(Less) sex, (less) drugs, and the smartphone

New research is suggesting that married couples are having less sex than in the past.

New research is suggesting teenagers are abusing fewer substances.

Both studies point to the smartphone as a possible reason: The smartphone.

When looking only at married people, the drop was even sharper — from around 73 times a year in 1990 to around 55 in 2014 — bringing their frequency of sexual activity below that of never-married people. People in that group have sex an average of 59 times a year. (Washington Post) 

But researchers are starting to ponder an intriguing question: Are teenagers using drugs less in part because they are constantly stimulated and entertained by their computers and phones?

The possibility is worth exploring, they say, because use of smartphones and tablets has exploded over the same period that drug use has declined. This correlation does not mean that one phenomenon is causing the other, but scientists say interactive media appears to play to similar impulses as drug experimentation, including sensation-seeking and the desire for independence. (New York Times)

Now, let’s be careful, researchers are merely suggesting this as a hypothesis at this point. They are correlating the rise in smartphone use among teenagers and adults to decreases in substance abuse among teenagers and sexual activity among adults.

But it is an interesting correlation nonetheless. 

Over the past few years I’ve tossed out a similar hypothesis at my parent workshops… if we take the phones out of our bedrooms we will probably have a better sex life.

But should we extend that to say that teenagers should spend more time on their phones so they’ll smoke less weed? Probably not. 

In Tuning In we explore this… well, not these scenarios exactly, but we explore the idea that when and where you tune in to what’s happening on your smartphone is nearly as important as developing sacred places in your life that you tune out of technology altogether.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

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