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4 Ways Technology Changed Our Sex Lives & Relationships for Better & Worse

There’s no doubt that we live in a tech era, where our tablets and smartphones are essential to most aspects of our daily lives. We probably don’t need to give you any formal statistics to convince you that this is the case – you’re probably reading this on a phone or laptop, right?

Nonetheless, just in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past 20 years, here are some facts: 88% of adults under age 30 use technology, while 78% of people under 50 do the same. What about the kids? 92% of children under 2 have had internet airtime already, and it seems that most infants are learning to swipe before they walk or talk.

Is this for better or for worse? The answer is: both. Technology can improve or worsen our lives, depending on how we use it. In this article, we cover 4 ways that technology has changed our sex lives and relationships - for better and for worse. Keep reading to find out what you can do to engage with technology in a way that benefits your love life rather than crippling it.

For Better: Technology Can Broaden Your Sexual Horizons

Gone are the days when you’d face an awkward interaction at a newsagent or adult store to get your hands on the latest edition of whatever dirty mag or you were looking for. The recent tech explosion of our era has made for a completely different way of obtaining and using porn. More specifically, high-tech cameras and HD screens coupled with high-speed internet connections and the fact that most Americans have multiple devices – it’s now easier to access porn that it has been at any other point in history.

So, what’s the good news? Watching porn can introduce an element of novelty, excitement, and passion into your relationships. However, as we discuss later, using porn in the wrong way can lead to serious sexual health concerns. So, how can you use it to broaden your sexual horizons? Here’s a pointer: sharing is caring!

It’s a no-brainer, really: long-term relationships can often stagnate when it comes to the bedroom, but watching porn together can prompt you to explore new ways of being sexually intimate. In one survey, for example, 58% of women said that watching porn with a partner improved their sexual intimacy!

Porn also gives you the opportunity to increase your individual sexual awareness by showing your partner what does and doesn’t turn you on. Seeing a fantasy played out on the screen may also give you the confidence to talk about your deepest and darkest desires, which can be an incredibly powerful experience of bonding and validation.

For Worse: Excessive Porn Consumption Can Rewire Your Brain

These days, the quantity of curious and slightly bewildering porn-genres that are available is overwhelming: bondage, feminist, milf, gang-bang, and parody porn. This barely scratches the surface of what’s out there – and trust us, it can get dark. So, whatever your kink or fantasy, it’s all accessible with one click of your mouse.

The downside to this is that it’s far easier to develop addictive-like behaviour when overusing porn, and people are also being exposed to increasingly hard-core and deviant imagery. This can lead to degrading and unequal expectations of how men and women should behave in the bedroom, whilst also negatively affecting your brain circuitry.

For example, researchers believe that overusing porn – especially when you’re progressing into the more hardcore variants of it – can lead you to develop sexual dysfunction. Porn-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED) is a diagnosis that may be given when excessive porn use changes your brain and body, making you desensitized to sexual contact with a real person. As a result, some men may struggle to get an erection without watching or imagining porn. If you’re worried that you might have PIED, speak to a sex therapist about getting some support or visit this page to learn more about the condition.

For Better: Increased Connection

Does being connected to the internet mean that you’re going to get disconnected from other important people in your life? This is a concern shared by parents, religious organization,s and researchers around the world. But is it true?

Not always. Research from the International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy showed that technology can bring couples closer together. The study surveyed 59 people, asking questions about their tech use and relationship patterns. Couples who used technology interactively rather than alone had a greater sense of well-being and of being in control of their worlds; they were also more likely to seek out social connection. Using technology together made for healthier individuals whilst also strengthening their relationships.

How can you be more interactive in your technology use? This may be as simple as watching a series together, playfully texting one another, jointly discussing a news feed, or even playing an online game together. Once again, when it comes to tech use, sharing is caring - and science says that this will lead to cuddles for days.

For Worse: Internet Addiction Disorder

Can you become addicted to technology? Brain researchers believe that Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is indeed a real thing, affecting up to 8.2% of the general population. Whether it’s a matter of gaming, sex videos, social media or online gambling, if you (or your partner) have developed addictive or compulsive behaviours in relation to technology, this has the potential to absolutely devastate your relationship. Why?

Addiction is known as a disease where the brain of an addict becomes rewired, causing them to treat their habit as something that is essential for basic survival. In severe cases of addiction, the person will seek out their habit instead of other activities that are truly vital for survival – including water, food, and yes, relationships.

However, IAD is a relatively new phenomenon and more research needs to be done before it can be listed as an official disorder. Nonetheless, there are many psychologists, doctors, and researchers out there who lay claim to being able to treat internet addiction. If you feel that your relationship and life are suffering due to tech use, reach out to a psychologist or addiction specialist for some support.

Enjoy Responsibly

Some people benefit from an occasional glass of wine, which can help them relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family. Too much wine too often, however, can steer you onto a pathway of addiction, debt, self-destruction, and ruined relationships.

Technology is the same: it can add value to your sex life and relationship, or it can cause chaos. So, while you’re plugged in, be sure to use the pointers we have discussed today in order to enjoy technology responsibly.

Daniel Sher

Daniel Sher

Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist, practicing in Cape Town South Africa. He serves as a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, which provides sex-therapy online programs. A component of his training and practice involves working in the context of sexual and sex-related issues. Practice aside, Daniel is... Read More

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