New research has found that Milennials today have fewer sex partners than those who were part of both the Baby Boomers and Generation X during the 1950's and 1960's. The study, conducted by researchers at San Diego University, found that people from the Baby Boomer and Generation X generations had an average of 11 sexual partners while Millennials born in the 1980's and 1990's have 8 sexual partners.
"The changes are primarily due to generation - suggesting people develop their sexual attitudes while young, rather than everyone of all ages changing at the same time," lead researcher from San Diego State University, Jean M. Twenge says.
While the young generation still has sex outside of uncommitted relationships, but they are clearly doing so with fewer partners. According to Twenge, this result was actually unexpected.
"The changes have caused a large generation gap in both attitudes toward premarital sex and number of sexual partners. It's the first generation to always ride in a car seat, have safer playgrounds, and have parents who won't let them walk to the playground."
"Maybe that is coming into play with Millennials - they're more cautious."
For the study, researchers conducted a survey of 33,000 adults in the United States that was taken between 1972 and 2012. The study also observed that people today are more tolerant towards premarital sex. Homosexuality has also benefited by a greater degree of acceptance as well, up from 13 percent in 1999 to 44 percent in 2012.
"Millennials are more accepting of premarital sex than any previous generation, yet have had fewer sexual partners than GenX'ers. This is consistent with their image as a tolerant, individualistic generation accepting others' choices and making their own," Twenge says.
"In the 1950s and earlier, men and women rarely lived together before marriage, unmarried women who bore children were shunned, and homosexuality was considered shameful. In more recent times and among more recent generations, however, Americans are presumably more accepting of sexual activity outside of marriage and more likely to participate in it."
Twenge says the findings show a tolerant attitude amongst millennials and a cultural shift away from traditional social rules and convention. "The viewpoint is that as long as you're not hurting me, you can do whatever you want."
"When the culture places more emphasis on the needs of the self and less on social rules, more relaxed attitudes toward sexuality are the almost inevitable result."