June 12 (UPI) -- American adults -- particularly younger singles -- are having less sex, according to an analysis published Friday by JAMA Network Open.
In 2018, 31 percent of men and 19 percent of women between ages 18 and 24 reported no sexual activity in the previous year, researchers said. In 2001, 19 percent of men and 15 percent of women in the same age group had no sexual activity during the previous year.
"These findings deserve attention because sexually intimate relationships are important for many -- though certainly not all -- people's well-being and quality of life," study co-author Dr. Peter Ueda, a post-doctoral researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, told UPI.
The declines in sexual activity could be related to rising rates of depression and anxiety in the United States, the authors said.
For the analysis, Ueda and his colleagues reviewed data on adults 18 to 44 years old from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative sampling conducted in the United States. The analysis included information on the sexual practices of nearly 10,000 adults over an 18-year period, the researchers said.
In addition to the findings on young adults, the number of men 25 to 34 years old who reported sexual inactivity in the past year doubled to 14 percent in 2018 from 7 percent in 2000, researchers said.
The percentage of women who reported sexual inactivity in this age group also rose -- to 13 percent from 7 percent over the same period.
Among all adults 35 to 44 years old, roughly the same percentage -- just under 10 percent -- reported sexual inactivity in the previous year during the 18-year study period, the researchers found.
Just 37 percent of sexually active men 18 to 24 years old and 50 percent of men 25 to 34 reported having sex weekly or more frequently in 2018, compared to 52 percent and 65 percent, respectively, in 2000, the researchers said.
Similarly, 54 percent of sexually active women 25 to 34 years old said they had sex weekly or more frequently in 2018, compared to 66 percent in 2000, they added.
Married adults are also having less sex, with 58 percent of married men and and 61 percent of married women saying they have sex at least once a week in 2018, compared to 71 percent and 69 percent, respectively, in 2000, the study found.
Additionally, men with lower incomes, who are unemployed or work only part-time are up to twice as likely to be sexually inactive, as are men and women who work full-time and are also students, the researchers said.
"While the mean sexual frequency among those who were sexually active may reflect their priorities and preferences, sexual inactivity may reflect an absence of sexually intimate relationships," Ueda said.