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I’m Done With the Obsession With What Millennials Are up to, Especially in the Bedroom

Don't we have anything else to talk about?

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Millennials and Gen Z have “killed” many things: the housing market, diamonds, breakfasts other than avocado toast … and now, we’re apparently killing romance/sex/dating.

The Atlantic recently published an article about the lack of sex that younger generations are having, which, I suppose, is an issue we can cover now that the avocado toast crisis has been adequately covered. The author goes over everything from a decrease in sexual activity in teenagers to “hookup culture” for adults. There’s discussion of Tinder, of economic pressure, and of course, #MeToo:

“Laurie Mintz, who teaches a popular undergraduate class on the psychology of sexuality at the University of Florida, told me that the #MeToo movement has made her students much more aware of issues surrounding consent. She has heard from many young men who are productively reexamining their past actions and working diligently to learn from the experiences of friends and partners. But others have described less healthy reactions, like avoiding romantic overtures for fear that they might be unwelcome. In my own conversations, men and women alike spoke of a new tentativeness and hesitancy. One woman who described herself as a passionate feminist said she felt empathy for the pressure that heterosexual dating puts on men. “I think I owe it to them, in this current cultural moment particularly, to try to treat them like they’re human beings taking a risk talking to a stranger,” she wrote me. ‘There are a lot of lonely, confused people out there, who have no idea what to do or how to date.'”

I appreciate the first half of that sentiment, I really do, but for heaven’s sake, I really am not going to be overly sympathetic towards men who are finally being forced to consider whether their behavior is creepy or not. We can respect each other while still setting boundaries, and also recognize that behavior can still be creepy whether the person’s actions are well intentioned or not.

There’s more to digest in this article, such as people now feeling more free to decline bad or coercive sex and the vanity of dating apps, but given the sheer number of articles written about why millennials and Gen Z have killed 90% of the American dream, I find it hard to engage with an article that feels so very invasive and pointed. I’m really tired of the constant think pieces about why the younger generations are somehow contributing to the end of the heteronormative, white dreams of the fifties.

We’ve killed everything from mayonnaise to American cheese. A writer for Broadly summed up my own confusion on this concept, writing,

“But even I have to scratch my head at some of the stuff that people my age have been charged with wantonly slaughtering. It seems a little improbable that we could engage in the wholesale destruction of so many things, considering we are also apparently too lazy to save for our first mortgage and too scared to even touch uncooked food. But I didn’t want to sit on my ass and make assumptions about the occurrence of social phenomena without actually doing the fieldwork. Maybe there were good reasons for why certain industries and businesses were dying, and maybe they had to do with the fact they were unappealing to my demographic.”

Smarter writers than I have tackled the reasons for this obsession with millennials and why certain industries are dying, but on this lovely holiday, let us simply ask: What is the point?

There’s no good reason to unpack why millennials are choosing to abstain from sex. From a sociological perspective, it’s fascinating, but too often it’s presented as an “oooh, look at the odd younger kids”-type piece. How much sex we are or are not choosing to have is 100% our own business and doesn’t affect anyone else. It’s not here for the Baby Boomers to cluck their tongues at as they decry Tinder and online dating.

Millennials, as quoted above, are supposedly either too lazy or entitled to know how to care for themselves, or scheming monsters out to destroy industries. There is no middle ground, apparently, but really, does it have to be the source of speculative pieces that can be shared around by right-wingers as a sign of how the liberal youth will lead to our societal decline?

We already field enough questions at the holidays. Let’s leave Tinder for another day.

(via The Atlantic, image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.