How have American opinions on sex shifted since the decade in which everyone liked to tell each other to just Chill out, man, it’s the ‘90s? A recently published study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior touches on just that, and social psychologist Justin Lehmiller recently dug into the research to create an easy-to-read infographic, which he shared with Science of Us.
The new paper, lead authored by Jean M. Twenge at San Diego State University, uses data from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative sample of 33,380 American adults, and looks at changing attitudes from 1972 to 2012; Lehmiller, however, focused on the differences between the 1990s and now. He notes that during these years, Americans have become more accepting of casual sex, and report more sexual partners; however, despite recent media coverage of “monogamish” couples, opinions on extramarital sex have stayed pretty much the same. Attitudes can and do change, in other words, but these things happen slowly.