Modern technology is causing problems in many areas of life, and for established couples, sexuality is one of them.
According to Adam Alter, Ph.D., professor of marketing and psychology at NYU and the author of the 2017 book Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, an estimated 40 percent of the population has some form of Internet addiction.
Wise parents are limiting the amount of time their children spend with their screens. I think wise couples should do the same.
I’m not talking about the dangers of Internet infidelity or cyber sexuality. That’s a separate topic.
What I mean is “normal” Internet activities like Facebook, Linkedin, Snapchat, or just having fun surfing the Web. All of that is perfectly find moderation, but what Alter, Dr. Sherry Turkle, and others have described is the difficulty of keeping Internet activities moderate — balancing online engagement with real, flesh-and-blood engagement.
For new couples, the heady brew of hormones and neurotransmitters are usually enough to make sure that they put down their iPhones and laptops and lock lips and arms to enjoy the physical pleasures that life has to offer.
But as one of my heroines, Dr. Helen Fisher, says, after a maximum of two years together, the automatic, chemically based sexual drive that we experience in a new relationship dwindles. After that, people need other kinds of fuel and engagement to keep ourselves motivated to be sexual together.
Time together doing interesting, new activities is important for maintaining a connection and keeping passion alive.
If you are part of an established couple, ask yourself the following questions:
• Do I feel that being online is a higher priority my partner’s life than me?
• Is one of our patterns of Internet activity making it feel like we don’t have enough time to talk in person about important topics?
• Is either of us using devices in the bedroom?
A yes answer on even one of these questions is a cause for alarm.
If you have heard a yes, try reading Alter’s book and see what you can do to revitalize the flesh-and-blood relationship with your partner.
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