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When Bad Sex Is Normal

“Ultimately, the desire for a deeper human connection always wins out, for both men and women.” Hanna Rosin

One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot lately is, why are so many millennials having bad sex? Which for the record, is not just true about millennials. However, it is alarming to hear that 44% of women between 16-21 to report anxiety, pain and little interest when it comes to sex, 21% of them reported that they have difficulty achieving orgasm and fully 30% of the young men surveyed report issues with both maintaining erection and premature ejaculation. What is happening? These early years are the time in life that many remember wistfully as full of hot and heavy make out sessions in the back seat of a car. The cliché of young love is resonant because young hearts need all the falling in and out of love to grow emotional capacity and relational courage.

The new hip trend of youth to culminate digital hookups by swiping right has largely replaced more typical trajectories of romantic engagement and is at the heart of the demise of millennial sex. Early experiments with one’s sexual self-need deserve the protection and respect that is born in relationship. Contrary to popular belief, the thrill of the unknown and the edginess associated with high risk sexual encounters only goes so far in the real evolution of discovering and exploring what it means to be fully sexual.

Admittedly, the baby boomer and me generation of millennial parents have not offered many worthy examples of functional, lasting relationships, but replacing that with the erroneous idea that sexual development and exploration is not dependent on or even connected to the existence of relationships is worse.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t like the millennials invented the desire for sex with no strings attached. Men through history have been seeking out the freedom of spreading their seed with no responsibility. What is relatively new in the history of human sexuality is how many women believe that they too can emulate this concept with no consequences. This is the virtual pivot point in what seems to be the normative dismissal of the romantic relationship and the sexual timeline that has allowed for desire and arousal to evolve within a protected space.

Relationship has always been the container that provides context and safety to open the doors to the mystery of what makes us both erotic and sexual. The millennial rejection of courtship that came before them has serious costs as many of them are coming to realize. The physiology of being male and female, the biological imperative of being entered as opposed to the one penetrating is not just a thought in one’s head.  It is the physical ground of the sexual experience and contains its own emotional truths.

Not long ago, I read about women who said that they never kissed when they hooked up. What has sex become when young millennials say they are willing to do anything else, but kissing is too personal?  It reminds me of the memorable scene in the 80’s film Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts, playing a street whore is picked up by Richard Gere and tells him the same thing. She goes on to describe how she performs her sexual job, “I just go numb, I don’t feel anything… I just do it.” Just because of the fact that there is no monetization of a hook up, doesn’t prevent it from feeling like prostitution. And here is the most pressing question about all this normative bad sex that young people have been duped into believing how sex should work:

How many bad sexual experiences does it take for someone to make life long associations between shame, pain and sex? Maybe less than you imagine.

Stay tuned for more articles on millennials and sex, here at Good Clean Love.