A desperate plea to handwringing pundits everywhere: please, please stop generalizing about Millennials' sex lives.
In an Oct. 22 Forbes article about an instant, portable STD test (which sounds awesome by the way) Bill Frezza bemoans the Millennial attitudes towards sex:
These kids are totally unencumbered by the social mores we Baby Boomers grew up with. They appear to have no shame, no sense of privacy, no modesty, and no concern about their reputations. They treat sex like another form of recreation, like videogames only messier. They want to have commitment-free fun, and they want it now.
Frezza's quote sums up almost every cliche we're tired of hearing about Millennial's sex lives -- few of which are actually grounded in fact. Here are three tropes we just can't get on board with:
1. "Hookup culture" is the new dating.
In August 2012, Hanna Rosin wrote that hookup culture had "largely replaced dating on college campuses and beyond." Cue endless debates about the emotional and physical consequences of casual sex.
But research shows that "hookup culture" might not actually exist -- or at least it isn't as prevalent as we've been led to believe. Sociologist Martin Monto looked at the reported sexual habits of two waves of college students, the first from 1988 to 1996 and the second from 2002 to 2010. He found “no evidence of substantial changes in sexual behavior that would support the proposition that there is a new or pervasive ‘hookup culture’ among contemporary college students.”
2. Women are harmed by Millennial attitudes towards sex. In 2010, Caitlin Flanagan wrote that girls "reluctantly endure" hookup culture -- a viewpoint echoed by many conservative publications. Flanagan expanded on this in her 2012 book Girl Land, claiming: "The men hold all the cards, and the women put up with it because now it's too late... they don't have a choice."
There's little data to suggest that women are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to hooking up. A well-meaning but seriously misguided piece in the New York Times last July investigated the love lives of young women at the University of Pennsylvania, finding that many of them -- gasp -- engage in casual sex and are none the worse for it.
3. Millennials don't want commitment. Millennials are often portrayed as hedonists, skipping from one partner to the next and never settling down. But a recent Gallup poll found that 91 percent of 18-35 year-olds want to get married -- they are simply waiting longer to get hitched. Given that who you choose to spend the rest of your life with is a pretty important decision, surely waiting to find the right person is the responsible thing to do.
What other tropes are you tired of hearing about Millennials and sex? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @HuffPostWomen.
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