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    Gen Z Is Having Less Sex Than Previous Generations — Here Are The Reasons Why

    “There's a thing called performative sex versus pleasure-based sex.”

    On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed why Gen Z is having less sex than previous generations. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

    Listen to BuzzFeed Daily on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever else you might listen to your favorite podcasts!

    So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Buzzfeed contributor and sex therapy student Tatyannah King about Gen Z's evolving sexual politics. Here's some of what we learned:

    Buzzfeed Daily: So, it makes sense that attitudes toward sex naturally evolve. And right now, a lot of the narrative about Gen Z is that young people are having less sex than previous generations. As far as you know is there a common understanding as to why this trend is happening?

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    Tatyannah King: There are actually a few reasons why younger generations aren't having as much sex. Part of it is that adulthood, when we're getting into that stage, it's been delayed for our generations. Because when you think about sex, it's not just the behavior, but it's also about dating, moving out of your parents' house, cohabitating with a partner, or getting married. And a lot of those situations are being delayed in our generations. So that's part of the reason why many of us aren't having as much sex as past generations. And another reason is because of advancement in technology and that we have access to dating apps and easier ways to access porn. So a lot of times it's a bit more convenient to be in the comfort of your own house and sexting your phone, as opposed to actually meeting up with people face-to-face. And then again with the access to porn, more people are seeking that out now, and more people are actually staying at home and masturbating as opposed to having partnered sex.

    Buzzfeed Daily: Considering that Gen Z is by far the most progressive generation when it comes to sexual and gender politics, it almost feels counterintuitive that they're having less sex. Or do you not think that these things have much to do with each other?

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    TK: So I feel like it's a bit of a myth that sex positivity equals going out and having as much sex as possible. I think when it comes to sex positivity, we have to think of it more as a mindset as opposed to examining behavioral patterns. So instead of thinking, "OK, well, yeah, we are more sexually liberated and we have more information. So naturally, we're going to have as much sex as we want with whomever we want, whenever we should." I mean, that's OK, too, but it's more so that people are feeling more confident in themselves and maybe not settling for bad sex. Or maybe they're not feeling as much pressure to have sex that they don't want to have. And they're starting to look at the overall definition of human sexuality not as just an act, but about puberty, about the way our bodies work, about the way we love one another, how different attachment styles relate to the way we interact and have conflict resolution within sex and how we advocate for our pleasure. So there's a lot more that goes into it.

    Buzzfeed Daily: A recent piece in BuzzFeed News places a lot of the blame on the sex-positivity movement. A 23-year-old grad student and sex researcher said, "It's seen as potentially shallow, a repackaging of the patriarchy and not in the best interests of women, especially young women, because people associate it with casual, heterosexual sex, dominant submissive play, and being sexually active online." How would you differentiate between healthy sex positivity and sex as it has to do with this "repackaging of the patriarchy"?

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    TK: I had to differentiate it by recognizing that there's a thing called performative sex versus pleasure-based sex. So when it comes to performative sex, some things that fall into that category are feeling pressure to look a certain way, to look how you might see on porn or on Netflix movies, instead of actually focusing on sensations or how your body responds to things. And then there's pleasure-based sex where you're not necessarily having an end goal, you're just there to enjoy the time that you have with your partner and exploring what works for you. So I don't think it's necessarily the "sex positivity is repackaging patriarchy," but there is a certain amount of pressure to perform more, be a different version of yourself in bed. And you know, it should be different, like you should be showing up as yourself and not necessarily trying to have a particular end goal.

    Buzzfeed Daily: I think back to my days in high school and sex ed classes and as far as my memory serves, all I learned was, "Abstinence is the only way to not get an STD or get pregnant!" with very little in the way of constructive sexual education. As someone who's studying sex therapy, do you get the sense that our sex ed system in the US has gotten any better?

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    TK: We're making a little bit of progress, but it's not really where it needs to be, in my opinion, because there are only 30 states that mandate sex education. But even within that, you get very sex-negative messages — basically them just showing you these horrific pictures of sexually transmitted infections and telling you not to have sex or you'll get pregnant and die, like in that Mean Girls scene. And so even the sex education that I had — granted I was at a Christian school at the time, so I wasn't expecting like a dick sucking 101 class or anything like that — I mean, they taught us about modesty and purity, and we really didn't go into much of how sex works at all, not even from a practical standpoint. So I think sex education in the United States definitely needs some work.

    Buzzfeed Daily: Not every member of Gen Z is having less sex. TikTok user @eveculling recently posted a video that went viral — like, 30 million views and 76 thousand comments viral— about why you should have sex on the first date. According to Eve, it's "because it could help you determine if that person is sexually compatible with you." Of course, she also said that there's no right way to date and that you have to do what is best for you. So what's your opinion on her advice?

    TK: I think that advice isn't that bad, but I'd probably tweak it a little bit and say that if you don't necessarily want to have sex on the first date: Cool. But I think it's a good idea to at least talk about it. Ask people about their kinks, and maybe you can get a bit of a roadmap of how they're like in bed. So I definitely want people to wait to have sex for when they're actually comfortable because I feel like if you're not comfortable, it's just going to translate into an awkward situation. But at the same time, don't rush into it and don't necessarily have this three-date rule or 90-day rule or whatever. You know, if you're totally ready to have sex on the first date, go for it. But if you're not, I think talking about it would be a good idea. And I have noticed that advice actually a lot. People were saying, "Yeah, you've definitely got to have sex in the first date because you don't know what you're going to get yourself into." I don't necessarily think that having it on the first date or the third date is going to make too much of a difference, but as long as you're actually having that conversation outside of the bedroom, I think it'll help for when you finally get into the bedroom.

    We also discussed how Jessica Simpson opened up about why she decided to stop drinking.

    Jessica Simpson

    After four years of sobriety, Jessica Simpson took to Instagram to reveal why she decided to give up drinking.

    In the caption of a photo she posted an “unrecognizable version” of herself from November 1, 2017, and wrote: “I knew in this very moment I would allow myself to take back my light, show victory over my internal battle of self respect, and brave this world with piercing clarity. Personally, to do this I needed to stop drinking alcohol because it kept my mind and heart circling in the same direction and quite honestly I was exhausted.”

    She went on to talk about the stigma surrounding the words alcoholism and alcoholics, adding, “The real work that needed to be done in my life was to actually accept failure, pain, brokenness, and self sabotage. The drinking wasn’t the issue. I was. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t respect my own power. Today I do.”

    Also, Lily Collins says there’ll be more diversity in Season 2 of Emily in Paris.

    Lily Collins

    Lily told Elle UK that the upcoming season of Emily in Paris will be more diverse than the first.

    She said that both as the star of the show and a producer “hearing people's thoughts, concerns, questions, likes, dislikes, just feelings about it, there were certain things that spoke to the time that we're living in and what's right, and moral and correct and should be done."

    Lily added that she “really wanted diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.”

    As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com.