Millennials are less likely to sleep with a first date on Valentine’s Day than young adults were 10 years ago through fear of underperforming and being ‘named and shamed’ on social media, new research reveals.
Almost a fifth of singletons in their 20s and 30s say the possibility of being publicly humiliated is too great to risk having casual – and potentially “disastrous” – sex on the most romantic day of the year.
Many will “actively avoid” sexual intimacy of any kind until later in the month when expectations are lower.
Their concerns are fuelled by a growing trend among male and female internet daters to ‘rate’ other users and to share their intimate and explicit experiences on social networks like Twitter and Instagram, often in real-time.
Receiving a “negative review” is said to be more likely on February 14 when male daters, especially, are under increased pressure to perform, a two-year study by the Stays-Hard suggests.
The prospect is particularly worrying for men in their 30s, who recent studies have shown suffer the highest levels of erection, and premature ejaculation, problems.
Richard Wylie, a spokesman for Stays-Hard, said nearly one-in-five customers who purchased a sex-aid in the last 24 months did so to “crisis manage performance-related issues”.
“Before the rise of social media and photo-sharing platforms a decade or so ago, first-time daters had comparatively little to worry about – dates were private and if one went disastrously wrong, few people would ever know,” he said.
“Today, however, millennials face the unenviable prospect of receiving negative reviews or even reading about their sexual exploits, or sexual inadequacies, on a public forum.
“It’s little wonder why such a large proportion of people in that age millennial bracket are actively avoiding sex altogether for the next few weeks.”
The trend of sharing intimate experiences about a date on social platforms is a relatively new phenomenon.
Although the majority keep their experiences to themselves, a growing number are turning to Twitter and Instagram to post comments and pictures, often in real time. Some dating apps also allow users to rate other users.
It means those on the dating scene who fail to live up to expectations, in the bedroom or outside it, now face the daunting prospect of being dumped and ridiculed by millions.
According to Stays-Hard, which sells penile support devices internationally to help with these problems, this is particularly worrying for those men who suffer from erectile dysfunction, an incurable condition that plagues an estimated one-in-10 men worldwide. Experts reckon half of all men between the ages of 30 and 70 will experience it to some degree.
It is commonly caused by high blood pressure and by diabetes, conditions which narrow the blood vessels in the penis.
But pressure to get it up in a stressful situation, such a first date, and to “last the course for partner satisfaction”, is another common trigger.
A spokesman for Stays-Hard, which spoke to 1,000 of its customers in their 20s and 30s over a two-year period, said the psychological pressure on young men to perform is greater than ever, and especially so on Valentine’s Day.
He said: “Whilst the internet most certainly opened up a new world of exciting opportunity to young single adults, the ease and speed with which information can be shared through it – and the unrealistic expectations it places on users – has also made those young male adults more vulnerable, leading in some cases to extreme stress and anxiety.”
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.