A new study produced by Cambridge University statistician David Spiegelhalter suggests the cause of declining sex trends over the past 30 years is Netflix.
Spiegelhalter, a highly-cited British statistician and author of the book, Sex By Numbers, believes a culture surrounding box-set binge-watching is responsible for the declining sex rates.
“How many times have you had sex in the last four weeks?” Speigelhalter asked an audience at the annual Hay Festival in Wales, UK. “You can start seeing the changes in society.”
Spiegelhalter continued, “People are having less sex. Sexually active couples between 16 and 64 were asked and the median was five times in the last month in 1990, then four times in 2000 and three times in 2010.”
Since 1990, according to Telegraph UK, the numerical decrease from an average of 5 times sex per month to an average of 3 times sex per month represents a 40% decrease in sex rates over 20 years. Spiegeler predicts based on statistical models that should the current trends continue, couples in 2030 can expect to not have sex at all, a “very worrying” drift.
In the past, researchers have suggested that the decline in sex frequency occurs when couples kill their bedroom mood by bringing their iPads to bed with them. But Speigelhalter attributed it instead to the constant desire to always be connected and never be bored, fueled by the rise of Netflix binge-watching and box sets such as Game of Thrones. Spiegelhalter's lecture continued:
You say why? Statisticians say I don’t know. One of the researchers mentioned the word iPad. I think it’s the box set, Netflix. OMG I’ve got to watch the entire second series of Game of Thrones.
The point is that this massive connectivity, the constant checking of our phones compared to just a few years ago when TV closed down at 10.30pm or whatever and there was nothing else to do. Even power cuts which helps. Now people are having less sex and it’s true.
Spiegelhalter said couples who have sex more often are more likely to give birth to boys, based on statistical evidence on women who get pregnant earlier in their ovulation cycles. He attributes this phenomenon to the surge of boys that were born at the end of wars, when soldiers would return to their homes and have increased amount of sex.
If you’re having a lot of sex then it’s more likely you’ll get pregnant before the time of peak fecundity… What happens at the end of wars is d-mob and home on leave. A time of intense sexual and unprotected activity is at the end of wars. I think it’s quite reasonable.
Spiegelhalter also noted a peak in sex activity in 1973, which he suggested might be due to the 1973 oil crisis which led the government to instigate a three-day work week to save fuel and power.
Follow Pardes Seleh on Twitter.