Are high school kids not having sex in cars any more? If not, why not?

This came up as a tangential question in a threadabout Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” album. Since a lot of younger Dopers in particular won’t see that thread, and it’s such an off topic subject there anyway, I wanted to start a new thread to try to understand this.

I’m a little young for the Meat Loaf album, which is why I started that thread, but when I was in high school a quarter century ago, there was definitely lots of car sex being had. Yet not only did the 25 year old in that thread say they thought it was just a TV/movie trope that didn’t happen much IRL (meaning actual intercourse; they acknowledged the possibility of making out or oral sex), my 15 year old son said he had the same notion. He knows lots of kids who are into “sexting” and whatnot, but has never heard of any car sex IRL. Yet all of us in the thread who are GenXers and Boomers seem to have the same recollection: that it was rampant.

So has this actually changed significantly for Millennials (and for Generation Z, or whatever we are going to call them)? And if so, why? It might have been a little easier in the roomier American cars of yesteryear, but I didn’t really have much trouble in my little Toyota subcompact–just reclined the front passenger seat and away we went.

Parents hovering over them constantly might have something to do with it.

That wouldn’t explain the claim that making out and oral sex are still going on.

I had one friend who admitted he knocked up his girlfriend (immediately thereafter, wife) in his car, so there was definitely real sex going on back there.

My first car was a hand-me-down 1962 Chrysler. I just looked at the specs. The rear seat was 62.8" wide. I can verify it was very roomy back there.

My current “big” car is a GMC Terrain. The rear seat is 51" wide. That may be why the youngsters don’t believe the old stories.

No more drive ins? A larger population making it harder to find places to do it. The price of gas? Sexting and the net taking the mystery out of sex?

I think this has a lot to do with it. Having sex in in the back seat of an old Ford Fairlane is like sharing a single bed. Having sex in the back seat of a Prius is liable to cripple any teenager that isn’t a gymnast.

But it was still definitely a thing 25 years ago. I can’t believe I’m the only one to think of just reclining the passenger bucket seat.

High school kids don’t drive around freely like previous generations did. A lot of them not only don’t have drivers licenses, they have no intention of getting one until later and only some have their own cars which was a primary goal in life when I was 16. Gas isn’t too expensive at the moment but it was mostly cost prohibitive just a couple of years ago and most teenagers can’t afford to maintain a very used car without their parent’s help. The teenagers that I know that have cars of their own use them mostly to get to and from school and part-time jobs. Their parents also know where they are at all times.

That is quite different than when I was last a teenager in the late 1980’s and 90’s. There were no cell phones so I just told my parents that I was taking my own vehicle and going nowhere in particular and I had no idea when I would be back. They said, “OK, have fun!”.

There is are a few fanciful assumptions in this question though if you recall it accurately. Sure, we had sex in vehicles but it wasn’t ideal or even that fun to say the least. Even cars in the 80’s and 90’s didn’t have a seat configuration that allowed for anything other than a contortionist stunt. It was usually either too hot, too cold or too humid and doing anything outside of the car was a great way to get lots of bug bites.

The police also loved to screw with anyone that was parked in a suspicious place (I am sure that is even worse today). You wouldn’t get in real trouble for it but there is nothing worse than getting down to business and seeing an intensively bright light shining through your windows as you struggle to get you and your partner’s bare ass half-dressed while trying to think of some passable answers to really awkward questions.

The heyday for sex in cars had since long passed even in the 80’s and 90’s. You have to go back to the 50’s and 60’s when many cars had backseats more plush than a whorehouse parlor couch and people had enough sense to not ask many questions for cars parked on Lover’s Lane or Lookout Point. With today’s typical seat configurations, you are inviting injury by even attempting such a thing and that assumes you can find a quiet place to park where people won’t assume that you are there to commit some random act of mopery that requires a swift police response.

The fact teenagers are far less likely to pursue getting a license than years past may have a lot to do with it. Also many states have passed laws concerning junior operators that restrict underage drivers from having other non-family underage drivers as passengers.

Jack and Diane might not be having car sex because neither of them have a license to take the car somewhere private. Or if one of them does have a license they might not be able to legally transport the other to a private location.

