In the last 20 years, sexual inactivity has increased among US men in such a way that approximately 1 in 3 men aged 18 to 24 years reported no sexual activity in the past year, a new survey has predicted.
Sexual inactivity also increased among men and women aged 25 to 34 years, with the increase among men mainly occurring among unmarried individuals.
Men with lower income and with part-time or no employment were more likely to be sexually inactive, as were men and women who were students, according to the survey published by Jama Network Open, adding that the findings may have implications for public health.
Using data from 18- to 44-year-old participants in the General Social Survey from the year 2000 to 2018, the researcher assessed trends in categories of sexual frequency (including sexual inactivity) and number of sexual partners in the year preceding survey participation.
The study population included 4,291 men and 5,213 women in the analysis of sexual frequency and 4,372 men and 5,377 women in the analysis of number of sexual partners. The research team then examined factors associated with sexual frequency and the number of sexual partners.
Sexual health and satisfaction are key components of health and well-being
"Sexual health and satisfaction are key components of health and well-being. Sexual relationships can positively influence life satisfaction and happiness, and sexual activity may lower heart rate and blood pressure, while also reducing stress by promoting oxytocin release," said the researchers.
Conversely, lower sexual activity has been associated with increased mortality and poor self-reported health. "Compared with men working full time, those working part-time, those who were not working, and students were more likely to be sexually inactive. Among women, being a student was associated with sexual inactivity, whereas no significant associations were observed for other categories of employment status or income level," the findings showed.
Among married men and women, there was a decrease in sexual activity at least weekly, whereas sexual inactivity was rare and did not change substantially.
"Men with lower income and with part-time or no employment were more likely to be sexually inactive, as were men and women who were students," said the researchers. Although sexual inactivity and sexual frequency have recently been subject to increased scrutiny from public health perspectives, uncertainty remains regarding recent trends in sexual activity among US adults, the survey noted.