Since we live in the age of Tinder and OKCupid, you might assume that people who use these apps the most are having sex with more people than past generations—but you would be wrong.

By MaryAnn Barone
May 08, 2015
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Left swipe. Right swipe. Matched. Message. We live in the age of Tinder, OKCupid, and every other dating app under the sun (we've even told you about ones for specific health concerns).

With so many opportunities to find people to date, you might assume that people who use these apps (most notably Millenials) are having sex with more people than past generations—but you would be wrong.

Surprise: A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that though Millennials (those born between 1982-1999) are more open-minded about premarital sex than previous generations, they don't necessarily have more sexual partners.

Of the 33,000 people involved in the study, 58% of respondents thought there was nothing wrong with doing the deed before marriage. In 2004, that number was just 44%.

Though the public's opinion on premarital sex has changed over time, that doesn't mean people are putting their thoughts into action, so to speak. Baby Boomers (born in the late 1940's, '50s, and early '60s) had the most sex partners of all age groups studied with an average of 11. They were closely followed by Generation X-ers (people born in the late '60s and '70s) who averaged about 10 partners.

On the other hand, Millennials (those currently between the ages of 16 and 33) can expect to have an average of eight sexual partners over their lifetime. Jean Twenge, PhD, and her group of researchers created the projections based on historical sexual patterns and by looking at the average number of partners Baby Boomers had at age 25 compared to today's 25-year-olds.

Twenge isn't exactly sure why Millennials might have fewer lovers, but she has two theories, which she shared with the Washington Post.

The first is that today's young adults are more aware of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies than ever before, thanks to increased sex education and, well, the Internet. They're also becoming sexually active later than previous groups. The Guttmacher Institute found that between 2006 and 2008, only 11% of teen girls and 14% of teen boys said they had sex before turning 15. In comparison, 19% of teen girls and 21% of teen boys in Generation X responded the same in 1995 when they were coming of age.

The second is that while sex before marriage has become more acceptable to Millennials, it's possible that they're less serious about dating (fewer and fewer 20-somethings are getting married) and instead are more likely to have more "friends with benefits."