Record high: 1 in 4 U.S. adults had no sex in a year

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by Dr. Eowyn

Something interesting is happening in America.

Fox News reports, March 30, 2019, that the latest data from the General Social Survey found that the number of American adults who said they have not had sex in the past year hit a record high in 2018 — 23% or nearly 1 in 4 adults.

The phenomenon is especially notable among young men.

Since 2008, the percentage of men under 30 reporting no sex had nearly tripled to 28%, compared with an 8% increase reported by women in the same age bracket. 18% of women between the ages of 18 and 30 reported no sex in the past year.

San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge pretends to know why:

  • “There are more people in their twenties who don’t have a live-in partner. So under those circumstances, I think less sex is going to happen.”
  • A decline in the number of young men in the labor force may be the reason. The survey showed that 54% of unemployed Americans did not have a steady relationship versus 32% of employed Americans.
  • Young men are more likely to live with their parents than young women: “When you’re living at home it’s probably harder to bring sexual partners into your bedroom.”
  • There are “more things to do at 10 o’clock at night than there were 20 years ago” — “Streaming video, social media, console games, everything else.”
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What Professor Twenge omits is another reason: Sex is risky, given the fact that, along with other bugs, sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) increasingly are resistant to antibiotics.

A recent article in Medium recounts how female urinary tract infection (UTI) has become antibiotic-resistant, with the emergence of “a particularly scary strain of drug-resistant UTI.” If left untreated, UTI can move to the kidneys and, on rare occasions, can even turn deadly.

One woman, Carole Wilson, 61, has had a chronic UTI for 17 months. First diagnosed with UTI in December 2017, Wilson has had 56 courses of antibiotics. She worries that if she catches another type of bacterial infection, like pneumonia, doctors won’t have any antibiotics to treat it. But if she doesn’t continuously treat the UTI, she’s at a high risk for complications like sepsis.

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UTI is believed to be caused by gut bacteria like E. coli entering the bladder. While not categorized as an STD, anything that results in bacteria coming into contact with the urethra, like sex, increases risk. As WebMD explains:

Women may be especially prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria quick access to the bladder. Having sex can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, too.

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