An economic concept has been applied to millennials as a method of explaining why young people are having less sex.
According to Allison Schrager, an economist and author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk, the decreasing rate of young people having sex can be defined through the study of risk.
The basis of the decline, according to Schrager, has to do with a concept called “risk-free asset,” which makes up the foundation of the decisions people make.
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For millennials, who have been generalised as being more “risk-averse” than previous generations, the ultimate risk-free return is “not leaving the house,” Schrager suggests, which has ultimately led to a decrease in sex.
Describing how people no longer need to leave the house to find entertainment, Schrager wrote: “Now everyone can live what feels like an entertaining life without taking the risk of leaving the house” thanks to nearly limitless television and video games.
According to Schrager, this surplus of media options means people feel fulfilled by entertainment options in their homes enough to forgo actual interactions.
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“For people still searching for a partner, streaming and video games offer something even more valuable: a fulfilling home experience that is nearly risk-free, even if you are alone,” Schrager wrote.
This, coupled with the idea that relationships are inherently risky, means millennials are staying home and dating less.
But, in addition to offering a false sense of fulfilment, the lack of social interaction may “ultimately contribute to loneliness and anxiety,” according to Schrager.