Technology affects us in many ways in our daily lives. But an often overlooked part of our lives is relationships and dating. As with many things, excessive use of technology and social media has created a series of problems with how we approach things. But are the changes we experienced that dramatic? Or are we just blowing the whole thing out of proportion? We reached out to sex therapist Matthew Bartolo to see if tech really has that big of an effect.
Fear of being left out
Humans are social creatures. We have an innate desire to be liked. With social media, the ability to show the highlights of our life, and make it seem infinitely better than it actually is has created a problem. This creates the image that everyone else is having the time of their life, while we are living a boring old life.
The grass is always greener…
This fear, along with the growth of dating apps, has created a perception of endless choice. When you can find someone else at the click of a button, we might be more critical of our dates or partners. The thought of “there might be someone better” claws at the back of our minds, even if we know it might not be completely true.
It’s not all doom and gloom
These same factors allow us to be more assertive. We are less likely to just settle for anyone and are less tolerant of people being assholes. Because so much information is already available, relationships also move quicker, because we can skip all the questions about exes and our past. Helping us to have more open and direct conversations.
Dating apps also help people who are busy or those who just don’t really fancy going to bars and trying their luck. Even the fact that you know that the person is there for more or less the same reasons as you help cut through the guesswork. However, it is important that the dating app isn’t seen as an endless catalogue that they need to go through. Again going back to being overly critical of our dates.
Tech has both helped and hindered our view of sex to an extent. It has helped make sex more an every day part of life. Sex toys are very easily available. And people are having sex more for their own personal pleasure, rather than viewing it as a chore, or as something they have to do.
That being said, research is showing that because of pornography, people are altering their bodies to look more like the people we see in porn. There is also a greater focus on individual “performance” which can adversely affect the pleasure of sex. Whether this is due to Porn specifically, or due to sex being more readily available is still up for debate.
While every relationship is different, Mr. Bartolo gave us some general tips. Firstly, make sure that you are having some technology-free couple time. Put down your phones during dates. And don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourselves to others. While, yes, it is easier said than done, just remember that a healthy relationship needs work and lots of communication.
Do you think social media has affected your relationship? Tell us about your experiences.