This is what a millennial sex therapist wants you, to know about your love life

The truth is, however, that while me might not like discussing our love lives, sometimes we’re all in need of some helpful and honest advice about what’s going on in the bedroom.

“How’s your love life?” is undoubtedly the question every millennial comes to dread from nosy friends, family, and if you’re anything like Bridget Jones, every drunk dinner party guest. In the words of Mariah, ‘why u so obsessed with me?’

While millennials may have grown up in an internet age where sexual information and imagery is readily available, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Google is our friend when it comes to finding the answers to all our problems.

And contrary to popular belief that millennials are a totally sex-crazed generation having hookups left right and centre, the majority are actually doing it far less than we think.

There are other issues to contend with too, such as excessive porn consumption, the rise of anxiety and impossible body standards. At the same time, millennials are more progressive than Generation X, having conversations around desire, consent and body positivity.

Here to illuminate all your questions about what millennial sex is really like is psychosexual and relationship therapist Carolyn Cowan. From understanding how anxiety is affecting your libido to tips for spicing up your sex life, read on to find out your biggest concerns, and how to tackle them.

Plus, the million dollar question: how much sex are millennial couples are really having?

What are the three biggest concerns you get from millennial couples?

The three biggest concerns that millennial couples come to see me about are:

– Lack of sex
– Difference in desire
– Issues for the woman in her career options if she gets pregnant.

Then, sometimes only one person in a couple presents these issues:

– Painful sex
– Fear of oral both giving and receiving
– Pressure on women to be sexual
– Men not feeling it
– Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation
– Boring sex
– Pressure to do anal

Are their jobs having an impact on their sex lives?

Yes, this is a definite problem. So many people are exhausted, and have no time to spare.

There is also a huge pressure to be sexual and to look sexual.

Many people have an inability to manage their emotions, taking them out on their partner.

There are expectations of the other, and then there’s also the difficult issue of collusion with colleagues.

How much sex is the average millennial couple having? How much should they be having?

If lucky, once a month! If unlucky, it is either bad sex or no sex.
How much sex should they be having? I don’t really have a rule.
What I do see is that there is a huge amount of porn use, and lots of solo masturbation.

What three pieces of advice do you give them?

1. Go on dates
2. Make time for sex
3. Play with consent games.

Consent especially makes a massive difference, relationally, emotionally, physically and sexually.

Consent is all about working with 4 quadrants: Can I touch you? I would like to touch you. I would like you to touch me. Would you like to touch me? This can then expand into a million possibilities of expression of likes, needs, desire, arousal and more.

It is a great way to establish and explore boundaries in a relationship and I always suggest that it is begun without any sexual connotation or requests. That the trust is built up first. It will instantly trigger the “attachment” issues in both parties and really helps put in place what both parties actually like, want, need and desire.

What’s a great way to spark a better sex life?

– Recognising that consent really matters.
– Learning to play with consent.
– Change it up: Don’t keep having the same sex in the same place. Go to a hotel, go to the woods, dress up.

How is anxiety having an impact on love lives?

Anxiety is such a big issue in society in general, and it has a massive impact on people’s sex lives. It can include:

– Erectile dysfunction
– Porn use
– Solo masturbation over connection
– Dating apps
– Sex with total strangers
– Anxiety and risk go hand in hand
– Loss of desire
– Pain on penetration…the list is long.

The long-term issues of the mass anxiety that is now being experienced have not been fully explored yet. There is huge disconnect from the penis, there is a rise in behaviours that are high risk because the arousal template is being linked to anxiety and this constantly needs feeding. It constantly expands. So the kind of porn being viewed gets more high risk both in terms of the violence being viewed and the choice of age of the subject being watched. Sex is one way that we soothe when anxious. Ask how many masturbate when anxious and the answer is many. Computers are making way for many “secrets” which sadly are not so. But the shame created by the behaviours, not only porn but dating apps and random strangers, creates more of a pull towards high risk behaviours and on it all goes.

What do you see for the future of millenials and their love lives?

I am glad there are a growing number of sex educators. I think that anxiety and sexual function needs exploring. It is an emerging issue for many of the reasons I listed above. I run a monthly supervision group for sex therapists looking only at sexual anxiety and the massive emerging problem.

Body image continues to be a big issue, as does sexual shame, and also a chronic lack of sex education and the over use of porn and dating apps.

Sex is now largely considered to be penetration and so is very penis-focused. This is not good for the female partner as her needs are less regarded or met.

Many women have no idea of what they want and frighteningly, don’t know how to say no.

With many clients I am running basic sex education and arousal cycle workshops for women so they better understand how their bodies work.

What’s your advice for single millennials?

– Go on courses to learn about sex.
– Read books about having good sex
– Ask a sex therapist to help you with things you fear, do not like, don’t know how to say no to, or cannot ask for.

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