Acceptance of premarital sex and homosexuality has reached an all-time high, according to a wide-reaching study by researchers at San Diego State University.
More than 33,000 adults were examined between 1972 and 2012 in the study from data from the General Social Survey during the study, led by SDSU Psychology professor Jean M. Twenge.
Their results revealed a generational shift between in beliefs between sex and sexuality.
Millennials born between the 1980s and 90s were more accepting of premarital sex and same sex marriage than their parents born before the 1960s.
“The changes are primarily due to generation, suggesting people develop their sexual attitudes while young, rather than everyone of all ages changing at the same time,” said Twenge in a statement.
Researchers observed the largest change between those born in the early 1990s and those born between the 1940s and 50s.
Acceptance of premarital sex grew 42 percent from 2000 to 2012 and acceptance of same-sex relationships more than tripled between 1990 and 2012, jumping from 13 percent to 44 percent.
"Millennials are more accepting of premarital sex than any previous generation, yet have had fewer sexual partners than GenX'ers. This is consistent with their image as a tolerant, individualistic generation accepting others' choices and making their own,” Twenge said.
Researchers said their data was analyzed before the federal ruling recognizing same sex marriage.
“It'll be interesting to see, especially with the Supreme Court decision coming up, the next data collections,” said Twenge. “My best guess is that we'll be moving to a majority position and people saying it's not wrong at all."
Researchers say the changes between 1972 and 2012 are mostly generational, suggesting many people may develop their sexual attitudes at a young age.
Twenge said she believes the shifts in attitudes are linked to growing cultural individualism in the nation.
"When the culture places more emphasis on the needs of the self and less on social rules, more relaxed attitudes toward sexuality are the almost inevitable result,” Twenge said.