Friday, 28 March 2014

Turn off to turn on?

I read an article this week on the Guardian website (by the unfortunately named Hannah Slapper...) on University College London's National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles which says, in a nutshell, we are having less sex. ('We' being 16-44 year olds- I imagine had the survey canvassed the numerous panicked visitors to the Teen Sexual Health clinic at my local doctors the results may have been very different.)

Ms. Slapper cites increased use of technology as a factor in our diminishing sex lives and it can't be denied that often the only thing getting turned on come bedtime is your Twitter feed. Durex have also launched a new advertising campaign aimed at getting people to switch their electronic devices off and start connecting with each other instead.

For me though technology is just a small part of the bigger picture. Its a common refrain that we have such busy lives we don't have time for swinging from the chandeliers and hours of foreplay. I can't argue with that, being exhausted come 10pm most nights. But in a busy week you would still eat, right? Still have a shower? Still do laundry and wash the dishes? So would it really be that difficult to squeeze in half an hour for sex every couple of days. Apparently so, according to the NATSAL survey which found that on average, women are 'mingling limbs' (is this a recognised scientific term?!) just 4.8 times a month and men 4.9. That's barely once a month!

The point is, we naturally prioritise the seen over the unseen. If we have no clean clothes to wear, it has a direct impact on our lives. Not having sex tonight, well that's no big deal is it? True, there's no immediate consequence, but I honestly believe that long periods without sexual intimacy are devastating to the foundations of a relationship, widening the chasm between a couple until the spark that brought them together has been completely extinguished.

Overdramatic? Possibly. All I have to go on is my own relationship, where I know even after a couple of days without any action we start seeing the effects. We are more likely to snap at each other, less patient, less physically and emotionally close. For us sex is the glue that holds us together, the thing that sets us apart from the other relationships in our lives. Knowing this we strive to make sex a priority, even when life gets busy. That's my excuse for not doing the washing up, anyway.

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