Why more Aussie teens are saying no to sex
Teenagers are experiencing a sex recession, with data showing they are getting 50 per cent less action than their parents.
Social media, dating apps and online porn are being blamed, with sexologists saying pornography and online video games are being used as a substitute for real human contact.
The problem has got so acute it is affecting the condom business and Four Seasons Condoms will this week launch a Generation Intervention Pack to get parents to talk to their teens about how to have good sex.
Experts fear teenagers are losing the ability to interact face-to-face.
"Communicating with potential dates via text means young adults are missing out on tone, body language and human contact that comes with meeting in real life," sexologist Jacqueline Hellyer said.
Sydney sex therapist Susan Tuckwell said online pornography was changing the landscape with a "large number of people having trouble with arousal, they can only be aroused by pornographic images".
Other people started relationships on social media but could not progress them in person.
"They are sitting on their devices getting a little bit titillated but for some reason when it comes to making direct human contact its too anxiety producing," she said.
Dating apps present them with a stream of endless options meaning young adults are overwhelmed by choice paralysis, and ultimately dissatisfied, Ms Hellyer said.
Forty per cent of young adults aged 18-24 have never had sex and another 15 per cent had it only once a month.
This compares with their 40-49 year old parents, 30 per cent of whom have sex once a month according to a recent Australia Talks survey of 55,000 Australians.
Two thirds of people in their 30s have sex monthly, the survey found.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the number of teenage pregnancies has almost halved from 12,702 in 2008 to just 6,885 in 2018.
One of the main reasons young adults fear having sex is they don't think they will look good enough with their clothes off.
"I asked one client what she thought sex was and she said it was two beautiful people having intercourse, another said if she was having sex she felt like a camera was looking at her," Ms Hellyer said.
Women had become so self conscious and self observant they were more interested about how to position their body parts on display in bed than in the actual pleasure of the act, Ms Tuckwell said.
Older generations had often never seen other people having sex but these days even kids had seen porn online and there was pressure to look like actors in pornography.
Young men felt inadequate if they did not have a six pack and a large appendage, she said.
Young women were coming for her to get advice about labiaplasty because they thought they had to look like a Barbie doll in order to have sex.
"The ideal woman is meant to look like a breast feeding mum up from the waist up and a pre-pubescent child from the waist down," Ms Hellyer said.
Four Seasons Condoms has teamed up with Ms Hellyer to launch a limited-edition Generation Intervention Pack and Hotline to help Australian parents have The Talk 2.0 with their adult kids, to offer advice on navigating the world of modern dating, and safe sex.
Melbourne dad Fred Pezzimenti said he didn't think his young adult daughters were having less sex than he did at their age but they were less likely to feel pressure or be chastised about it.
The 56-year-old fruit wholesaler said he had always had an open discussion with his daughters about sex and stressed that it was possible for them to say no.
"My kids are very outgoing and have a strong social network, they have lots of face-to-face interaction rather than relying on social media," he said.
"We are a very close family, we are open and I believe in communicating with my girls, they haven't felt the good Catholic upbringing philosophy I probably faced," he said.