Our love affair with smartphones

If permitted, smartphones could well spell the end of bedroom intimacy between couples.

WE ALL know how versatile smartphones can be. We can use them to make calls, surf the Internet, keep track of our emails, receive updates on the weather ... anytime, anywhere. And when I say anytime, anywhere, I really mean anytime, anywhere.

According to a recent study, it would appear that about 9% of American adults use a smartphone while having sex with their partner. And no, the latest smartphones do not have an app that transforms them into a kinky sex toy.

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario:

A husband and wife are in bed, lying on their side as they embrace each other. The husband kisses his wife tenderly on her neck, while looking at his phone, which, unbeknown to her, is being held a few centimetres behind her head.

She responds with a little moan, but behind his back she is checking her Facebook account.

The husband checks the weather forecast for an upcoming overseas trip to the Middle East. “Oh, it’s going to get really hot,” he says out loud.

“Oh, that’s nice,” she says, thinking he is talking about their love-making.

Feeling a little guilty, he nibbles her ear.

“Oh, I like that,” says the wife, as she presses the “Like” button on a cute photograph of a cat that one of her friends has posted on Facebook.

“I’m glad you do. What else do you like?” he says, as he looks at a stock market report.

“I have 45 different likes,” she says, referring to the number of likes one of her Facebook posts has received.

“You have 45 different sexual likes?” he says. “You never told me about this before, you little sex fiend.”

“Oh, well, maybe that’s exaggerating a bit,” she says, frantically trying to get out of a potentially awkward conversation.

“Looks like things are really heating up now,” he says, referring to his stock market shares.

The wife begins to feel nervous, because the last thing she wants to do is admit to her husband that her Facebook account is more appealing than his bedtime moves. “OK, I’ll tell you one thing I really like, but only if you tell me one thing you really like,” she says.

He continues to study a share market report and sees that investments in certain mining sectors are on the rise. “Looks like minerals might be the way to go,” he says.

“Minerals?” she says, looking at the notorious online photo of Miley Cyrus sitting on top of a wrecking ball. “What do minerals have to do with your sexual likes?”

“Did I say minerals?” he says, stalling for time.

“I meant mineral water.”

“Mineral water?”

“Yes, I’d like to see you drenched in mineral water while wearing nothing but a white T-shirt. What about you?”

“Do you think we could have a wrecking ball in the house?”

But he’s distracted, yet again. “What sort of ball is that? Would I have to wear a tuxedo and hire caterers?”

Although the majority of people refrain from using their smartphones while having sex with their partner, if the phone is even in the same room while they are sharing an intimate moment, it can be just as distracting.

For example, if the phone gives off some sort of an alarm (which can be anything from birds tweeting to the William Tell Overture to the Chipmunks singing) to indicate an incoming message, that might be enough to break the focus of an intimate exchange. Instead of concentrating on their partner, the phone owner will spend the rest of the interlude trying to guess who the sender of the message might be.

Of course, many couples are so engrossed in their smartphones (as well as their notebooks and iPads) in the bedroom that they don’t even initiate intimacy in the first place. They are so preoccupied with Facebook and Twitter and news updates and the next level of Candy Crush that they stare at their glowing screens until it’s way after midnight and much too late to interact with the living, breathing person lying next to them.

Still, we must always try to look on the bright side. Smartphones are possibly helping to slow down the growth of our burgeoning global population. If a country has too many citizens and not enough resources to support them, all they have to do is issue each person of reproductive age with a smartphone.

Governments everywhere could refer to it as the iContraceptive.

> Check out Mary on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mary.schneider.writer. Reader response can be directed to star2@thestar.com.my.

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