Which do you think Gen X believes is more important in a long-term relationship: friendship or good sex?

There’s a misconception that sex becomes less important as you get older — however, the reality is that Gen X place a higher importance on sex in their romantic relationships than Millennials.

Viacom gained new insights about relationships via its newly-launched project Gen X Today, which surveyed 12,000 people ages 30 to 49 in 21 countries*, collected 1,000 images through photo-journals, and hosted a series of intimate dinner discussions and ethnographic interviews in 8 countries.

This research reveals a demographic that has, quite happily, established their lives on their own terms and in their own way. In relationships, they aim less for convention than for whatever might suit their particular situation.

The study found that Gen Xers are more sexually satisfied than Millennials. Millennials may be known for hooking up via apps like Tinder, but Gen Xers are more likely to agree that they’re “having the right amount of sex” (50% Gen X, 43% Millennials). They are additionally more likely to say their sex lives are good (66% Gen X, 59% Millennials).

While their love lives are important, Gen Xers aren’t letting their friendships slide. Fully 60% feel that while romantic partners may come and go, friends are always there for you.

In their friendships, Gen X choose quality over quantity. They don’t need a big roster of companions, just a few close pals. Nearly three-quarters (72%) say they have a good circle of friends they can rely on. And unlike older generations, Gen X hold on to friends after starting their own families.

When it comes to family life, acceptance is the norm. Their “whatever works” attitude is all about being true to themselves and helping their lives run smoothly — from same-sex relationships to stay-at-home dads to moving in with grandparents for help with childcare.

Their more customized approach to relationships appears to be working — they’re 20% less likely than Millennials to report being lonely.

For Gen X, the way things were done in the past is just an option.

In relationships, they do what works for them. And they appear to be happier for it.


Click here to see all articles from this project.

* Generational divides shift from country to country, typically triggered by major cultural events. For this study, we explored the more global age range of 30 to 49.