How ramp­ing down screen time al­lows for more romp­ing be­tween the sheets

Business Day - - LIFE - Robert Shrim­s­ley

Ap­par­ently if I spent less time on my cell­phone I could be hav­ing a lot more sex. Not just me you un­der­stand, all of us. So, fi­nally, a good rea­son to ease up on screen time.

This im­por­tant in­sight came from a New York Times re­port, which con­cluded that peo­ple were spend­ing an av­er­age of 1,460 hours a year on their phones and that this equated to an aw­ful lot of lost cou­pling.

The news­pa­per es­ti­mated that this time amounted to 16,000 lost bonks if each ses­sion lasts 5.4 min­utes, not in­clud­ing fore­play. Even so, it is a tough call. Do I re­ally want to swap the per­fect sen­su­ous in­ter­face and rounded bezel of an iPhone for some­thing as flawed as a hu­man be­ing with no Wi-Fi con­nec­tion?

Ob­vi­ously, there are some method­olog­i­cal is­sues with this in­for­ma­tion. For one thing, quite a lot of the time I spend on my phone is on the jour­ney to work and trains are far too crowded in the morn­ing for that sort of thing. I also use the phone a fair amount at the of­fice and, again, while the Fi­nan­cial Times prides it­self on be­ing a fam­i­lyfriendly work­place, it’s not that fam­ily-friendly.

In any case, this the­ory only works if your part­ner is cut­ting down on screen use at the same time. Imag­ine how de­grad­ing it would be to give up Candy Crush for some spe­cial time with your ob­ject of de­sire only to find they are still per­fectly con­tent play­ing Fort­nite.

Fur­ther­more, 16,000 ex­tra spins a year un­der the cov­ers is es­sen­tially 44 ad­di­tional ses­sions of love­mak­ing each day. Now, I don’t wish to cast doubt on my own sta­tus as a testos­terone-fu­elled love ma­chine, but while that fig­ure may seem en­tic­ing in your teens, by the time you turn 50, that’s pretty as­pi­ra­tional.

We do also need to con­sider the vi­tal role played by phones in get­ting peo­ple a shot at their 16,000 bonks.

Can time on Tin­der be off­set against lost cou­pling? What about all those hope­ful What­sApp mes­sages? Surely some of them are nec­es­sary pre­cur­sors to 5.4 min­utes of con­nu­bial bliss.

Of course, this num­ber is merely for demon­stra­tion pur­poses. You could just cut down on phone usage and have some ex­tra time be­tween the sheets, but clearly it’s im­por­tant to get the bal­ance right. There are tweets to be an­swered and I’m still only at level 345 in Panda Pop.

There is, patently, no causal link be­tween re­duced screen time and in­creased romp­ing — merely that the time is freed up and that you have to do some­thing with your hands.

You could ob­vi­ously spread the ex­tra time you win back a lit­tle more evenly — per­haps work­ing in the gar­den, go­ing for a walk, meet­ing friends or read­ing a book.

Ap­par­ently, the 1,400 saved hours would al­low you to read Mar­cel Proust’s À la Recherche

du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) more than 20 times.

The broader point of what was an oth­er­wise point­less sur­vey is sim­ply that we spend a lot of time on the phone. The fig­ures amount to about a quar­ter of each wak­ing day, many of them aim­less, al­most un­think­ing pe­rusal.

I know I al­most re­flex­ively check my e-mails, a news site or Twit­ter ev­ery few min­utes when I am not ac­tively en­gaged in an­other pur­suit. The spawn have to be prised from their de­vices by such mea­sures as meal­time bans. For most of us, grab­bing the phone is the de­fault re­sponse to in­ac­tiv­ity.


We do not have to plan to buy a paper or carry a book or do any­thing that will al­le­vi­ate bore­dom. It is the un­think­ing an­ti­dote to any­thing that does not have our full at­ten­tion, a li­cence to be else­where.

What the data re­ally shows is just how eas­ily we lapse into screen use and the ex­tent to which an ac­tive de­ci­sion is now re­quired to do some­thing else.

Per­son­ally, I still think the 16,000 ex­tra bonks may be an ask but I might give Proust a go. /© Fi­nan­cial Times, 2019


Mis­match: Putting down your phone in or­der to have more sex only works if your part­ner cuts down on screen use at the same time.

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