Are the Millennials avoiding falling in love? Are they afraid of hooking up? Various studies have been done on this subject and many of those studies come up with different conclusions.
Recent at the Aspen Ideas Festival three AIF panelists and their moderator debated why traditional dating has become so unpopular among “kids these days,” without any millennial representation.
According to a write up of the panel from The Atlantic, author Rachel Greenwald insisted “Romance has gone the way of cursive handwriting.” Yale University lecturer Erika Christakis suggested Ivy League students don’t care for dating anymore. Lori Gottlieb, author of “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” said this was all because millennials were coddled by their parents.”Christakis, a 1986 Harvard graduate, lamented how students’ dating lives today are “such a different experience than my college experience.”
According to a 20-year study of 5,000 college students by University of Maine by Professor Sandra L. Caron, when it comes to sex in college, Gen Y and Gen X are nearly one and the same.
Over two decades, “the incidence of a student having five or more partners has remained relatively unchanged. Today’s college students may think they are unique, but the data shows that the incidence of ‘hooking up’ or what used to be referred to as ‘casual sex’ has remained steady.
University of Portland research corroborates that study.
“In light of the recent explosion of research concerning the hookup culture on college campuses, it is important to note that sexual behavior among contemporary college students has not changed greatly over the past two and a half decades. The alarmist concerns that ‘easy sex is rampant on college campuses today’ are not justiﬁed,” wrote Martin A. Monto and Anna G. Carey, of the University of Portland.
In fact, Generation Y would rather be in a relationship than have several one-night stands, says sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong, who studied students at Indiana University for one year. Armstrong told Rolling Stone earlier this year that the theory “every single generation is more promiscuous than the last, just isn’t true.”
At Ivy Gate, a real-live millennial explained the “real reasons” why Harvard students are choosing not to date, stating bluntly: “You assholes keep saying us millennials are not serious enough so we are focusing on serious things like class and shit instead of dates.”
If anything has changed, according to Caron’s research, it’s that millennials are better at practicing safe sex than the previous generation. Students today are more likely to use birth control medication and condoms.
Despite all the evidence, it seems the message isn’t getting through. How many faulty panel discussions and New York Times articles must we endure before learning that millennials are not a hook up generation?
Maybe if Generation X stopped debating and started listening, they would finally get it.