The answer is Yes! Phones in bed are taking a toll on sex lives.
There was an interesting research study that had some eye-popping statistics.
Here is a quick synopsis of some the statistics from that study :
1. Survey reveals that nearly three in four adults bring their phone to bed with them.
2. More than a third of Americans say their sex life has suffered as a result of smartphones in the bedroom.
3. A quarter of respondents admit the last thing they see before closing their eyes at night is their phone, not their partner.
My wife and I went to a restaurant a few days ago and looked around. At least half of the couples were looking at their phones and not talking or looking at their partner.
Why is this happening, what are the consequences and how can we change this?
There are different love stages that relationships go through.
I have talked about this in other articles but I will briefly state that in the earliest stages, dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that is very pleasurable and alivening is abundant.
In these early stages, people are drawn to each other and give each other lots of attention and quality time.
As couples stay together, the automatic passion goes down as dopamine goes down and serotonin (another neurotransmitter) actually goes up. So there’s a sense of security (serotonin can be very soothing) but the sense of adventure can be lost.
Here’s some activities that typically increase dopamine:
1. hobbies and activities that we find pleasurable
2. delicious food
3. some drugs
4. screens including TV, computer and mobile phones
Let me give you and example how this works:
Here’s a couple that has been together for a while where the dopamine has now gone down and the serotonin has gone up (which is natural).
Meanwhile, one or both partners have in the left or right hand a mobile device with a screen that increases dopamine every time they click on it.
Therein lies the battle.
Do we get the instant dopamine shift or do we began acting in ways that can create dopamine between us as an intimate couple?
Whereas in earlier relationship stages, the dopamine is high and you really don’t have to go out of your way to have the high dopamine, as time goes on, it takes courage, creativity and attention to create the dopamine.
It is definitely not as instantaneous as looking at a screen.
The consequences of this continued pattern can be an increasingly disconnected intimate relationship, an increase of depression and/or anxiety for one or both partners, increased boredom and higher chance for infidelity.
Another consequence is that if we have children, they are observing our behavior and learn as well from their parents that screens are more interesting than people. Some other indirect consequences include less healthy sleep (screens stimulate us and make it more difficult to enter a sleep state), dulling of the mind and an actual slowing down of healthy brain stimulation, and a far less meaningful life.
Here are 7 tips to changing this unhealthy pattern.
1. Practice noticing your automatic habits and what pulls your attention.
Deciding to become more conscious is the first step in creating a happier and more meaningful life in general and more specifically it is the beginning of creating a more stimulating relationship with your intimate partner.
2. Accept that happiness in all areas of your life including relationships takes work.
This includes the work of disciplining yourself not to do the automatic and easier thing.
3. Decide on dates as well as at home to learn about your partner. In other words, decide to get curious and pay attention to your partner. What does your partner crave or love? What does your partner feel deprived of? Where are your partner’s hopes and dreams? What are some of the painful emotional experience your partner is going through? These questions are actually just a very small sample. The bottom line is you decide to be curious and interested. It’s amazing how more interesting your partner becomes when you decide to become interested.
4. When you go on a date, leave your phone in the car. Unplug.
5. Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to unplug. No screens. Decide to use the bedroom for just two things- intimacy and sleep.
6. Remember that a purposeful and intentional life has much higher quality than an addictive one.
7. Don’t be boring.
Be interesting by becoming more courageously vulnerable or by coming up with a fresh and new idea with your partner. This could be both in and out of the bedroom.
So next time you’re tempted to grab your phone and take it into the bedroom…stop and think about it before you do!
Remember that having phones in bed are taking a toll on sex lives.
The rewards of less phone and more real intimate attention is significant. I can help you rekindle that passion. Feel free to contact me.
Mr. Creager is educated and trained as a Marriage and Sex Therapist and spends much of his time helping partners in long-term relationships learn how to create passionate, alive and nourishing interactions. He provides unique and powerful insights that lead to powerful breakthroughs which result in his clients getting closer to realizing their full potential.