People Are Using Their Smartphones Everywhere–Even During Sex

July 19, 2013 by Justin Lehmiller

Man using his phone in bed while his wife expresses frustration

These days, you can’t help but notice that people are using their smartphones almost everywhere they go. People are on their phones at the dinner table, in the movie theater, in the car, at the gym, and sometimes in church. However, you may be surprised to learn that smartphones are even creeping their way into bed with us. In fact, a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that 1 in 10 American adults admit to using their phone in one way or another during sex.

The poll was conducted online with a sample of 2021 U.S. adults, of whom about 55% were smartphone users. Among those who owned a smartphone, 9% reported having used their phone during sex; however, this figure more than doubled to 20% among young adults aged 18-34. Some other interesting findings from the survey: 72% of smartphone users keep their phone within five feet at all times, 33% reported having used their phone while on a dinner date, and 12% admitted that their smartphone was interfering with their relationship.

Unfortunately, the survey did not inquire about what people were using their phones for during sex. My suspicion would be that a fair amount of this smartphone usage probably involved taking pictures or videos and represented a consensual activity. However, I wouldn’t put it past some people to text, answer a call, or even “check in” while they’re between the sheets.

Here’s my take on all of this: if you can’t put your phone down long enough to have sex or if you’d rather talk to someone other than your partner while you’re getting it on, there’s a problem. When you’re in a relationship, the only connection you should be trying to build during sex is with your partner, not with the nearest wireless tower. Distraction and poor communication are among the most common causes of sexual and relationship problems, so it would be advisable to disconnect from technology during sex and focus your attention on your partner instead.

What do you think? Have you ever used your smartphone during sex? Why? Visit the Reader Survey and tell us about your thoughts and experiences. We’ll tally the responses and present them in a forthcoming article.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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