A study by the ISPA-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISPA) concludes that “compulsive” use of social networks increases the likelihood of sexual problems in men and women, such as sexual dissatisfaction or erectile dysfunction.
The study, conducted by Rui Miguel Costa, a researcher at the William James Centre for Research at Ispa, concludes that “the greater the degree of dependence on social networks, the more likely there are sexual problems.”
In men, there was a higher risk of erectile dysfunction and sexual dissatisfaction, and in women a higher risk of arousal and orgasm difficulties, as well as sexual dissatisfaction and pain during sexual intercourse, the researcher told Lusa, who recently published the research in the scientific bulletin Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The study of 1,486 participants took place between 2019 and 2021 focusing on young heterosexual adults (18/30 years).
In recent years, said Rui Miguel Costa there have been “a number of investigations” illustrating that high social network viewing creates emotional problems, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
“What is not well known, or at least there has not been a great desire to ask the question, is whether the high social network viewing affects sexual functioning,” he said, noting that there were only two studies conducted on this topic, one in Iran and one in Poland, which found that “overuse of social networks was in fact associated with sexual problems.”
The study conducted in Portugal had similar objectives, trying to “understand if the most problematic, more compulsive use of social networks is associated with sexual problems,” has concluded that the problem affects men and women, said the researcher, noting that previous studies had only evaluated female sexual problems.
Although the mechanisms that explain this situation are not yet clear, Rui Miguel Costa said that “something has to be investigated in the future” and that the study points to the possibility of dependence on social networks reducing the attention given to the partner or partner, creating feelings of emotional withdrawal, which impact negatively on sexual performance.
“It is also possible that the risk of sexual problems is increased by the psychological stress and malaise that social networks sometimes generate, and these two explanations are not mutually exclusive,” he said.
Rui Miguel Costa considers it necessary to moderate the use of social networks and that users “begin to become aware that there is a toxic effect on their excessive use, as with alcohol, tobacco, which can lead to emotional disturbances, cause feelings of loneliness, even in people who have optimal relationships.”
“This is a very interesting phenomenon and is probably due to the fact that our brain has evolved over millions of years and is prepared to recognise ‘company’ when it is physically present. ”
“By systematically insisting on trying to connect, not merely in receiving and transmitting information, but having a greater ambition of social connection with others, our brain does not receive entirely the information that it is with someone and this generates feelings of loneliness and we now know that the more people use social networks, the more alone they become, which is paradoxical.
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