No Sex Please, We’re Cyborgs: Is Technology Killing Desire?

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 12.46.48A recently-released report from the esteemed UK medical journal The Lancet (The Third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, ‘TTNSSAL’) has set our Creative Director & CSO thinking about a trend he observed back in 2006 when he was a Featured Writer for Seoul-based digital newspaper OhmyNews: that of sex being supplanted by technology. According to TTNSSAL, there has been a 20% decline in the amount of sexual intercourse in the United Kingdom since the year 2000, with a reported frequency rate – which in reality is almost certainly lower because of the nature of the subject – of just three times per month for the entire adult population.

Given the brevity of the time period over which this change has been observed, this is an astonishing transformation. A 20% contraction in an activity which, ceteris paribus, should be broadly constant is so statistically significant that it immediately leads one to speculate as to what the causes of this might be. After some contemplation, we at Mediolana think we might have some answers:

1. Economics. The first thirteen years of the new century have seen the economy of the United Kingdom turned upside down, with the inflation and subsequent popping of the biggest credit bubble in recorded history engendering serious economic instability – and massive amounts of desire-destroying stress.

2. Dystopia. The late 1990s and 2000s saw an unprecedented shift in sexual mores, with millennia-old rules being cast aside and every kind of lust legitimised. This promised a sort of utopia – but as with most utopias, it may have ended up subverting the very thing it purported to act in the name of.

3. Technology. The near-silent invasion of laptops, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices into bedrooms the length and breadth of the country has given people a stark choice: the intimate company of another human being, or clicking on another round of new tweets. Evidently, the tweets are winning; the experience of tech-saturated societies such as Japan points to a post-sexual future.

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Filed under Culture, Technology

2 responses to “No Sex Please, We’re Cyborgs: Is Technology Killing Desire?

  1. I think it’s good for sex to have lost its place as some sort of unquestionable goal in life. It’s an opportunity to rethink it. Why do we want to do it? Why should we want to do it? What happens if we don’t do it?

    • If there was some kind of conscious reappraisal going on then that may be no bad thing, but the danger is that we are sleepwalking into something that we may find it very difficult to get out of later.

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