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“Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals ofcourtship.” The traditional methods of dating and courtship are out; endlessly jumping from fling to fling is in.And women, despite the supposed benefits of sexual liberation, are coming out losers in this hurried new sexual landscape — used, then discarded in a pile of dick pics.
But there are still millions of young people muddling through relatively “traditional” experiences of dating (and romanticdeprivation).It doesn’t bear on the overall finding that there’s no sign of an explosion in promiscuity.(To be fair, the paper’s data ends in 2012, which was pre-Tinder, but well into the era of OKCupid and other online dating services that opened up a whole new world of sex and datingpartners.) Twenge told me that when she spoke with Sales, the journalist seemed to have arrived with some preconceived notions of what the real story was here, and was therefore very skeptical of Twenge’s data.There will inevitably be some bias in who you talk to, or in who’s willing to talk to you; in Sales’ case, we hear almost exclusively from young, single people who are active (sometimes overactive) Tinder users, and almost entirely from men who are constantly looking for casual sex.In other words, Sales is talking to exactly the sorts of people you’d expect to use dating apps in a way that will help them find more people to sleep with, and then, having discovered that these promiscuous people use a promiscuity-enabling app to find other promiscuous people to have promiscuous sex with, reporting back to us that we’re in the midst of a promiscuity-fueled dating “revolution” in how people deal with romance and sex.Later in her email to me, Sales referenced Twenge’s argument in her paper that the fear of could explain the fact that while acceptance of casual sex is going up, there hasn’t quite been a commensurate rise in the number of people’s sexual partners.
“This really didn’t seem correct to me, either, since fear of wrong.
Twenge is the co-author, with Ryne Sherman of Florida Atlantic University, of a study released earlier this year in which the pair analyzed the results of the General Social Survey, a (mostly) annual, nationally representative survey that’s been administered for decades, between 19.
The data, culled from between about 27,000 and 33,000 Americans (there were different numbers of responses available for different questions and years), showed that millennials appear to be having sex with fewer partners than the last couple generations were — specifically, “Number of sexual partners increased steadily between the If dating culture were in fact imploding into a sticky morass of one-night-stands in any meaningful way, it would likely show up in this sort of data.
Where are the men and women who find lifetime partners from these apps?
(Just off the top of my head, I can think of one guy I know who met his husband on Grindr and a woman who met her fiancé on Tinder, as well as countless long-term relationships that started on OKCupid.) Where are the many, many millennials who get married in their early or mid-20s?
“She said, ‘Well, I’ve gone around the country talking to college students and adults and all I’m hearing is about the hooking up and so on. “I said, ‘Well, there’s a really big difference between going around and talking to people and a nationally representative survey,’ and I must have repeated that five or six times, and it was clear she was not really hearing me.’” Twenge made it sound like a classic case of journalistic and social-scientific culture clashing: “Suffice to say that this reporter had her conclusion and then just didn’t want to believe anything I told her about her analysis,” Twenge I emailed Sales about Twenge’s work: “The conclusions of the study seemed somewhat suspect to me,” she said. For example: It finds that, while millennials have more open and accepting attitudes about sex, they also have fewer sex partners. Nor did it make sense that people who are waiting longer to marry (or not marrying at all, so far) — that is, millennials — would also have fewer sex partners than past generations, who marriedearlier.” But it doesn’t matter whether the conclusions of the study “make sense” to Sales.