Is Gen Z Having Less Sex? (Statistics Say Yes)

In America, 25% of Gen Z adults report that they have not yet had partnered sex and 1 in 5 identifies as LGBT.
split screen image featuring a graphic about gen sexuality on the left featuring four grey silhouettes of people and one colored green depicting that one in five gen z adults (about 21%) identifies as lgbtq, with a photograph of a young woman wearing headphones while looking at her laptop screen on the right
Updated:December 2023

One in four adults who belong to Generation Z report not having yet had partnered sex [5], and about 1 in 5 (20.8%) identify as LGBTQ+ [3].

Key Statistics To Know:

  • 25% of Gen Z adults reported that they have not yet had partnered sex. [5]
  • 30.9% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported no sexual activity in the past year, compared to 14.1% of Millennial men aged 25 to 34 reporting the same. [1]
  • About 19% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having no sexual activity in the past year, compared to 12.6% of Millennial women aged 25 to 34 reporting the same. [1]
  • About 60% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 and 30% of Gen Z men belonging to the same age group reported having 1 sexual partner in the past year. [1]
  • A poll of more than 12,000 adults in the United States found that 20.8% of Gen Z adults (1 in 5) identify as LGBTQ+, compared to 10.5% of Millennials, 4.2% of Generation Xers, and 2.6% of Baby Boomers. [3]
  • One study found that adults belonging to Gen Z “reported the highest levels of stress and anxiety” compared to Millennials and Gen X. Additionally, “the more stressed and anxious people said they felt, the less sexually active they were.” [5]

In this article, we’ll share statistics and data relating to Gen Z sex lives, including frequency, partners, sexuality and orientation, and explore the reasons why Gen Z seems to be having less sex compared to older generations.

Editor’s Note: Gen Z is generally considered to have been born between 1997 and 2010-12, although the exact span is somewhat contested, even among experts. [6, 7, 8

For the purposes of this article, our research focused on only the most recent studies and the latest findings relating to those born between the mid-90s and 2012.

Gen Z Is Having Less Sex

bar graph depicting that among gen z adults aged 18 to 24, 54.1% of men and 55.4% of women have had vaginal sex in the past 30 days
  • 1 in 4 Gen Z adults ages 18-24 (25%) report that they have not yet had partnered sex. [5]
  • From 2016 to 2018, 30.9% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported no sexual activity in the past year. [1]
  • By comparison, from 2016 to 2018, only 14.1% of Millennial men aged 25 to 34 years old reported having no sexual activity in the previous year. [1]
  • From 2016 to 2018, about 19% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having no sexual activity in the past year. [1]
  • By comparison, from 2016 to 2018, 12.6% of Millennial women aged 25 to 34 reported having no sexual activity in the previous year. [1]
  • During the same period (2016 to 2018), less than 10% of Millennial and Gen X men and women aged 35 to 44 reported having no sexual activity in the past year. [1]
  • A 2021 study found that 54.1% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 had vaginal sex in the previous 30 days, compared to 61.9% of Millennial men aged 25 to 29 and 68.8% of Millennial men aged 30 to 39. [2]
  • A 2021 study found that 55.4% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 had vaginal sex in the previous 30 days, compared to 62% of Millennial women aged 25 to 29 and 70.9% of Millennial women aged 30 to 39.[2]
  • In 2021, 50.6% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported having oral sex in the previous 30 days, compared to 58.7% of Millennial men aged 25 to 29 and 63% of Millennial men aged 30 to 39. [2]
  • In 2021, 50.3% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having oral sex in the previous 30 days, compared to 54.5% of Millennial women aged 25 to 29 and 57.8% of Millennial women aged 30 to 39. [2]
  • Among Gen Z men and women aged 18 to 24, only 16.5% and 12.6% had engaged in anal sex in the previous 30 days, respectively. [2]
  • In comparison, 25.4% of Millennial men aged 25 to 29 and 14% of Millennial women aged 25 to 29 reported having anal sex in the past 30 days. [2]

Compared to previous generations, Gen Z is having less sex.

Some reasons may include later age marriage (with or without premarital sex), lesser likelihood to marry (and thus lesser likelihood to have a consistent sex partner), an increase in non-penetrative sexual behaviors (like oral sex), and increased technology/social media use thereby reducing social interaction.

