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Sex Talk, With Millennials: Part III

Sex is complicated. It’s great (I mean, really great) (Did I mention it’s great?)

… but it’s also complicated, especially within a dating culture that has — and continues to — evolve in major ways, to redefine our modern understanding of relationships, intimacy, sex and sexuality.

If anything, the more media attempts to conceptualize millennial dating and sexual culture, and the more stories my friends and I swap over one (or a few) glasses of wine, the more I find myself thinking about it.

When it comes to millennials specifically (since our generation is especially interesting in the frame of cultural discussions), what are our sex lives really like? Are we truly comfortable discussing our sexuality, our preferences, our desires, our needs or our insecurities? Are we really having more sex? Are we having more orgasms? Are we confident in the bedroom? Is casual sex coming at the price of intimacy? Are we all satisfied? Are we really that open, sexually?

So, naturally, I decided to bombard my social network with all those questions we all (I would bet) have considered, or even touched on, to get a real sense of how Millennials feel about their sex lives right now. And with that, I welcome you back to the series — Sex Talk, With Millennials, for Part III.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out Part II yet, don’t worry, I’ve linked it here.

  1. 1. What Makes a Great Sexual Experience?

Out with the bad, in with the (really) good. In the previous instalments of this series we talked a lot about what not to do, but what about the sexual highlight reels? What makes millennials the most attracted to someone? There were far too many answers to list here, but I’ve included some of the most popular opinions…

– “Someone who’s passionate and attentive”
– “Confidence and humour”
– “Personal connection and chemistry with one another”
– “Teasing and playfullness”
– “Don’t be afraid to be passionate and engaged, unselfish but take charge when you want to get yours”
– “Someone who is entirely confident in their own skin and with their sexuality”
– “Attentiveness and a natural connection/chemistry”

Of course, while I had everyone’s attention I wanted to delve a little bit deeper to see if there was a dominant preference when asked the age-old question: Morning Sex or Evening Sex? Interestingly, 43% voted for Morning while 57% voted for Evening.

  1. 2. Is Bad Sex a Deal Breaker?

    So, what if it doesn’t ‘click’ with a partner in the bedroom? Is that a deal-breaker? 65% of the millennials I polled voted Definitely, while 35% said No. However, when asked to elaborate, working through it with communication and giving the sexual connection a chance to evolve seemed to be a popular opinion. Ultimately, establishing a strong intimate connection with someone and understanding their wants and needs (and the ways in which they align with your own) is a process in itself, one which will be different with each new partner. It also requires effective, open communication — so, if you’re hoping to explore a sexual connection with someone further, talk to them about it. Some connections and chemistry may just require a little more TLC to evolve and reach their potential.

But while we’re on the topic… just how important is sex in a relationship? 87% of my viewers said So Important, while only 13% said Not As Important.

Of course, there is no clearly defined “normal” amount of sex to be having; every individual and couple are likely to have different ideas of what constitutes a healthy sex drive. Research has shown that happy couples have sex about once a week, which prompted me to ask if my audience is having as much sex as they would like/if they are satisfied with their current sex life. 44% voted Yes while 56% said Could Be Better. When asked what the ideal amount of sex (in a relationship or otherwise) is, the majority of respondents answered 3-4 times per week.

3. Let’s Talk Pleasure

Let me preface this by saying I deliberately segmented these questions based on gender (in order to get a clear picture of the male vs. female experience) and still had countless guys chiming in on lady-specific questions. Guys, please don’t make this about you — if you can’t allow the chance for women to speak to their sexual experience without your input clouding the results well, that’s part of the problem. 

Ladies: Do your male partners pay enough attention to your pleasure in bed? 60% (and a handful of men) answered Yes while 40% answered No.

Men: How often do you feel fulfilled (AKA finish) from a sexual experience? 87% said Majority of the Time while only 13% said Not Often (I like those odds). When I asked the ladies that same question, we had a 50/50 split between Majority of the Time and Not Often. This isn’t entirely surprising though, as studies show that only 8% of women can orgasm from intercourse alone, while 95% of guys can.

In fact, orgasms are a notoriously varied experience, with people of different genders and sexual orientations experiencing orgasms at vastly different frequencies. According to studies, straight women are less likely to reach orgasm than lesbian women, and bisexual women experience orgasm the least frequently of all. And in a survey of 2,850 single men and women, women were found to experience orgasm with a familiar partner at an average rate of 63%, while men reached orgasm more than 85% of the time.

I also asked if there is a perceived double standard (yes, even in 2019) around women pursuing casual sex vs. men. While some articles may argue that millennial culture has pushed those gender-based sexual/social stereotypes aside, the millennials I polled would disagree with a predominant 84% voting for Totally and 16% voting for No Way.

4. Laws of Attraction

When it comes to sex, attraction is an (obviously) necessary part of the equation. But what kind  of attraction matters most? Physical/sexual attraction involves the desire for a sexual relationship, while romantic/emotional attraction focuses more on an intimate, emotional connection with someone. Especially in the age of Tinder, one might think we’ve been rewired to thrive off the prioritization of physical connections over emotional attachments, as we swipe, meet up (and sometimes sleep with) people purely based off their appearance showcased through an app.

And yet, when I asked which is more important to the sexual experience, only 29% of millennials voted for Physical Attraction while 71% opted for Emotional Connection. Further, if they had to choose between great sex or great conversation, only 38% of those polled voted for Great Sex while 62% voted for Great Conversation.

5. Are We Givers or Receivers?

I’m admittedly feeling some scepticism as to whether or not we were all being honest with this one, but of course, I had to ask what earns the most satisfaction in bed… giving pleasure or receiving it? According to my polls, 70% said Giving and 30% said Receiving. This prompted me to frame the question in a different way — If it came down to choosing between your orgasm/pleasure or your partners, which would you (honestly) choose? Interestingly, the breakdown was almost identical to the previous question with 69% voting for their partner’s and 31% voting for their own.

I’m not done just yet… So stay tuned for Part IV.

Lauren Ramesbottom

Lauren is a full-time writer, content marketer and staff writer at Notable life. Born in Alabama but raised in Dallas, Lauren now lives downtown, Toronto while pursuing her writing career and working as a kickbox coach and personal trainer. You can follow her on Instagram @laurenramesbottom