Dr. Jess on Sex: Tech can help couples keep the spark alive

Technology could be the glue that keeps you and your partner together


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Couples can use certain apps to expand their sexual horizons

If you catch yourself complaining about cellphones and digital devices ruining relationships, you might just be an old fuddy-duddy. (Other evidence of being out of fashion and fussy: using the term “fuddy-duddy”).

Toronto couple Alex and Dee insist that technology is the glue that keeps their relationship hot. They use an app to schedule dates/sex (In the Mood), another to expand their sexual horizons (iKamasutra) and even one to control their sex toys (We-Connect). 

“Experts are always telling you to flirt with your partner. Or set a date. These apps give us more ways to do these things — and it’s not as awkward,” Dee explains.

“Yeah. She’s not a natural flirt,” Alex says and laughs. “What’s important is that we keep the tech that we use for the day-to-day, like texting, separate from the apps we use for sexy time. And the kids are probably happy that our apps are password protected.”

Although it’s true the presence of digital technology can detract from intimacy and connection, tech also has the potential to enrich relationships, according to a series of recent studies.

Couples in marriages that blossomed via social media, for example, report high levels of relationship satisfaction. And one study that measured couples’ honesty, authenticity and social sharing found that those too-good-to-be-true couples who post about their happy relationships are in fact … happier. Those couples are also fluent in the sixth love language: public declarations.

Those in long-distance relationships experience greater intimacy and more positive communications than those who live close/together, and research suggests that these benefits are heightened when using mobile and text-based media. Not only do digital platforms force us to forge new (and exciting) paths to intimacy, but they also offer more options for self-expression including text, videos, photos, GIFs, stickers, voice notes, memes and emojis. 

Interestingly, those who frequently use emojis have more sex and go on more dates, and women who use the kiss emoji reach orgasm more quickly with a regular partner. 

Whether you’re 17 or 70, technology plays a role in every relationship, and if you want it to be positive, you need to discuss your expectations and have some fun. If you don’t talk about tech, friction (and not the good kind) is guaranteed. This old fuddy-duddy believes phones have no place in the dining room or the bedroom (unless you’re using it to control your vibrator), but ultimately it’s up to you to agree upon rules and follow them — no excuses.

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Jess O’Reilly is a sought-after speaker, author and sexologist. SexWithDrJess.com.

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