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Mar 29

Is Technology Ruining Your Sex Life?


Wake up. Check your E-mail. Tweet about your breakfast. Google “calories in blueberry pancackes.” Browse calorie-burning apps on your smartphone.

Sound familiar? There’s no question that technology has made itself quite comfortable in our daily routines — from the second we wake up to the moment we wind down. In fact, a recent survey from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that, across generations, 95 percent of Americans tune in to some form of technology, whether it’s television or texting, before hitting the hay.

Okay, okay. But electronics couldn’t have an effect on your sex life … could they? Actually, a number of recent studies have shown that technology does come with sexual side effects. Here’s the science:

Your Laptop Can Lessen Your Sperm Count

No matter where you are — at the office, on the couch, in bed — your trusty laptop is within reach. But recent research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility has found that your wirelessly connected computer may come with a scary side effect: It could undermine your sperm quality.

In the study, samples of sperm were collected and either stored normally or under a laptop that had a wireless connection. Within the laptop sample, more sperm had problems swimming normally and had more DNA damage, suggesting that direct exposure to the laptop’s radiation could hurt the chances of reproduction. In fact, the researchers speculated that keeping a computer near the testes “may result in decreased male fertility.”

Working From Home May Equal Erectile Dysfunction

With E-mailing cabibility on every device, it’s easier to take work home than ever before — but that may come with a downside: Experts link working around the clock to more stress and less sex.

“Stress from any cause is associated with adrenaline,” says Doron S. Stember, MD, a urologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. “Adrenaline is an extremely potent anti-erection hormone. Since checking work e-mail at home is associated with high job-related anxiety, it can indirectly lead to erectile dysfunction.” The good news? This temporary type of erectile dysfunction is completely reversible — so try leaving your work at the office.

Smartphones Win Over Sex

Are you sharing your bed with technology? That could spell trouble for your sex life, says Dr. Stember.

In the same NSF survery, 21 percent of particpants confessed that they text before nodding off almost every night — and 36 percent of Americans curl up with their computers or laptops in bed before they fall asleep. The result? Less time spent making love and more time spent staring at screens. Besides being unromantic, “use of smartphones or tablets while in bed is associated with states of high adrenaline,” says Stember. Again, adrenaline works directly against erectile function.

Expects agree: Your bed should be used for two purposes and two purposes only — sleeping and sex.

Two’s Company, But Social Media’s a Crowd

Posting comments to Facebook and Twitter just before turning out the lights might be fun, but it’s less likely to lead to sex than actually talking with a loved one, says Stember. Ditto for texting with your loved one more often than having an actual conversation.

“In some cases, use of electronic devices in bed can signal to a man’s partner that he’s less than fully interested in them, and this contributes to a poor sexual dynamic,” Stember says.

How to Pull the Plug

“Many men have developed a habit of spending hours in front of the computer each night,” says Stember. “More computer time means less time interacting with their partners.”

The good news, Stember says, is that all of these issues are easily solvable. He adds, “Men who recognize a problem should make a conscious effort to limit their computer time to certain hours. Some people find it helpful to simply turn off their computers rather then letting them go into sleep mode. The simple inconvenience of waiting for the computer to boot up can provide a useful barrier to compulsive checking of e-mail or Facebook.”

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