Is Social Media Ruining Your Sex Life?
Are you constantly glued to your smart phone? Find yourself flicking through your social media feeds at all hours, oblivious to the happenings around you? Do you find it difficult to leave your phone unchecked for more than a few minutes at a time? If this is you, then you may also have another problem - leading experts in India have reported that an increased number of young couples are coming to them reporting that social media addiction is ruining their sex lives. At the same time, amidst the growth of hook-up apps like Tinder, researchers have reported major increases in the spread of STDs as a result of increasingly risky sexual behaviours. It's a changing social world, one which is infiltrating every element of the human experience. So the question is, is social media ruining your sex life?
Ever Closer, Ever More Distant
Mumbai-based sex expert Dr Prakash Kothari says that he is seeing a significant increase in young couples coming to him to report intimacy issues due to social media addiction taking up their time.
"There has been a sudden surge in young couples, especially working professionals, who come to me for consultations after facing weak sexual desire owing to social media addiction that gobbles up night hours," Kothari said.
His experience is in-line with other experts, who say that 'always on' mobile connectivity is leading to more people struggling to separate their online activities from real-life, which, in-turn, is fuelling more disconnection between couples - that lack of intimate, personal contact is subsequently resulting in less intimate connection in the bedroom.
The rising instance of social media connection leading to real-life relationships is also playing a part - one couple reported that they'd struggled with intimacy problems since marriage after initially meeting each other via WhatsApp. Despite now being married, WhatsApp had become embedded into their interactive process, so rather than talking to each other, they continued to chat with other people online, leading to issues with their personal connection.
While social media can play a major role in helping people find like-minded folk and starting relationships, it can also become a significant distraction and a negative influence on the relationship - the very nature of how we connect may also, similarly, lead to disconnection.
On a similar note, researchers have reported that hook-up apps like Tinder are likely contributing to significant spikes in the rate of STDs in America in recent times. Florida's Seminole County Health Department has reported a 200% rise in Syphilis cases within the last year. Chlamydia, too, is on the rise, with three to four million new cases occurring each year. The increase in STD rates has been attributed, at least in some part, to "using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters." Pew research indicates that one in five US adults have used a dating app or website, and that increase has also been linked to more instances of people adopting more risky sexual behaviours, like having sex without a condom, having multiple partners, and having sex with strangers.
While hook-up apps make the process of finding a partner more direct, it's worth considering the impacts such behaviours can have, and taking into account the rising rates of STDs in the community before you decide to take the next step with your chosen partner.
In recent years, social media - Facebook specifically - has been increasingly linked to relationship break-ups and divorce. Anywhere up to 60% of divorce cases have been attributed, in some form, to Facebook, and while not all of those studies can provide a direct correlation between the two factors, it is clear that social media can become a barrier, as much as an enabler, to real-life relationships.
"It's simple," says Dr. Kothari, "When there's a third person in the bedroom, a couple will not get into the mood. Smartphone is that third person." It's a valid consideration, and maybe a wake-up call for those spending a lot of time on social media - it's important to disconnect every now and then to ensure you don't forsake real-life relationships for virtual ones. That's not to say one is more valuable than the other, but the impacts of your actions may be more significant than you suspect - for both yourself and your partner/s.
Main image via Shutterstock
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter