How Our Smartphones Are Messing With Our Sex Lives
Millennials are having less sex than the two generations before us. Because smartphones. The Cusp wellbeing expert, REECE CARTER, explains.
Hear that text message notification? It might just be the death knell to your sex life. New research suggests that pillow talk is being replaced with pillow tweets, and it’s not only messing with our sleep patterns, it’s killing the romance too.
The University of Chicago’s General Social Survey has found that millennials are having less sex than the previous two generations – that’s right, you’re doing it less than your parents were. This may seem surprising, but one possible explanation for this shift can be found in the recent smartphone data published by Deloitte.
They found that in those between the ages of 18 and 34, nearly half of us use our phones after dark.
It makes sense: we get home from work, but the emails don’t stop. Most of us are guilty of checking messages and replying to colleagues way beyond the end of the work day. But when stress bleeds out of the workplace and into the home environment like that, our mental health suffers. Work comes home with us, and chronic stress and anxiety follow closely behind – neither of which are exactly aphrodisiacs.
Of course, it doesn’t end with emails. Social media use rises later in the day too, with weeknights between seven and 10pm seeing some of the highest user activity on Instagram.
It’s well documented that more time staring at a screen means less time asleep, and now we’re starting to see the negative effects it has on other nocturnal pursuits too. Thirty eight percent of people aged between 25 and 34 have reported that mobile phone usage has caused an argument with their partner, and a large chunk of those arguments are attributed to bedtime use.
Even among single millennials, it seems that the mountain of available dating apps doesn’t necessarily translate to a more active love life.
It’s probably fair to say then, that although smartphones aid communication with those far away (and offer plenty of opportunities to swipe right) they are also fracturing the connection with those closest to us.
Of course, unless you’re going to go completely off grid and live off the land, it’s pretty much impossible to get by without a mobile phone. The trick is learning where to draw the line. “Smartphones are personal devices, but their usage impacts those around them,” says Paul Lee, Deloitte’s head of technology, media and telecommunications research.
“As with most emerging technology, consumers will need to learn how best to run their lives with smartphones, as opposed to having their lives run by their devices,” he says.
To save our relationships and resurrect our love lives, it may be time to break up with our phones – for the final few hours of the day at least. Here’s how:
#1 Keep your bedroom as a phone-free zone.
That means charging it overnight in another room so that you’re not tempted to reach over and check how many total strangers liked that photo of your dinner.
Tip: If you rely on your phone to wake you up in the morning, buy an alarm clock instead. It will do the same job, without the distractions.
#2 Pick a time to stop checking your emails each night, and make it a habit.
Stick to it. Now, put in place a kind of ‘wind down ritual’ to help you relax. (Check out our video about this, here.) For example, make 8pm your time to switch off, place your phone on charge, and allow yourself to forget about it until the morning. Instead, find time to relax and be present. This may include reading, listening to music, or maybe even real-life conversation.
#3 Ensure that your bed is only used for two things: sleeping, and sex.
If you treat your bedroom like an extension of your lounge room – or worse, your office – you begin to subconsciously associate it with frenzied daytime activity.
Retraining yourself to think of the bedroom as a place for relaxation and intimacy means that you’re less likely to carry the day’s libido-busting stresses into it.
Reece Carter is a qualified Naturopath, herbal medicine expert and Australia’s very own ‘Garden Pharmacist’. From the planter box to the pantry and with a lifelong passion for all things green, this self-professed herb nerd has the answers.