News Sinead Moriarty

Saturday 20 September 2014

If you want to turn each other on in the bedroom, turn off your phones

Published 29/11/2013 | 21:53

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Couples are spending less time on sex and more time on their PCs

IT'S time to banish TVs, phones, laptops and iPads from the bedroom. According to a new survey, couples are now having sex less regularly than at any time in the last 20 years.

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In a UK survey on Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, over 15,000 adults aged 16 to 74 were interviewed and results showed that a combination of the recession and an obsession with technology are seriously affecting sex lives.

This isn't really surprising. For years, we've been told to get the TV out of the bedroom. A few years ago, an Italian survey shocked everyone by stating that couples who have TVs in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't.

If it was cutting the hot-blooded Italians' sex lives by half, think of the damage it was doing to Irish couples. TVs were being flung out of windows around the land. But now with TV competing with phones, laptops and iPads, no wonder sex is on the decline.

Surely there needs to be more engaging action in the bedroom than playing Angry Birds, tweeting or internet shopping. We are all guilty of it. We curl up in bed, plan to quickly check our emails and an hour later, somehow, end up on Amazon buying books or DVDs that we don't need.

The bedroom needs to become sacred again. Must the ability to text, tweet, post images and surf the web be at our fingertips while we're asleep? Is it really vital to check emails as soon as we open our eyes? Couldn't they wait half-an-hour?

Even having mobile devices nearby is affecting us. Researchers at the University of Essex found that people who engaged in personal conversations when a mobile phone was nearby reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner.

It's almost like having an intruder in the room. Other studies have suggested that mobile devices distract our attention from the present moment.

How true. Have you ever tried talking to your other half when he's checking the football scores?

Even Daniel Craig aka James Bond has banned technology from his bedroom. He believes this is key to keeping his marriage to Rachel Weisz happy.

Mind you, if 007 was in my bedroom, I'd have no problem ditching my phone.

The other difficulty with mobile devices is that they are making us go to bed later. Being tired has never been particularly conducive to a healthy love life.

Apparently web-browsing, TV-watching and social-networking in bed adds up to 360 fewer hours of sleep a year. No wonder people are too tired for action.

And even when you do finally get to sleep, your slumber will be negatively affected. A study by Harvard Medical School found that the light emitted from mobile devices can negatively affect the quality of sleep once you turn them off.

"Over the last 50 years, we've seen how television viewing has grown to be a near constant before bed and now we are seeing new information technologies such as laptops, cell phones, video games and music devices rapidly gaining the same status," says Lauren Hale of Stony Brook University Medical Centre.

Ms Hale adds that the higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health. Those serious consequences can include diminishing your sex life.

Not only do phones and mobile devices occupy our time and energy in the bedroom, but they can also make the shift to sex difficult.

After all, it's not that easy to get in a mood that is conducive to sex when two seconds ago you were responding to an email from your boss or trying to placate an irate client.

So it seems that the only path to a happy and healthy sex life is to ban all third parties -- laptops, phones and iPads -- from the bedroom.

It's time to use your hands to explore each other, not the internet.

Irish Independent

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