Sex and Social Networking Use
A recent study got our attention here at Optimal Hormone Health. Why? Because it is about sex. And we love to help our patients become more sexually active and satisfied through bio-identical hormone replacement, the Alma Duo, and vaginal laser therapy.
But many different environmental, social, and psychological factors influence sexual desire and function. The study that got our attention collapsed data from four different studies carried out in Portugal. The study examined the problematic use of social networking sites and their impact on mental health and sexual function.
Surprisingly, few studies have been done in this area, but we do have information related to the use of social media and loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Let’s take a look at how social networking sites, although beneficial, can be harmful to your sex life if you use them too much.
What We Know About Variables Affecting Sex
Sexual desire, function, and orgasm ability are affected by many different variables and can fluctuate through time. The factors that affect sex:
Past sex history
Toxic sexual information on social media
What We Know About Excessive Use of Social Networking
The immediate feedback that social media provides releases dopamine in the brain, which has a reinforcing effect. How much social media use is too much? Generally speaking, 3 hours a day or more on social media sites is considered excessive.
Studies show that individuals who have self-perceived social incompetence experience more loneliness and depression and prefer to communicate online. People who excessively use the Internet spend less time interacting face to face. This results in increased depression and even higher levels of internet use for emotional support. Loneliness produces stress which in turn can create an illusion of rejection.
Sexual Function and Excessive Social Media Use (SNS)
You have probably connected the dots and can already see that excessive social media use contributes to poor self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. All risk factors for poor sexual function.
The study that got our attention indeed showed the negative impact of social media use on sexual function and performance. In a nutshell for women's problematic use of social networking sites:
Lower sexual arousal
Difficulties having orgasms
Greater sexual distress.
In men, problematic use of SNS correlated with:
Lower erectile function
Overall sexual dissatisfaction
What Does All of This Mean?
We all use social media. How do we know if it is impacting our relationships and sexual functioning? How do we know if we are using our phones too much or relying on social networking sites too much? There are no easy answers to these questions, but we have some suggestions:
Spend More Time Face to Face
Spending more time with actual people may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to avoid people, especially if you are an introvert. Authentic and long-lasting connection happens with more depth and significance in person. Personal interactions also increase the hormone oxytocin, which positively benefits mood. Make yourself interact with others, and you will feel better when you do.
Turn Off All App-Based Notifications
App notifications are a time and attention killer. They elicit an instant emotional response and release of adrenaline. Turn them off.
Delete Apps and Social Media Accounts You Don’t Use
By eliminating apps and social media accounts you don’t use, it will reduce the urge to scroll.
Limit your social media usage in whatever way works for you. Either a certain cumulative amount of time per day or specific times of day with time limits.
Leave the Phone Out of the Bedroom During Sex
Leaving your phones out of the bedroom during sex eliminates the possibility of interruption. It also creates a more relaxed space for intimacy.
Take a Break
Taking a break from your phone or computer can be challenging and require commitment and willpower. Unless, of course, you are off the grid and unable to access the internet. But short of that drastic measure, plan to take a break and stick to it. Even half a day can help.
Listen to Music
If you work from home or even after work hours, listening to music (that’s one app we approve of!) will keep you off social media. Listening to music also improves mood by boosting the hormone dopamine.
Yes, you heard that right. If you don’t have a partner, no problem. Masturbate and use sex toys freely if they help. Masturbation releases oxytocin which improves mood.
Learn Something New-Engage
Isolation leads to loneliness which is a risk factor for depression. Undoubtedly social media use is not all bad. Connecting with and seeing what other family members and friends are up to is valuable. But, when you replace a real connection with remote social media interaction, it can be emotionally harmful. Spend your time learning a new hobby or planning ways to improve your health. Think about trying yoga, a new sport, taking a class, or meditation.
Talk With Us at Optimal Hormone Health About Your Sexual Challenges
At Optimal Hormone Health, we provide a safe place to discuss your sexual challenges and needs. Not everything is solved by hormone replacement, but our practice is dedicated to your overall physical and emotional health. Our holistic approach will get you on the right track to a healthy and positive sex life.