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One In 8 Millennials Are Virgins At 26 – Here'S Why

You’d have thought from the portrayal of toned-bodied, sex-focused couples on shows such as Love Island, Survival of the Fittest and even Home and Away, that millennials are having hot, steamy sex. All. The. Time.

But, according to findings from the Next Steps project, started by the Department for Education and now managed by University College London, that’s not the case at all.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite with figures showing a sharp increase in the numbers of those waiting longer to have sex.

Of the 16,000 people questioned, born in 1989-1990 and tracked since the age of 14, one in eight were still virgins at 26 – much older than previous generations.

“Millennials have been brought up in a culture of hypersexuality which has bred a fear of intimacy,” Susanna Abse, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist at the Balint Consultancy, told the Sunday Times. "The women are always up for it with beautiful hard bodies and the men have permanent erections. That is daunting to young people.”

Ring true for you? Read on for tips on how to overcome a fear of intimacy.


No holds barred. Note down your fears and where you think they might have come. Express all the worries you want to say to your partner, but perhaps feel unable to say face-to-face. Research has shown than writing thoughts down can help the brain to better process them and regulate emotions. Consider showing your notes to your partner to start a conversation.


Sometimes a fear of intimacy can be the result of not loving yourself enough. Ask yourself “What can I do to love myself?” and make that a priority. It could be anything from choosing to eat healthy food to committing to a regular Glow Pilates class to treating yourself to Meghan Markle’s favourite lipstick.


And sex is just one of them. Spend time with your partner in different ways – for example, sharing experiences together such as learning a new skill can help you feel closer to each other, while also generating important bonds. Try to relax and enjoy each moment, and communicate your thoughts with your partner so they know what pace to move at.

Ever wondered what the exact amount of sex you should have to be happy is? We did. Here’s the answer.

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