It's not really about sex at all.
It started with a 2019 statistic showing nearly a third of men under 30 had not had sex in the previous year, which spurred a strange discussion about "incels" and debates over whether or not people—and men in particular—have a "right to sex."
You can read the original (widely panned) Twitter thread from Alexandra Hunt here, and an op-ed response ("Involuntary celibacy is a genuine problem, but a ‘right to sex’ is not the answer") from Guardian columnist Zoe Williams here, but the crux of the discussion is that some people seem very concerned that men who want to have sex aren't having it and someone or something must be to blame.
It's the kind of social discourse that seems to mark our time, with ample opportunity to scratch our heads, roll our eyes and mutter "WTF" under our breath. But Trevor Noah, as he so often does, has come riding in like a knight during a "Daily Show Between the Scenes" segment, elevating the conversation above the fray and tapping into a broader issue.
Noah explained his perspective that the issue isn't really that men aren't having sex, but rather that men are missing out on intimacy. He began by pointing out that "the expectation of sex was often set by a society controlled by men, and women were just subject to it," and that has set up some weird dynamics with men when it comes to sex.
"‘Men aren’t having the sex that they want to have.' Like, how much sex do they think they’re supposed to have?" Noah asks. "Let’s start there.
"And secondly, do they think they’re entitled to the sex?"
Both excellent questions.
"And third and most importantly for me—and I really feel like we don’t speak about this enough—is people don’t realize how often men are experiencing a lack of intimacy," he continued. "And the only place that they can experience that intimacy is through sex.
"We’ve created a society where men are so afraid to be vulnerable with each other; to be sensitive with each other; to care for each other; to love each other. You know even saying that, as a guy … you can’t just say, ‘I love you,’ you have to say, ‘I love you, dawg.’"
Noah points out that this is something women have done a much better job at than men—"being there for each other intimately but not necessarily sexually."
"I think we take for granted how much in society men who say sex is the thing they're not getting are actually struggling with a lack of companionship, of intimacy, of being in a space with a person where they're sharing everything from serotonin to endorphins to what humans need to feel," he said. "And I hope we can change that conversation just a little bit more. I hope we get to the place where guys go 'Oh, I actually didn't need the sex. I needed to be held, and I live in a society where it's hard to be held unless I'm having sex because as guys you can't just go to a guy and be like, 'Just hold me.'"
It's five minutes worth watching: