Sticky Post

How technology is affecting our relationships and sex lives

May 17, 2019

All over the world people are allowing technology to affect their relationships and their sex lives. It seems that our obsession with all things digital can be damaging to our love lives in the real world.

I talk to couples who complain that their partners are always reading text messages or checking social media. One of my clients, who got married only six months ago, says his wife always has her iPhone nearby and sometimes even answers it when they are having sex. He feels he is second best and has become angry and disappointed.

It’s not difficult to believe that people touch their smart phones more than they touch their partners. But what does it say if your partner prefers checking his or her Facebook or Twitter account instead of joining you in the bedroom?

Another way sex and technology have become enmeshed is through the many forms of internet dating. In my profession it’s important to keep ahead of new sex technologies to understand what my clients are telling me, and I am often asked my opinion about “dating websites”. People read about finding love through websites and social media and they wonder if they should give it a try.

Times have changed and many people these days – including tech-savvy middle-aged and older Australians – are dating via the internet as it is no longer considered embarrassing.

Almost everyone has a device that can access the internet now and the creation of a personal profile for a dating site has become popular. On some sites however, you never really know who you are talking to, a profile photograph may be 10 years old causing disappointment IRL (in real life).

Safety is a concern when it comes to meeting people through the internet. The well-known consumer magazine Choice published a good review of some of the most popular Australian dating sites, such as RSVP, eHarmony, Oasis Active, Ok Cupid and Gaydar, investigating their privacy policies, practices and mentioning some of the pitfalls.

The website Dating Sites Australia shows a list of general dating sites, including some for seniors, single parents, gay and lesbians, religious and ethnic groups.

Sites that have online dating chat rooms, such as Adult Match Maker Australia and RedHotPie, are also in demand. It seems that the digital scene we have today is much more conducive to finding “the right person” than ever before.

There’s also the controversial but highly popular Ashley Madison dating site which was created for partnered people who want to have an affair with no strings attached. It’s slogan is “Life is short – Have an affair!”

Cybersex is yet another technology couples can engage in, usually when they are not living together, are in a long-distance relationship or are apart for other reasons. Skype sex with the help of a webcam is a perfect way to keep in touch with a lover.

Then there’s sexting which is mainly used by the under 30s, which is a pity because some teenagers, who may not be mature enough, can get themselves in trouble by sending embarrassing pictures of themselves that they may regret later. Sexting can be fun for people of all ages as long as you do it with somebody you love and trust.

Other new trends are smart phone apps that are used for sex hook-ups with no strings attached. In Australia we have Grindr a mobile social networking and dating app for gay men that uses GPS technology. Users can log on and instantly see other Grindr members in the area and share pictures and chat.

Tinder and Blendr are the heterosexual versions and they also give users the exact proximity of people they may be interested in. And then there is the rather controversial Facebook app BangWithFriends, popular with young adults interested in casual sex.

A female version of these is Dattch, a UK-based lesbian dating app, which will soon be launched in Australia. It claims to be the only app designed specifically for women, rather than copying existing straight or gay-male versions.

But the most unusual dating solution must be the Hook-up Truck, created by San Francisco-based conceptual artist Spy Emerson. She designed a vehicle which looks like a standard delivery truck, equipped with a temperature controlled special room with a bed, mood lighting and condoms.

The truck can be booked online and driven and parked to any agreed-upon location. Apparently having sex in a truck, appeals to a wide variety of people. I wonder how long it will take to have an Australian version of the “safe sex hook-up truck?”