Last night I went to a restaurant and saw a couple sitting in silence; one looking at her phone, more interested in scanning the internet or playing games than in interacting. Once the food arrived she kept fiddling with her phone while they ate.
They didn’t say much and were emotionally disconnected from each other. I see this a lot.
More and more people are coming to me complaining that their partner ignores them for their mobile phone. They seek connection and intimacy with their partner but they’re rejected for time with an electronic device instead.
An English study shows that your relationship can be negatively influenced just by having your phone next to you, even if you don’t touch it. Partners said they trusted the other less and felt less empathy towards them when they had their mobile near them when talking about anything important.
In our fast paced lives it can be detrimental to a relationship if the only spare time you have together is always compromised and overusing your phone can hurt your relationship long term – say if your partner can’t give you their full attention because they are distracted by their phone and social media.
A growing percentage of people need to check their phone at least once an hour and some people even check their phones when on the toilet. With such multitasking minds, how do we learn to focus on one thing in the bedroom if we are not used to doing that during the day? That ‘mind chatter’ can make it difficult to have enjoyable sex, orgasms and connection.
My suggestion is when you go on a date with your partner, put your phone away, on silent or turn it off. Talk to your partner uninterrupted, even if just for 20 minutes a day! And really pay attention to your partner; eye contact, sitting close and touching can be very intimate and sexy when you are talking.
Start trying to practice ‘being in the moment’ when you are doing everyday activities like eating or washing up. For instance, when you are walking, experience your feet hitting the ground and the air on your face.
Concentrate on what is happening in the present moment, your breathing and what your body is feeling. Engage all your senses in these experiences. Practicing regular mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression and increases libido and positive body image.
Once you’ve sharpened your skills of being mindful in the world, you can start practicing mindful sex! It’s about being completely submerged in the sensations and pleasure of the moment and leads to greater connection, mind blowing sex and better relationships. For more on how to have mindful sex, don’t miss the next issue of Ciao.
Words: Cat O’Dowd, Sex Therapist, Couples Counsellor and Art Therapist. www.creativesexpression.com