Also households where both parents work is more common now than ever before. In the past kids might have needed to take the car somewhere because Mom didn’t work and was always home to interrupt. Now with both parents out of the house, there is plenty of time for after school sex before they get home. Why have sex somewhere uncomfortable, like the back of a Volkswagen, when you can use your own bed.

I also think that those parents who might have been having sex in their cars are probably more tolerant when Jimmy says he is going up to his room with Mary to work on a school project.

Basically sex is not nearly such a big deal for teenagers today as it was in the 50s and 60s.

I lost my virginity in the back of my truck (in the bed) in 1984. Trucks make awesome mobile sex machines.

There’s also the question of how often it was (and is) actually happening, as opposed to how often people talked about it happening. Teenagers in any era talk about having sex a lot more often than they actually do.

Yeah, the talk of cars being smaller shouldn’t fit for most Millennials, in the era of huge trucks, minivans, and SUVs.

It’s totally doable without a whole lot of contortions. 3 steps to car sex :

  1. Find a dark spot for the hookup. So I was on a long drive with the girlfriend, and, well, she got kinda bored and pretty soon my hand was in a pretty naughty place. She started begging for me to stop and do her. It was out in the country, so I just took the next exit that seemed kinda dark, pulled onto a farm road, made a turn onto another farm road, and stopped on the shoulder of some gravel road. No streetlights, no one around.

  2. Use the back seat. We tried the front seat, first. Girl on top - seats are angled such that it was hard to get anything going. Doggy - awkward. Etc. Back seat has plenty of room relatively speaking, she just put her back against the door, legs on the seat but elevated.

  3. It leaves the back pretty darn foggy. Even after you put your clothes back on, it’s unmistakable what you were up to. Can be embarrassing if you encounter anyone.

The car was just an American sedan, a 90s Ford Taurus I think.

Teenagers generally don’t get to drive huge trucks but there are notable exceptions (my best friend drove a diesel Ford Ford F250 with a gigantic metal bumper). I have written before how I had to drive at 70+ mph while he and and his girlfriend (eventual wife and then ex-wife) had sex literally on top of me and everywhere else they could squeeze into. They treated it as game and I was always fine with being an enabler.

Minivans could make great sex-mobiles (2nd only to ice cream trucks) except for the fact that the people that drive them can barely get laid even if they share the same legal name with their intended love interests. I have owned large SUV’s, small SUV’s and sport sedans like BMW’s. It is possible to have sex in all of them but it isn’t ideal to make the understatement of the year. My recommendation to ‘get a room’ isn’t a hostile condemnation, it is a helpful tip. The same goes for people that want to have sex on the beach (not the girly drink because those are awesome) - it isn’t very practical either.

Turned sixteen in '77. Bought a '67 Toronado which had a back seat as big as a small bed. The family car was a station wagon. It was a great time to be a teenager, for free range parenting was and had been the norm, and it applied to teenagers who took to adventuring in cars. We’d go to some nifty places – canoe trips and hikes in the northland, symphonies and ballets in the city, a whole gamut of experiences that took us not just outside our neighbourhood, but throughout our region, literally expanding our horizons. Cars were as central to our social lives as the internet is today for many people. Teenagers today are for the most part quite independent on the internet. We were quite independent in our roaming. It’s no surprise then that just as teenagers today have sex, we had sex back then, and due to our cars providing venues for us, we made use, delightful use, of those venues.

A lot of the most picturesque Lovers Lanes, that used to be rather isolated places, are now built-up with McMansions. Have you driven along Mulholland Drive lately?

One of the nice things about living on the north shore of Superior is that we have many beaches with no people, no boats, no nothing, other than beautiful shoreline and crystal clear water.

Aren’t there new such lanes out past the edge of the new exurbs? Most of this country is still rural, which means there is always an edge. Even in the heart of the Northeast Megalopolis, you can find that edge, as long as you go west rather than north or south.


My high school car sex was in that vicinity, in and around the Twin Ports. Good call!

I’ll bet that your Lake Superior beaches still have sand, though, and that it still gets in places you’d really rather sand didn’t get into.