Saturday, 15 May 2021 18:26

Is the internet going to kill your sex life?

What if our smartphones, televisions and computers were just more addicting than other pleasures? The columnist of La Matinale Maïa Mazaurette stresses that, even if the practices are released, the number of sexual relations is declining.
In the land of black sheep and white paws, the Internet is king! For twenty years we have accused the networks of almost every possible and imaginable evil: the overflow of work on our private lives, our insomnia, our loneliness, our discomfort in front of the perfect life of quinoa eaters, the surge of plague. bubonic (soon on your screens)… Whether we are right or not, whether certain facts are proven or invalidated, we at least agreed on one thing: the Internet was the realm of sex. Good or bad.

Under his influence, young people had earlier access to sexual information, we adults found sexual partners more easily, we always obtained "motivating" content in two clicks to inspire us on bored evenings, we could consult the sites. medical care for our little ailments and big routs, we always had someone with whom to share our most secret fantasies ... in short, we had access to the perfect sex catalog - according to the very famous rule 34 of the Internet, which wants that "if a thing exists, then the Internet offers a pornographic version of it ”.

But what if it was the other way around? Because the numbers are piling up right now that show a decline in the number of sex acts. According to the University of San Diego (cited in the Archives of Sexual Behavior) and over the past 15 years or so, married couples, for example, have gone from one and a half somersaults a week to just having sex. A reduction of one third! Among the reasons researchers put forward for this generalized sexual depression, choose your personal nemesis: the increase in the number of single people (an aspect that does not apply to married couples, of course), taking antidepressants and ... tadam, the Internet. You will tell me: this is happening in the United States, whereas here we are hot rabbits - hunter sauce.

Fewer joints, more texts

In which case I will oppose you a figure, taken from Le Monde in December 2016 and which concerns our little French: "The proportion of students who have had sex in 4th and 3rd year remains moderate (respectively 9% and 18%), and is declining. compared to 2010. ”A general trend, since in Europe, 29% of boys and 23% of 15-year-old girls had sex in 2010 - we are now at 24 and 17% respectively.

Why worry so much about the sexual habits of young people? Because if we think about the impact of the internet on our sex lives, those who grew up rocking smartphones are obviously on the front lines. It is also not innocent that this week another study fell from the sky, concerning another Great Forbidden, but strangely similar: according to the very serious New York Times, young people take less drugs, especially 12-17 year olds. , who would spend the trifle of six and a half hours a day in front of their screen.

Cigarettes and alcohol have declined by half in ten years in this specific population. In the evening, the young people let pass the joint to send texts. Once again, no need to imagine that it is better "at home": in France, college students atomize young Americans from the top of their ... seven hours and forty-eight minutes of screen per day.

Correlation is not causality: correlations that are nonetheless constantly aligned. Rape that would decline as the internet spreads? The return of certain venereal diseases? The practices that were assumed to be rare and close to the norm - sodomy, bifurcation, swinging, BDSM (for "bondage, discipline, sadomasochism"), silicone dolls? Without really reliable metadata, we don't know. It is simply too early for us to draw any conclusions.

Love kills

Too early to give answers, but not to ask questions. What if the Internet took the place of other addictions? What if our smartphones, televisions and computers were just more addicting than other pleasures - just one take, and you're doomed forever? Researchers are currently looking into the reward circuits specific to our “innocent” digital entertainment: according to the latest figures available to us, we consult our smartphones an average of 221 times a day. Good luck to manage to smoke so many cigarettes ...

What if our favorite series featured more twists and turns than our mattresses, more endearing and complex characters than our spouses? What if the time slots devoted to these serials began, as if by chance, the time normally devoted to sexual intercourse (rather at the end of the week, rather from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.)?

What about pornography - is it killing our libidos slowly, by dint of disembodying them? We already know that the unrealistic practices and formats of porn (at least most of the productions belonging to this genre) have a negative impact on the image we have of our bodies and our performances (without wishing to insist: especially when we are young and without other benchmarks). But, even from an aesthetic point of view, one might wonder if this accessible sexuality is not a more effective killer than the last cattle slaughter video.

Let's be honest for a moment: When you get to the porn tube home page, the display sometimes gets out of hand. The first results offer unstung close-ups of the beetles - precisely because these images are spectacular or shocking, they "go up" to the front line. And expose us to less flavorful content than we would like ...
  • Maïa Mazaurette
    LeMonde Journalist 
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Last modified on Friday, 23 April 2021 10:15

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