The phrase “Netflix and chill” has become code for binge-watching TV and having sex. But it turns out, people are doing more of the former and less of the latter these days. In fact, a new survey conducted by SurveyMonkey for the Wall Street Journal found that one in four people have turned down sex in favor of watching Netflix in the last six months.
While this data might be shocking to some, it actually aligns with many other recent findings about sex in America. For example, the number of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 who have not had sex in the last year has almost tripled in the past decade. And a 2018 study found that activity on streaming devices tends to peak between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., a slot that was historically reserved for sex.
In keeping with these recent studies, the Wall Street Journal survey—which was conducted among more than 1,000 people—found that younger folks in particular are choosing Netflix over sex. An incredible 38 percent of people aged 18 to 38 said they’d rather binge-watch a television series than be intimate with their partner.
While TV has been a staple in U.S. households since the 1950s, streaming services are unique. Their content is intentionally addictive and their lack of commercial breaks make people all the more likely to get sucked in.
“If you’re watching something streaming, the next episode is immediately available, and there are no commercials where you could look over and say, ‘Honey, you look cute tonight,’” Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and lead author of a 2017 study on the decline in sex among young Americans, told the Wall Street Journal.
In response to the Wall Street Journal’s findings, Netflix issued the following statement: “We take pride in being part of the cultural zeitgeist, but getting credit for a decades-long decline in sex is beyond even our programming abilities.”
— Christopher Mims 🎆 (@mims) April 22, 2019
But it’s not just Netflix, either; the greater issue is the way technology as a whole is negatively affecting romantic relationships. For example, a 2018 survey found that 10 percent of people actually check their phones during sex. And there’s an increasing amount of research about “phubbing” (the act of ignoring someone by scrolling through your phone) and “micro-cheating” (flirting with someone via social media) causing serious damage to relationships.
It’s 2019, folks, and this is the world that we live in. And if you or someone you know could use a reminder as to why having a sex life is important, check out The Surprising Added Benefit of Having Sex.
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