There might be a reason so many are virgins

To those of us who have had much interaction with the young people of today – possibly just those of us who keep our eyes open – this doesn’t come as all that much of a surprise. Some one in eight millennials is a virgin at age 26. As that’s rather higher than the portion of the population which is both unmarried and Mormon there must be something going on here. Or not going on to be clearer.

But something there is:

Millennials are waiting longer to have sex, with one in eight still virgins at 26 years old, new research has found.

The sharp rise in the number of young people waiting longer to have sex may be because of a “fear of intimacy” and the pressure of social media, according to analysts.

It could be fear of intimacy of course. Or some newfound appreciation of religious teachings upon celibacy. Possibly even being turned off by the Baby Boomers’ enthusiastic celebration of sex. Who knows, being hit upon by Baby Boomers?

Susanna Abse, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Balint Consultancy, told The Sunday Times: “Millennials have been brought up in a culture of hypersexuality which has bred a fear of intimacy.

“The women are always up for it with beautiful hard bodies and the men have permanent erections. That is daunting to young people.

“The fear for young men is of being humiliated that they can’t live up to that, plus the fear of exposure in your Facebook group.

“It is now compounded by a new morality which is coming around partly in reaction to the hypersexuality. There is no arena to explore in that clumsy way that adolescents have to do.”

All of that’s possible too. It’s not for nothing that Niagara Falls was always said to be the second biggest disappointment of the bride’s honeymoon.

The Next Steps study has focused on 16,000 millennials – those born in 1989-1990 – who grew up through the first major advances in the internet and social media.

In spring 2004, the Department for Education started the project, which monitored Year 9 pupils attending state and independent schools across England.

The Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Institute of Education took over the study in 2013.

We could even hope that in this more libertarian age the young are, when asked intrusive questions, simply telling the government to bugger off. Not that there’s anything wrong with buggery of course.

But for all these potentially hopeful reasons I fear that there are only two properly possible answers. One is that Millennials have actually met each other and thus decided that Pogo was right. Any of us, richer in maturity as we are, would have no problem understanding that. The other is that they’ve just not figured out what to do with the nose rings.