Student Life

False claims say millennials have replaced good old-fashioned dating with casual sex

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have been taking more and more criticism lately. The Time’s article entitled “The Me Me Me Generation” and various articles by both The Globe and Mail and Huffington Post are questioning the way this generation comports itself.

Photo from Flickr user DavidMartynHunt

With this, too, Millennials have been given the label of the “hookup generation;” the generation in which dating is dead, and all that they are interested in is instant, casual sex and endless one-night stands. But is this generation really having more sex than the last?

Two recent studies, one by Miriam Hospital’s Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine (focusing mostly on female undergrads), and one by the American Sociological Association at the University of Poland, have revealed that this generation is in fact having just as much casual sex as the last.

These two studies surveyed up to 1,800 college students on their sexual behaviour, ranging from the students’ frequency of one-night stands, to sex being had with a significant other.

What was found was that in comparison to the responses from a previous survey of the 1988-1996 generation, the amount of sexual partners of the Millennial generation was shockingly similar to those of the previous generation.

According to these studies, 31.9 per cent of the earlier cohort reported having more than one sexual partner in the past year compared with 31.6 per cent of contemporary college students.

So then why are Millennials still perceived as being a culture of hookups and casual sex?

With apps like Tinder and sites like, it certainly has become easier to find more and more “sexy singles in your area.”

It’s possible that previous generations were having as many one-night stands, they simply did it the old fashioned way—meet someone in a bar and stumble home together. These apps and websites are simplifying the “hook-up” process.

What was found quite definitively in both studies is that the Millennial generation is “more likely than those from the earlier era” to report their sex lives. And, with the boom of Twitter, Facebook, and various other social websites that condone detailing every aspect of one’s day-to-day life, it’s certain that this generation has greater means and opportunity to advertise their having of casual sex.

But are we dating less? The Miriam Hospital study showed that “slightly more than half, 56 per cent, engaged in sex with a romantic partner,” at one point during the year, suggesting that students are still going through the somewhat committal dating process.

According to the study, it is also true that this generation is “coping with a new set of norms in which marriage occurs later,” and so it would follow that they are also talking before dating and getting into serious relationships.

Looking solely at the study results from Miriam Hospital and U of Poland, is seems that the claims that Millennials are the hookup generation are false.

Whether or not this generation has submerged itself into a hookup culture is debatable however what can be said is that we are certainly more quick to flaunt it our “action” than previous generations.

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