Dear Dr G,
I am emailing to enquire about my dwindling sex life, with a suspicious culprit.
I am in my late thirties and have been married for ten years.
My wife and I were trying for a child, and sadly took a total of eight years to get my daughter.
We went to the specialists for assistance, and discovered my wife was normal. However, my sperm counts were not so favourable.
In recent months, during the Movement Control Order (MCO), my wife and I were determined to get another baby before we both turned forty.
But, now I suspect I am also facing the issue of erectile dysfunction.
My wife thinks my sexual dysfunction is due to stress of Covid-19 issues.
But, I am convinced my sexual and reproductive compromises are due to the excess usage of smart phones and other smart devices.
I would like to put Dr G on the spot to unearth the links between smartphones and sexual and reproductive dysfunction in men.
I understand smartphones can emit electro-magnetic waves (EMW), which can affect the sperm counts. What usage and what proximity can induce infertility?
In addition, are you aware of any study implicating the excessive usage of smart phones as a cause of erectile dysfunction?
If so, what is the mechanism and what is the frequency of use that can cause ED?
I am sure the excess usage of smartphones for work is dampening my bedroom performance.
Therefore, I am hoping Dr G can enlighten me to outsmart the phone for better sex.
Thank you in advance.
The mobile device that combines cellular and mobile computing functions into one has smartly and subconsciously infiltrated our daily lives over the last few years.
Apart from simple voice calls and messaging, smartphones have extensive mobile operating systems to facilitate wider software, internet broadband and multimedia functionality, including work platforms, music, video, pictures and gaming.
The ability of smartphones to achieve such enormous utility dpends on its capability of transmission of radio waves through a network of fixed antennas called base stations.
Although the invisible electromagnetic fields are different from ionising radiations that can induce radiation in human bodies, the long-term impact of such radiofrequency waves is being scrutinised extensively.
According to the publications in recent years, excessive smartphone usage can lead to headaches; sleep disorders and other physical and mental health issues.
In recent years, studies on the impact of smartphone usage on sexual and reproductive health have also emerged.
The impact of Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation (RF-EMR) on the fertility of rats and rodents is well-established in lab experiments. A systemic review and meta-analysis conducted in 2014 determined the impact of RF-EMR on human sperms development and functions.
Nearly fifteen hundred male participants from fertility centres revealed excessive exposure to mobile phone was associated with an 8% reduction in sperm motility and a 9% drop in morphology. The impact on concentration was somehow equivocal. The author attributes that the ubiquity of smartphone usage can partially explain the decline in sperm quality and also attributes it to the 14% of couples in high and middle-income nations reported to have difficulties in conceiving.
The link between mobile phone usage and sexual dysfunction has also been scrutinised in a recent publication. The German study recruited 30 middle-aged men assessing the correlation between intervals of smartphone usage.
Those who spent a total time spent talking on the phone per week of 17.6 hours versus 12.5 hours were noted to experience erectile dysfunction.
In addition, men with ED carried switched-on cell phones in the trousers significantly longer than men without ED.
The daily exposure of men with ED was 4.4 hours, as compared to 1.8 hours in men with normal sexual functions.
In addition to adverse sexual and reproductive health, other reasons associated with smartphones can also result in poor bedroom performance.
A study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute concluded that smartphones could adversely affect sleep cycles causing a decline in sex hormones.
Smartphone addiction is also a phenomenon that renders an individual psychologically attached to the device, and resulted in anxiety and withdrawal when separated from it.
The American author and former US Senator Byron Dorgan once said: “Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things.”
The introduction of technology can facilitate efficiency in life aiming to have better living. However, the excessive utilisation of any devices can potential overtake normal communications, perhaps that is the bigger threat to the bedroom performance than the curse of the device itself.
Smart men with smart ideas of implicating their poor bedroom performance on the poor smartphone for their poor outcome are putting Dr G on the spot for smart answers.
His response is “Leave the smartphone outside the bedroom, then working HARD and SMART can be one smart move!”
Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at email@example.com
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