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Arianna Chatzidakis | Contributing Writer | Friday, 14 July 2017

Binge-Watching Is Seriously Affecting Your Sex Life And Mental Health

Binge-Watching Is Seriously Affecting Your Relationship And Mental Health

The Debrief: Sleep, eat, sex, repeat? More like sleep, eat, binge, repeat!

Research from Natsal has revealed that on average over the past two decades, there has been a decrease in how often people say they have sex. And apparently, binge-watching TV shows (watching more than four episodes in one sitting) may be to blame. But do box sets really cockblock sex and affect our mental wellbeing? The Debrief investigates...

There is a theory that a Netflix marathon could be impacting on your sex life, and this revolves around a simple idea: being constantly connected to tech devices can eat into the free time that you might have otherwise spent having sex.

Back in the day when the mobile and TV industry wasn't as big as it is now, people would probably switch off their tech devices at around 10.30pm and have nothing else to do, so sex inevitably filled a gap in their empty evenings. Nowadays, we can sit up watching telly all night long if we wanted to. In fact, according to research captured by Three, '17% of us binge between midnight and 4am'. As a result, sex may be taking a backseat. On top of this, binge-watching TV shows late at night results in less sleep, and, according to a study published in 2015, less sleep results in less sexual arousal amongst women. Typical.

But why are we valuing and prioritising binge-watching sessions over sex? Well, simply put: we live in a world full of instant gratification, whether that be gratification from online dating apps, social media 'likes', or simply being able to watch an entire TV series in one sitting. Thus, a binge-watching session gives us immense pleasure, apparently more so than sex. Plus, what else would we talk about with our friends and colleagues if we weren't able to discuss the latest episode of Stranger Things? That being said, I need to re-watch the first season in preparation for the next one, and it most certainly isn't going to watch itself (so long, weekends and social life).

So, it's really no surprise that 'watching TV continues to be the third most popular activity in the average person's day in the UK', with sleeping and working coming first and second. And as for sex? Well, it doesn't even bag a spot in the top three. Priorities, right?

But interestingly, while binge-watching may be negatively impacting on our sex lives, it could be having a positive effect on our mental health (well, kind of). Three reported that '53% of all people used binge-watching to de-stress', while '9% of women found that it had helped them through a break up'. It's no doubt easy to forget your worries when you're engrossed in an intense episode of Narcos. In this sense, TV shows can act as an escape from everyday life, where you can switch off for a few hours and transport yourself to a make believe city like Game of Thrones' Westeros.

The only downside? Once you've finished a TV series, you may experience feelings of sadness - in fact, 44% of people will feel like this. The end of a TV series does feel awfully like the end of an era, after all. So, while a binge-watching session may result in instant gratification and thrill, it may ultimately make you feel even more sad, anxious and empty once over. Gosh, we just can't win, can we?

Go Binge on Three.co.uk. Stream shows and music infinitely without using up your data. Selected new plans and services. Terms apply.

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Follow Arianna on Instagram: @ariannachatz