It's a Guy Thing

Tech or Sex?

What your technology and social media are doing to intimacy

We all know it – our smart devices are wonderful advances in technology that keep us connected, but they aren’t great overall for our wellbeing and sadly they’re especially not good for our relationship. Twenty to thirty years ago, the only few things interfering in being intimate with one another were kids, pets and the occasional telephone ringing. Most people only owned one TV, which was in their lounge, and when we got into bed at night it was generally to sleep, read or have sex. However, nowadays, technology has crept in between couples being intimate and more often in between couples having sex as well. 

Recent studies have revealed that a nearly whopping 20% of people check their phones during sex, whether that’s to answer a call, check social media or reply to an email! That’s 1 in 5 people! These days, our smartphone comes everywhere with us – from the bed to the shower, to the office and to the gym… and even into the bathroom. We have developed more of an attachment to our smartphones than some people do to their partners! In particular, it has been found that intimate conversations are most affected by technology, and technology inhibits us from developing a relationship with a partner by limiting our ability to connect. Other areas of concern include feeling distant, impaired trust and disrupted intimacy. It’s no wonder then, that many people feel that technology infringes on their relationships. There is even concern that we’ll lose the ability to have face-to-face conversations. 

When I see clients who are struggling with intimacy in their relationships, I always get them to draw up a ‘barriers to eroticism’ list. This list details anything that gets in the way of you as a couple from sharing eroticism. The lists often include feeling tired, kids, pets, and yes, you guessed it, smartphones! Whether it’s paying attention to your phone more than you do your partner, or it’s checking your phone when you could be sharing an intimate moment, smartphones are disengaging us from being present in our relationships. We completely disengage from our partners when we could be connecting and creating intimate moments.

So how do we change some of our bad habits?

  • Agree to put your phones away at an acceptable time every night, at minimum, it should be at least an hour before you go to bed to help you sleep better.
  • Leave your phones to charge by a plug that is not within reach of the bed – preferably in another room.
  • When you’re sharing a meal, whether at home or out, cellphones go on silent and get put away (or left in another room during dinner at home) and sit down at a table (if you can) and not in front of your favorite TV show or sport. 
  • Again, if you’re worried someone might need you, like the babysitter, use the ‘do not disturb’ function on the phone or leave one phone on loud and ask the sitter to only call in an emergency – ignore everything else!
  • If you’re on a date, this is definitely where the cellphone has no place. Leave it alone until after the date. There’s nothing sexy about someone who’s more interested in their phone than the date.
  • Do not reach for your phone first thing in the morning, but rather reach for your partner!
  • Do not befriend your ex on Facebook or follow them on Instagram if you still have any feelings for them or it makes your current partner uncomfortable. If it was a messy breakup or toxic relationship, trust me, unfriend them and cut all contact – it will help you heal!
  • Do not advertise EVERY detail of your relationship on social media. This is particularly relevant when you’re angry or hurt (as you’re bound to say something you’ll regret). If your partner has done something to upset you, you should be telling them… not the world! Don’t cheapen the emotional intimacy and connection in a relationship by advertising your entire relationship with all ‘768’ of your friends on Facebook. 
  • Use technology to enhance your relationship by sending each other sexy texts or emails during the day when you’re at work, or using it to plan your weekend or holiday together. Then, when you’re finally together at the end of the day, put the phones away and turn the laptops off. 
  • Agree on ‘technology rules’ that you’re both comfortable with and stick to them! Trust me, no one likes that person who is glued to their phone while you’re in their company, rather than actually engaging with them. 

There are, of course, many advantages to using technology in a relationship, such as the development of new relationships through apps like Tinder, enriching the relationship through communication and relationship management, looking up sex positions (yes please!), sexting, using apps like Dipsea for some sexy audio erotica or apps that help you understand your sexual fantasies, like X Confessions. But let’s be totally honest, we managed just fine in those areas pre-smartphones and iPads did we not? Hand-written love letter anyone?