Ok, all you overexcited, undersexed office-dwellers, wondering why you cannot have sex more often, thinking about sex, fantasizing about sex, purchasing sex aids and little blue pills, slobbering over photos of the lovely Cocaine Princess yet glossing over her thoughtful, lyrical prose — you can blame your Blackberry:
This month, Solutions Research Group, an organization that provides data to high-tech companies and also conducts surveys of our technology habits, published a report called “Age of Disconnect Anxiety.”
It found that 25 million Americans now use a so-called smartphone like a BlackBerry or Treo, and that 63 percent of you smartphoniacs have used the thing while you are in the bathroom.
But as disturbing as the previous image may be, here’s the one that ought to make you worry: Thirty-seven percent of laptop owners say they “frequently” use the computer in the bedroom. In all, 68 percent of Americans say they feel a sense of anxiety when they are not jacked into the global mind grid of the Net. This anxiety was defined as “feelings of disorientation and nervousness experienced when a person is deprived of Internet or wireless access for a period of time.”
It’s tough to look forward to, or enjoy, sex if you are anxious, but here’s something to make cell phone addicts even more anxious. In the January issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility, a group of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic reported that “use of cell phones decrease the semen quality in men.” Men using a fertility clinic were divided into four groups, ranging from no cell phone use to using the things more than four hours per day. The longer the men used the cell phones, the less he-man their semen. Sperm count, motility (how well our boys swim), viability (how alive they are) and normal morphology (how handsome they are) were all compromised.
A year ago, a team at the Medical College of Wisconsin exposed rats to six hours of cell phone emissions for 18 weeks and found that the rats’ own emissions went haywire. Specifically, their sperm “exhibited a significantly higher incidence of sperm cell death than control group rats.” Alarmingly, “abnormal clumping of sperm cells was present in rats exposed to cellular phone emissions and was not present in control group rats.”
Abnormal clumping? The authors offered sage advice: “These results suggest that carrying cell phones near reproductive organs could negatively affect male fertility.” While it may be good advice to avoid carrying your cell phone in the pouch of your jock strap, it is also good advice not to use the thing for six hours a day, especially if you’re a rat.
The whole issue of electromagnetic fields and their effects on health is controversial, to say the least. Web sites can be found blaming them for everything from leukemia to autism, yet there is very little scientific evidence for most of the claims of harm. Still, abnormal clumping?
There are signs, though, that even if cell phone use were proven to cause some harm, we wouldn’t give them up. We like our technology too much. Some of us like our technology more than sex.
You’ve got mail — in bed
Also this month, a British study sponsored by the Sleep Council, the United Kingdom’s bed industry group, declared “Brits Swap Sex Drives for Hard Drives.” Eight of 10 people, it said, boot up a variety of high-tech gadgets before bedtime. Almost one-quarter of respondents said they left their cell phones or smartphones on — using them as alarm clocks. One in three sends or receives text messages or e-mails while in bed.
In other words: you are all a bunch of pigs, emailing each other in the toilet, neglecting your spouse and surfing from your bed, while your semen dries up, your balls shrivel, and your sex drive decreases.
But at least you can weigh in at 10:30 at night on that crappy brief some flunky drafted.