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The Millennial Virus: Dating in 2020

by Kayla McCullough

Photo by Antonio Dillard from Pexels

Should we all take the slow road to love? Millennials are going on fewer dates, having more sex, and marrying much later. Do they know more about love and relationships than the rest of us? Is the secret to lasting love hidden in taking things slow? The millennial generation is putting that theory to the test. Their relationships are full of exclusivity, but no commitment and intimacy but no marriage. Though modern dating can become a confusing ride, many speculate that this generation is taking a more generous view of love and suggest that we could all learn a thing or two from millennials about the benefits of slow love. It’s not that they are wrecking marriage, it’s that they may value it more.

Many people between the ages of 20 and 40 frequently engage in premarital sex. Most would like a relationship to blossom from it, but a growing percentage are accepting sex without commitment – well without a relationship-based commitment, they still have to be sexually exclusive to that person. Makes sense, right? If you’ve gotten confused, it’s okay. To understand the newfangled relationships these days, we might need to explore the other types of relationships that have emerged since sexual expression became prevalent.

I want sex, but not a relationship aka Friends With Benefits. This is probably the most popular relationship type among those who do not want a committed relationship with people. It consists of two people – friends, strangers, classmates, etc. to agree to have sex regularly without any repercussions or commitment rules. Of course, some rules come with this type of relationship, but it’s easily the most convenient if you are wanting just sex.

One-Night Stand. This type of relationship is the easiest relationship to understand – a guy and a girl meet in a bar and one thing leads to the next. Now, in most cases, one will want to continue to see the other, but normally they only occur for one night, and one night only.

Sex With An Ex. These people have a history. They know each other very well, and they know what each other likes in bed. Having chemistry to fire up sex is good, but normally they are at the risk of triggering hidden feelings.

Almost all these kinds of relationships don’t put pressure on the people involved, but a new concept is on the rise: sexual exclusivity. So, what exactly is sexual exclusivity, and what is the difference between that and committed relationships? Why is it so prevalent in modern dating?


It may sound very complicated when you look at it from an outside perspective, but the concept is fairly simple – the people who engage in this type of relationship only ask that they not sleep with other people while they’re seeing each other. In other words, they don’t want to be held down by the normal dating atmosphere - that requires a lot of responsibility and emotional investment. They just do not want to involve other people in their complicated relationship.

So Why Be Sexually Exclusive But Not Committed? Well, it’s generally requested for health reasons, but it also lessens the risk of involving other people’s feelings. Many millennials are very committed to their dreams and desires and being tied down to a person lessens the outcome of that dream coming true. So, to put their needs and wants before someone else, many will engage in this type of relationship. Sexual exclusivity allows you to enjoy sex without the worry of jealousy or competitive mindsets getting in the way.

With “slow love” many are thinking more of what they want – from themselves and the person they will commit to – and less about societal opinions. Today’s singles seek to learn as much as possible about a potential partner before they spend time, energy, and money on marriage. As a result, the path to romance has changed significantly - which if you think of it, isn’t all that bad. To be successful in a marriage you have to be compatible in a lot of different ways. Sex is one for those vectors of compatibility where millennials want to make sure they’re also compatible.


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