Couple using tablet in bed

Why electronics can wreak havoc on your sex life

Before you blame your lagging sex drive or your busy schedule for the lack of sparks in the bedroom, you might want to turn your attention to the innocuous little smartphone, tablet or laptop sitting and waiting for you when you go to sleep and when you wake up. It could have a serious impact on your sex life.

“Cell phones and laptops are about the worst things invented when it comes to boudoir dynamics,” says Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D., Astroglide’s Sexual Health and Wellness Ambassador. “Feng Shui has long held that couples need to keep the electrical energy in their bedroom in check, as this makes for better sleep and overall ambiance, on at least a subconscious level.”

Gadgets vs. TV

no cell phone sign

Back 20 or 30 years ago, there were no gadgets to worry about — only that big ol’ television, which was problem enough when couples started paying more attention to it than each other.

“Laptops and cellphones only add to the issue, giving partners more to get into and distracted by, which prevents them from connecting, talking, touching,” Fulbright says. “It has them turned on to others (in a non-sexual way) with social media or work dominating their attention. They’re depriving themselves of downtime, opportunities to communicate and process the day, and to get sensual or carnal, if they want to.”

The emotional impact of tech

Fulbright isn’t alone in her warning about the power of gadgets on one’s sex habits.

“From our most recent research, we are finding that people are checking their smartphones right up until bedtime — and even when they awaken at night — and that this is highly distracting and very mentally (and emotionally) consuming making it difficult to attend to those who are right next to us in the bedroom,” says Dr. Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., author of iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming its Hold On Us.

So what’s a well-meaning (but tech-obsessed) modern couple to do if they want to get frisky instead of consumed by glowing screens come nighttime? Follow these simple rules for more bedroom bliss.

Dos and don’ts of tech in the bedroom

  • DO… give yourself a phoneless hour before bed: “Put the phone away at least an hour before bedtime,” says Rosen, “and alert your social connections that you are doing so to limit your anxiety about feeling you might miss out on an important nighttime communication.
  • DO… take baby steps if you can’t part with your phone cold turkey: “If an hour seems interminable, then start with 15 minutes, check in for a minute, then 15 minutes more of no smartphone, and so on and practice communicating with your partner rather than paying more attention to those in your virtual worlds,” Rosen says.
  • DON’T… store the phone on your nightstand overnight: “[Leaving a cellphone] next to the bed has been shown to predict a poor night’s sleep,” says Dr. Rosen.
  • DO… talk about tech with your partner: “Couples should discuss their concerns, including the pros and cons of technology in the bedroom,” Dr. Fulbright says.
  • DO… implement clear rules about tech at home. “Rules should then be set up, e.g., no cellphones or laptops allowed. Or the laptop can only be used ’til 8 p.m. in the bedroom. Or cellphones can only be in the bedroom for alarm purposes or if you’re having trouble sleeping.”

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