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The millennial generation is putting that theory to the test, opting for what the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher calls “slow love.” Studies show that millennials are dating less, having less sex and marrying much later than any generation before them, and a younger generation appears to be following in their footsteps.
These changes have prompted hand-wringing among some experts who speculate that hookup culture, anxiety, screen time, social media and helicopter parents have left us with a generation incapable of intimacy and commitment.
A 2017 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that many younger millennials in their early 20s aren’t having sex, and are more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive than the previous generation.
Another study found that American couples ages 25 to 34 spend an average of six and a half years together before marrying, compared with an average of five years for all other age groups.
Fisher takes a more generous view, and suggests that we could all learn a thing or two from millennials about the benefits of slow love.
In 2018, the median age of first marriage was approaching 30 (29.8 for men and 27.8 for women).
That’s more than a five-year delay in marriage compared to 1980, when the median age was 24.7 for men and 22 for women.
“Hooking up with someone doesn’t mean that millennials now don’t value marriage,” says Anne Kat Alexander, who at 23 is in the second wave of the millennial generation.
“If anything, they value marriage more because they are putting a lot more forward thinking into that decision.”Dr.