Intimacy and the effects of technology
It is no surprise that technology has taken over the globe in just the past few decades, changing the way we live, work, socialise and develop relationships. But we are now in an age of tech where we have seen everything so easily available on the internet from pornography available freely online, webcam sex, dating apps, the introduction of OnlyFans and remote-controlled sex toys. We are in a time where sex relates to, is referred to, or is featured in, almost everything we watch.
Addiction: Addiction is described as a neuropsychological disorder characterized by a persistent and intense urge to engage in certain behaviours, often the usage of a drug, despite substantial harm and other negative consequences. Repetitive drug use often alters brain function in ways that perpetuate craving and weakens self-control.
Is it possible to be addicted to technology?
In a word, yes. With the ease of access to literally anything from devices, some individuals can be entirely dependent on their phones, laptops, tablets and other devices. With the reliance and dependency on tech, including social media and gaming, an individual runs the risk of developing self-destructive behaviours and unhealthy coping mechanisms which can all have a huge effect, both mentally and physically in some cases.
There are typically six main types of technology addiction, they consist of social media addiction, gaming addiction, online shopping addiction, gambling addiction, work-related digital addiction and pornography addiction.
Is it possible to be addicted to pornography?
Much like technology, yes. Digital aids like pornography can be a positive addition to a relationship, help initiate intimacy and can be a great tool to bond with a partner. However, pornography addiction is a very real thing and affects between 3-6% of the adult population. Pornography addiction refers to when a person becomes so emotionally dependent on accessing and viewing pornography that it affects their day-to-day life including work, relationships and general ability to function. The average age of first exposure to pornography is now 14 years old and statistics state that 93.2% of boys and 62.1% of girls see pornography before they are 18 years old. Early exposure to pornography is correlated with increased porn use and even addiction later on in life.
However, there can be positives to this influx of technological advancements, for both single individuals and those in relationships. Because of the access available to everything intimacy-related, individuals have been able to maintain a relationship spark with a long-distance partner through the use of toys, some have been able to achieve their first orgasm in their lives and had their first introduction to pleasure because of the almost unlimited number of sites available. There have been communities grown for like-minded people to connect, share experiences and advice and so much more.
Pros & Cons of Technology in Relationships
As with anything in life, there are going to be some pros and cons regarding the inclusion of technology in a relationship.
One of the main pros for incorporating technology in relationships is that it can act as a way to bond with a partner and develop. Technology can be a way to meet a soul mate and find certain types of people online who share the same views and passions.
Of course, with the pros must come the cons of technology in relationships. As discussed, there is the potential to develop an unhealthy relationship with both technology and pornography which can, in turn, form an addiction. This can be a stressful and difficult situation for all involved. Because technology does have such ease of access, there is a risk of using technology as a way to avoid real interaction and situations.
Can therapy help?
The overall aim of sex therapy, whether done individually or as a couple / relationship is to improve physical intimacy and overcome any sexual difficulties or issues there may be. If an individual feels as though their relationship is struggling or a certain aspect of their intimacy seems to be different or “off”, a sexual therapist can be a great source of support, information and non-judgement.
Relationships and the Future
Is there any reason to worry about the future of intimacy and relationships? Or is the advancement of technology in sexual relations something to look forward to?
The truth is, it depends on an individual’s perception of the internet as a whole, themselves, their own relationships and how they choose to respond and deal with certain situations. As long as an individual is aware of any potential risks and has an open mind, the risks are far reduced.
If you feel that technology has impacted on your relationship and would like to work through this issue, the Leone Centre. Contact us today to book an appointment or discuss your requirements.