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The French made love less than 15 years ago: the reasons for this “sexual recession” will surprise you!

According to a study published by IFOP last January, the French are less sexually active than their elders fifteen years ago. Cause of this decline in sexual activity? An unsuspected competitor: screens (among others).

Every new year is a time to take stock. So, at the beginning of 2024, the IFOP decided to put the sexuality of its inhabitants under control. Given the data observed, their observation is clear: the French make love less than in the past. In fact, 76% of French people have had sexual intercourse in the last year, compared to 91% in 2006.

We might expect Generation Z to be less affected by this phenomenon, thanks to a freer, more tolerant, less stigmatizing or guilty vision of sexuality… But it’s yet another cliché that we actually need to discard! Because this sexual inactivity is all the more marked among them young people aged 18 to 24already sexually initiated: they are therefore close 28% have not had sexual intercourse in the last 12 months, five times more than 15 years ago. But then, how to explain it? The reasons given by the study’s researchers may shock you.

A growing disinterest in sex, an interest in tenderness

The first reason is simple: the French have less desire to make love, and are less frustrated if struck by the absence of sexuality. In this sense they are 59% say that the absence of sexual intercourse is “not really”, or even “not at all difficult to live with” in absolute terms. Faced with this sexual recession, it seems that these “abstainers” do not really experience sexual dissatisfaction.

In addition to this potential frustration, they also attach much less importance to it than they did 28 years ago: in 1996, sex was “somewhat important” or “very important” to 82 percent of women surveyed. Today it is only for 62% of them.

In fact, what they miss most, as single people, is tenderness : cuddles, kisses, caresses. If the two notions are not contradictory, almost 86% of them say they are most affected by the lack of tenderness than by not having sex.

Furthermore, the frequency of sexual intercourse also decreased: On average, 50% of French people under 60 have sexual intercourse per week, up from 65% in 2005.

“Digital competition” versus physical relationships: People in relationships prefer screens to physical relationships

For people under 35, who are in a relationship and live under the same roof, another observation risks leaving you speechless. According to this same study, many young people who have been sexually inactive for more than a year already are avoid coitus to watch a film or series, on television or on streaming platforms such as Netflix. Thereby, almost half of them derive more pleasure from entertainment on screen than from having sexual intercourse with their lover.


And it doesn’t end here. Another observation that may leave us speechless: it certainly seems so Video games and social networks have also interfered with the privacy and sexuality of the French. According to the IFOP, 53% of men under 35 who live as a couple say they prefer to play rather than sleep with their partner. 48% of them prefer to spend their time scrolling on social networks (sharing photos and/or videos such as TikTok or Instagram) rather than engaging in the sexual act.

A mirror of the progress of our societies? Less “forced” sex.

Obviously, if some are worried about it increased sexual inactivity, they are partly wrong to have bad blood. In fact, IFOP researchers explain that this decline in sexual activity, particularly among women, is linked to progress in concept of consensus in the collective consciousness and in our society. According to this study, 52% of women aged 18 to 49 say they sometimes make love without wanting to, up from 76% in 1981. Sexual debt and marital duty would therefore be less oppressive for women than they were 15 years ago!

Sources:

“The Sex Recession: do the French make love less?”, Ifop study for LELO carried out using a self-administered online questionnaire from 29 December 2023 to 2 January 2024 on a sample of 1,911 people, representative of the French population aged 18 and over


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