By Almara Abgarian
Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.
As human beings, we like to attribute societal trends and cultural shifts to a specific generation.
Sexual trends are no exception.
Generation X, people born in the early to mid-60s to early 80s, were influenced by the sexual revolution and ruled by the blowjob, while Millennials embraced anal sex.
Back in 1992, 16% of 18 to 24-year-old women reported they’d tried anal sex. Now, it’s 40% of people by age 24.
Data suggests 94% of women who had anal sex in their last encounter achieved orgasm. That compares 81% for oral sex and 64% for vaginal orgasm.
It’s not as simple as anal sex equals orgasm but having anal sex as part of people’s sexual experience seems to show more sexual satisfaction.
Generation Z has seen conventional sexual roles removed and have taken anal play one step further with pegging – a woman wearing a strap-on and inserting this into the man’s anus.
LoveHoney reported a 200% increase in sales of strap-ons in 2017 and it has continued to grow since then.
So what’s the next taboo to be broken?
‘Society is moving away from the idea that vaginal penetrative sex is the only accepted form of sexual intercourse,’ said Sienna Halliburton, sex expert at Je Joue.
‘Blowjobs, anal sex and pegging have moved, or are still moving, away from being seen as taboo subjects into the realm of “normal” conversation.
‘Greater interest in sex education and liberalising attitudes towards gender and sexuality are largely responsible for these shifts.
‘So what is still a taboo subject that can be broken? Mutual masturbation.’
Masturbation ‘will overtake penetration’
People now developing their sexual identity have been born into an era concentrated on social media and technology, where interaction can be confined to a computer or smartphone.
Research shows that they’re given less opportunities to interact with others at school, with young people half as likely to meet up with peers in person, compared to 2006.
Some experts conclude that this will lead to a lack of social skills, which in turn will cause the next generation to become less interested in penetrative sex with a partner and more focused on masturbation.
‘Sexual content is at their fingertips 24/7 as they navigate the world via smartphones, tablets, and laptops,’ Chelsea Reynolds, assistant professor at the Department of Communications at California State University, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Because they are exposed to porn, sexting, and online dating at a young age, they feel online-mediated sexuality is natural.
‘What they aren’t comfortable with is face-to-face communication.
‘If Gen X’s thing was the blowjob, millennials’ thing was anal, and Gen Z is into pegging, the next generation will likely be the masturbation generation.
‘For 20 years now there has been a downward trend in teen sexual activity.
‘Teenagers have been consistently losing their virginities at an older age and having fewer sexual partners overall. Although teen sexuality may [be] less taboo than it used to be, teens have a million sexual outlets today that don’t involve genital contact.’
Virtual Reality sex
Another sexual trend influenced by technology is the rise of virtual reality (VR).
Through VR tools, people will be able to act out their wildest fantasies without judgement, as well as find (or create) sexual partners without having to step outside their door.
The opportunity already exists to some degree; the US-based company, Naughty America, allows its users to ‘star’ in porn films, while on adult sites, there are entire sections dedicated to virtual reality-inspired porn.
‘Naturally, the next step from here to take sex to the next level is virtual reality sex,’ Paul Jacques, technical manager at Lovehoney, tells Metro.co.uk.
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‘Virtual reality as an industry is booming, and the adult industry is right there taking part in it, with haptic feedback devices (the application of forces, vibrations and motions to help recreate the sense of touch for the user) and full-rendered environments fulfilling consumer fantasies.
‘Companies like Kiiroo and Fleshlight have created toys like the Launch, that combine a really great sex toy with an automatic device that can be linked to online content. CyberSkin’s twerking realistic butt comes with a VR headset that provides a link between the motions you see onscreen and the movements of the toy itself.
‘Particularly of interest is the rise of app-controlled toys, which are shaking up the industry in every way, and ultra-realistic, highly sophisticated sex-cessories, which are starting to make even the most unusual sci-fi fantasies seem like reality.’
Sex will be less important in relationships and introduced later in life
If masturbation becomes the sexual trend that defines the next generation, could people stop having sex altogether?
Sally Baker, a senior therapist, explains that not only will young people have sex later in life – starting in their 30s – but sex will also lose its importance in society as a whole.
This may have already come into motion, with research revealing British people are having less sex than before.
Additional statistics from dating website OKCupid show similar trends, with both millennials and Generation Z prioritising love over sex, or opting out completely because they are ‘risk-averse’.
‘Abstinence or non-penetrative sex could be the next thing,’ Baker tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Friends of any gender mix and sexual orientation will commit to having a primary sexless relationship with each other. Couples or small cores of people will no longer be defined by a shared sexual orientation but by shared values, drives and their mutual emotional need to be together.
‘Young people will commonly delay sexual experience with anyone well into their 30s even if they are already living in a committed relationship.
‘Sex if and when it does take place might well happen externally of the central relationship. A couple may choose to have sex with other people while maintaining their core sexless relationship as their primary commitment.
‘Sex with other people will not be a cause of jealousy or a disruptor of their primary relationship.
‘Sex with others will not overshadow the primacy of their key relationship because they consider the supremacy of their key relationship transcends all base instincts.’
Couples will focus on ‘non-hierarchical’ sexual experiences
That all sounds like a really progressive way to experience relationships but, for those in the older generations, it could look from the outside to be very confusing.
‘If sex happens within a young couple, it will often be solitary and perfunctory,’ Sally Baker says.
‘If they do have sex together, the emphasis would be on mutual extended foreplay and de-emphasising or excluding penetrative sex. This ensures the sex they experience is non-hierarchical and non-binary.
‘Couples will not value sexual imperatives and sexuality takes second place to their desire to experience deep commitment and loyalty for and with each other.
‘Gen A will be highly motivated to form long-term committed relationships as a survival strategy to cope with the disconnect they experience in their lives and careers.
‘Feeling overwhelmed and anxious while living in increasingly inhospitable economic conditions will make it impossible to be single and to thrive.’
If that’s the case, then the sexual taboo of the next generation could be no sex at all.
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