also takes a step back from the American article: "What embarrassed me is that he dismisses the economic context, however very important in historysexuality.All economic recessions have been accompanied by a rise in puritanism.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»Under pressure, a subject as light as sex goes into the background, because whatever its importance, it is not vital to the survival of a person.
The taste for freedom
The main observation established by Janine Mossuz-Lavau is that among individuals, there is today greater freedom of practices and speech, including on sexual violence (she finished her investigation just before the #MeToo movement,who did not surprise it).If there is a sexual recession, perhaps it is explained as follows: conjugal duty is an outdated concept, consent is invited to the heart of the debates, and those who do not want to have relationshipssex forces less, if not at all.And as Aurore Malet-Kara notes, talking about sex is often talking about something else.Make the assumption of a recession is to artificially place sexual intercourse at the center of everything, when they are rather the consequence of something larger.Émile is certain: "It can't be fine in sex if it's going badly elsewhere, because we are literally naked, we can no longer make people believe.Everything is here.»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»
A first time
In France, the median age of the first sexual intercourse would hardly have moved for thirty years: around 17.5 years.In the United States, a 2014 study indicates that it has only retreated since the 1980s and is between 17.8 years for women and 18.1 years for men.In the Netherlands, it would have gone from 17.1 years in 2012 to 18.6 years in 2017.In Japan, 43 % of singles between 18 and 34 years old declared themselves virgins in 2015, against a third ten years earlier.