Why Parents Should Care about “The Great America Sex Drought”
By Jamie Siggard
Have you heard of the Great American Sex Drought? Experts have suggested that sexual connection is rapidly declining in our society. According to the latest data from the General Social Survey, “…among the 23 percent of adults — or nearly 1 in 4 — who spent the year in a celibate state, a much larger than expected number of them were twentysomething men” (Ingraham, 2019). While various theories and factors play into this drought, here are two critical causes:
Pornography is easier to access. We all desire connection; however, using porn is easier–much easier–than creating and maintaining a healthy relationship. As a result, people are opting out of relationships and choosing porn instead. And now that pornography is available on digital devices, from laptops and smart TV’s to cell phones, it can create on-demand stimulation that will satisfy sexual urges, at least temporarily.
However, pornography only leaves us wanting, which can result in an unhealthy domino effect. It creates a major breach between the individual and healthy sexual connection with a partner. Time spent viewing pornography is time that used to be spent making real-life connection in earlier years. This isolated way of living is devastating because of the loneliness it breeds. We deprive ourselves of a significant and meaningful part of the human experience when we spend our time and energy seeking connection in artificial ways.
Video games are replacing quality time and human connection. There’s always a new video game trending that is competing for our time and attention. Gaming, among many other things, is used as a “buffer” from the difficult emotions of life. Often times people turn to video games when they’re lonely, stressed, or frustrated. The stimulation creates a temporary high in our lives and can seem like a “quick fix,” but just as with pornography, this artificial solution will only leave us empty and wanting.
While some gaming may have a place, families must set intentional boundaries and limits around this hobby. Where are you spending your time? Are your values in line with your actions? The price that is paid in gaming can be far more than just the monetary cost of the game. The price is time. The price is meaningful relationships.
It’s easy to connect virtually every single day, but ironically we’re more disconnected than ever. Try to nip this problem in the bud before your little ones sprout. Help your kids avoid the Great American Sex Drought–a trend that only offers loneliness, wanting, and emptiness. Help educate and empower them so they have the tools necessary to live a life full of fulfillment, connection, and depth.
Here are some ways to help safeguard families from the drought:
- Connect with your child daily. Your children need you. Help them understand the value of connection by spending time with them every day. When your children get home from school, stop what you are doing and greet them face-to-face. Set aside electronics and be intentional about the conversation at dinner. Take advantage of time in the car during the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping, school, and activities. urn the radio off and just spend time catching up. Look for opportunities to connect with your kids during your daily routine, and you will find them!
- Teach boundaries around electronics. While your kids are at home, allow them to spend monitored time on technology and gaming with time limits. Doing so will help them to practice time management and digital citizenship before they’re in their “twentysomethings” and on their own. Be deliberate about helping them learn the value of a well-balanced life.
- Teach healthy sexual intimacy. The porn industry is more than willing to educate your child about sex. Don’t let this happen! Be your child’s first, best source of information. Teach them about healthy sexual intimacy by having simple, ongoing conversations. Be ready to answer their questions. Help them understand the value and beauty of true intimacy.
- Support your children in their friendships. You can do this by helping to facilitate playdates, game nights, club/team parties, and more. Help them create habits of connection now that will carry with them throughout their life.
- Love your kids through the struggle, but don’t rescue them. Pornography and gaming is often used as an escape when difficulties arise. Help your young kids learn positive coping mechanisms when they face challenges. Don’t rescue them from the struggle. Instead, stand by them, love them and help them learn and grow from it.
Parents, be deliberate in counteracting the trends and statistics of our day. Teach your children the importance and value of healthy connection and deliberate living.
To continue the discussion about healthy connection and sexual intimacy, check out our book series, 30 Days of Sex Talks: Empowering Your Child with Knowledge of Sexual Intimacy (available for 3 age groups: 3-7, 8-11, and 12+).
Or check out our latest book, Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age. It’s full of lively, timely discussions about healthy sexuality, using tech for good, online pornography, finding real joy, and so much more!
Jamie Siggard recently graduated with her degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently lives in the greater Seattle area and works as a nanny. Seeking adventure, truth, and strong relationships are her recipe for happiness, and she hopes to help others find similar joy through her writing.
Ingraham, C. (2019, March 29). The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high. Retrieved from https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2019/03/29/share-americans-not/?fbclid=IwAR34U-PQbnVcQyfnod089yV1oojw1V874GLA_GjquwfNiw3btQJfb4pZR0Q