Gen Z Sex Partners Per Year

donut chart on gen z abstinence depicting that 25% of gen z adults (1 in 4) report that they have not yet had partnered sex
  • In 2022, 1 in 4 Gen Z adults ages 18-24 (25%) reports not yet having partnered sex at any point in the past, at the time surveyed. [5]
  • In 2021, Gen Z men and women aged 18 to 24 reported having about one sexual partner in the past year, on average. [2]
  • Between 2016 and 2018, about 60% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having 1 sexual partner in the past year. [1]
  • From 2016 to 2018, 30% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported having 1 sexual partner in the past year. [1]
  • Between 2016 and 2018, about 8% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having 2 sexual partners in the past year. [1]
  • Between 2016 and 2018, about 15% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported having had 2 sexual partners in the past year. [1]
  • From 2016 to 2018, about 12% of Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 reported having 3 or more sexual partners in the past year. [1]
  • From 2016 to 2018, about 22% of Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 reported having had 3 or more sexual partners in the past year. [1]

In general, the Gen Z trend has been to have fewer sexual partners, with a majority of sexually active individuals having only 1 sexual partner.

Gen Z Sexuality: An Overview

illustrative graphic featuring five silhouettes of young people in different positions with one colored green to depict that one in five gen z adults (about 21%) identifies as lgbtq
  • A poll of more than 12,000 adults in the United States found that 20.8% of Gen Z adults (1 in 5) identify as LGBT, compared to 10.5% of Millennials, 4.2% of Generation Xers, and 2.6% of Baby Boomers. [3]
  • Among Gen Z adults, 75.7% identify as straight or heterosexual, compared to 82.5% of Millennials, 89.3% of Generation Xers, and 90.7% of Baby Boomers. [3]
  • Among those adults polled in 2021, 3.5% of Gen Z, 7.1% of Millennials, 6.5% of Generation X, and 6.8% of Baby Boomers chose not to respond when asked to identify their sexual orientation. [3]
  • Among Gen Z adults, 15% are bisexual, 2.5% are gay, 2% are lesbian, 2.1% are transgender, and 1.2% identify as other. [3]
  • One study found that among Generation Z respondents, 40.5% “always” use condoms, 22.7% use them “sometimes,” 17.7% “rarely” use them, and 19% “never” use them. Additionally, there was no significant difference compared to Millennials. [4]
  • Among Gen Z men aged 18 to 24 in 2020, 69.4% had oral sex, 68.2% had vaginal sex, and 23.5% had anal sex at some point in their lifetime. [2]
  • Among Gen Z women aged 18 to 24 in 2020, 68.6% had oral sex, 68.6% had vaginal sex, and 26.9% had anal sex at some point in their lifetime. [2]
  • Among Gen Z adults who reported that they have not yet had partnered sex, 31% say they’ve engaged in cybersex or sexting. [5]

In many ways, Gen Z experiences greater sexual diversity in terms of sexual orientation/identity, a majority have had oral and vaginal sex, and a sizable minority have had anal sex.

Further, many of those who are not sexually active in a physical sense are “sexually active” in a digital space.

Why Is Gen Z Having Less Sex?

text graphic about why gen z is having less sex that reads: compared to previous generations, namely millennials and gen x, adults in gen z reported the highest levels of anxiety and stress, impacting their amount of sexual activity
  • One study found that adults belonging to Gen Z “reported the highest levels of stress and anxiety” compared to Millennials and Gen X. Additionally, “the more stressed and anxious people said they felt, the less sexually active they were.” [5]
  • Stressors among Gen Z adults include social media toxicity, financial challenges (including student debt), and anxiety over the state of the world (i.e. climate change and violence). [5]
  • As a result of Roe v. Wade being overturned, 19.5% of Gen Z women “are afraid of having sexual intercourse” and 37% of Gen Z women “are afraid of becoming pregnant.” [5]
  • 48% of Gen Z respondents said that sex on the first date is a “relationship dealbreaker,” having a higher interest in forming long-term relationships with partners. [5]

There are several factors contributing to lesser sexual activity among Gen Z.

Importantly, in many studies, “sexually active” tends to mean “having vaginal intercourse” or the number of “sex partners” is actually measured as the number of “vaginal sex partners.”

However, with the rise in LGBTQ+ identity, an increase in oral and anal sex, and the popularity of sex toys — at least some are simply focusing on non-penetrative sex.

Plus, the increase in technology and social media use has reduced in-person socializing, thereby reducing the likelihood of finding a partner.

Sources: