According to a new survey by condom maker Durex, 5% of UK respondents have admitted to browsing Facebook while having sex, as well as 12% who answered the phone and 10% who texted. Durex asks "could gadgets and gizmos be the main reason behind the fact that people are having 20% less sex than in 2000?" And so it seems that smartphone use must be added to the list of things never to do during sex, along with eating, smoking, singing, checking your watch, calling your partner by the wrong name and anything recommended by Cosmo.
Rude as tweeting during sex is, you should be skeptical of drawing the conclusion that smartphones and social media are drawing us apart rather than closer together, or ruining our sex lives. Durex's accompanying video, seen below, is filled with the same kind of holier-than-thou messaging as the obnoxious "I Forgot My Phone" viral video, which Cyborgology's Nathan Jurgenson described thusly:
"... people are not connecting anymore, that people are robots rather than human, that we've lost experience in the moment … but I am the special exception ... ["I Forgot My Phone" is part of the] larger narrative that we're trading-the-real-for-the-virtual which is largely untrue and instead functions to make those sharing the video sure of themselves as a very extra special person."
A skeptic might even note that the Durex ad seems a little bit like a direct rip off of "I Forgot My Phone," just with a quirky tie-in to this month's upcoming Earth Hour to make the company (and by proxy, its condoms) seem more hip and progressive. And the whole concept is undermined by adding a hashtag, isn't it? But at least this trend comes with some nookie, in theory.
It's clever marketing designed as a counter-narrative to our increasingly technological culture. But sexual satisfaction depends on a lot of factors, ranging from how much better you think other peoples' sex lives are to how often you do it. And the average combined workweek of couples aged 25-54 has increased a lot, which might partially explain the drop in sexual activity. Busy, tired people just don't want to do it. In 1969, American couples worked just 56 hours a week. By 2000, they worked 67. The phone probably isn't killing your sex life, but your partner's chain to their desk may be.