Let’s talk about sex, baby. Specifically, how various generations differ when it comes to their thoughts about—and knowledge of—what happens between the sheets. A recent study conducted by EveAdam, a U.K.-based online, subscription-based healthcare provider, surveyed about 5,000 people (89 percent of whom identified as women) about bedroom issues and impotence.
One of the key takeaways? Your thoughts on sex and sexual wellness vary pretty drastically based on the year you were born. “This is purely speculative, but I would hypothesize that some of us define sex differently depending on the generation we belong to,” notes Dr. Daniel Atkinson, Clinical Lead at EveAdam. Read on for three of the biggest takeaways from the survey—including why boomers are more into penetrative sex than millennials are.
1. Boomers Like Penetrative Sex More Than Millennials Do
This trend, Dr. Atkinson theorizes, leads us to believe that older people are more specific about precisely what they want out of sex. When polled, 16 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds and 22 percent of 26 35-year-olds reported that penetrative sex was the best part of sex. Conversely, 40 percent of those aged 60 or older reported the same. Dr. Atkinson notes, “If you went back in time and asked someone from the baby boomer generation, when they were younger, whether they enjoy penetrative sex in rotation with other sexual activities, this concept might seem completely alien to them.” Similarly, if you asked someone in their twenties today if they defined sex as a wholly penetrative experience, this, in turn, may seem alien to them. It’s also worth noting, he stresses, that sex has become more socially acceptable over time, adding, “For older generations, sex was seen more as an activity that should only take place within marriages.”
2. Younger People Value Openness With Their Partners
The survey also suggests that the younger someone is, the more likely they would want to know if their partner was taking medication for erectile dysfunction. Specifically, 93 percent of 18 to 25-years-olds would want to know, compared with 77 percent of those aged 60 or older. This could be another result of younger generations viewing sexual wellness as less of a taboo subject. “Again, I am speculating,” Dr. Atkinson says, “But it could be argued that younger people have a more idealized take on things like openness and honesty in relationships, whereas older people may be more likely to subscribe to a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ mentality.” He adds that younger people are more likely to be less experienced in relationships, so the thought of hiding something from their partner seems less appealing. “If an older person has, say, five to 10 serious relationships, that history and level of experience probably makes it more acceptable not to reveal everything about one’s sexual past and whether they need medicinal help with erections.”
3. Older People Better Understand Male Sexual Health
While younger generations might be more open about their sex lives, EveAdam’s surveys suggest that older people are more aware of male sexual health in particular. For example, 65 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds reported they knew what ED was, compared with 81 percent of those aged 60 or older. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, Dr. Atkinson reveals. “The evidence shows that erectile dysfunction is more commonly experienced by older men, so it’s likely something older women and partners have a bit more understanding with and experience of. Younger people encounter it less, and therefore know less about it.” Knowledge is power, folks.