Watching television really does kill your sex life, new research reveals.
The last decade has been called the second ‘golden age of television’ – but that might just make it the dark ages of intimacy.
SOURCE: Daily Mail
From the very introduction of America’s favorite media, pop culture observers and even the Indian government have predicted that it could bring about a sexual doomsday.
Researchers at the University of Delaware and Reed College wanted to see if there was any truth to these prophecies.
Television may not kill your sex life altogether, but it will certainly make it more sluggish, they discovered.
In 1928, the first ever television drama was ‘broadcast’ in the US, using coordinated but separate audio – played through radios – and visual media, viewed on tiny television screens.
By the 1950s, television had reshaped the living rooms of wealthy Americans, with furniture – and families – arranged around the screen.
Now, nearly every household in the US (96 percent) has at least one TV. That means for every 100 Americans, of all ages and sexes, there are 81 televisions.
It’s not just space that televisions take up in our lives; it’s time. An average American spends more than one fifth (five hours) of their day watching TV.
By comparison, we spend less than half of one percent of our lives having sex.
Television is not entirely to blame for these far-off ratios, but it might play some role.
More accurately, it is responsible for about six percent of the sex you aren’t having, according to the new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
To get that number, the research team compared how much self-reported sex couples had in households with televisions to the sex lives of those living a big-screen-free life.
Their comprehensive data included responses from nearly four million people in 80 countries across the world.
Other research has suggested that as TV ownership goes up, fertility declines and even, Ghulam Nabi Azad, minister of health in India said in 2009 that ’80 percent of population growth can be reduced through TV,’ as the new paper’s authors note.
Both TV-watching and sex are considered ‘leisure’ activities, so, in theory, some of the same factors might determine if we engage in either, and we might glean some of the same benefits – like happiness – from both.
But there are some clear, key differences. For example, more frequent sex has a ‘strong’ positive effect on overall happiness, and make us feel closer to our partners. according to one 2016 study of Americans.
Sexual activity is also physical activity. It won’t replace your workout, but it will certainly do more for your metabolism, muscles and heart health than sitting in front of a show.
When it comes to TV-watching and happiness, the results are a bit more mixed.
People who are already unhappy tend to watch more TV – likely as a distraction – but it doesn’t seem to help them much, and may even make them more likely to experience a low mood again the day after a good binge watch.
Yet, we don’t tend to allocate our time according to what is best for us.
‘If coital frequency is highly responsive to television ownership, this would suggest that humans are willing to substitute electronic media for intimate human companionship,’ the authors of the new study wrote.
Their findings suggest the situation is not quite as dire as that question suggests – or at least it wasn’t in 2010, when their data was gathered.
The six percent less sex TV-watchers have is a ‘statistically significant’ but not particularly large association,’ the authors wrote.
But that may be because there is a new game in town to distract couples from their sex lives.
‘More recently, popular culture has claimed that smartphones are killing peoples sex lives,’ the authors wrote.
Since their study was done ‘before the widespread availability of smartphones,’ the research doesn’t account for time spent staring at our smaller screens.
‘In countries with ubiquitous smartphones, the smartphone might be the real sex life killer,’ the authors wrote.