More Kiwis would give up sex over technology - survey

Man and woman sleeping in bed under bed clothes with exposed bare feet at bottom of bed.
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More New Zealanders would give up sex for three months than sacrifice their phones and technology, new research has revealed.

Condom company Durex surveyed 1000 Kiwis on a range of topics, and found 51 percent of respondents would prioritise Netflix, television or their phones over sex.

The number of women putting their gadgets over sex was higher, with 64 percent saying they'd do that.

Kiwi sexologist Morgan Penn says these results sadden her and she believes Kiwis are looking to escape since making an authentic connection can be difficult.

"What we consume via technology has a direct effect on the nervous systems. We're starting to find that a lot of people are spending more time in their sympathetic nervous system (flight or fight mode) due to perceived stress," she says.

"What we need to do is connect on a physically intimate level which helps release oxytocin (the love drug) and co-regulate our nervous systems which relax us and bring us back to our parasympathetic nervous system."

The research also found 52 percent of people enjoy sex more if they're practising it safely. A further 27 percent say they wouldn't enjoy enjoy sex more if they're practising it safely. This number is largely driven by males (33 percent) compared with females (22 percent).

Psychologist Sara Chatwin says women are often seen as the "gatekeepers" when it comes to sex, so the responsibility for safe sex can lie with them.

"Females may be coerced or pressured into sex to impress or appeal to a male they like. There is also a degree of peer group pressure which they feel which may propel them into this kind of behaviour. There is also a belief that to be 'cool' you need to take risks and subsequently taking risks becomes okay," she says.

Chatwin says social media also plays a role in how people approach sex and sexual health.

"There are still stereotypes about how men and women should act in a relationship and what is also happening in your social niche. Often the behaviours are fantasy based and false due to the unrealistic nature of social media."

The study found 22 percent of people had met a sexual partner online or through a dating app. The research suggests apps can be a successful way to meet a long-term partner, with 47 percent of people saying they're in a relationship with someone they met through a dating service.

Chatwin says younger people can be attracted to the anonymity and "perceived edginess" of dating apps.

"Youth today seem to keep clear of engaging in long-term intimacy preferring to shop around and not connect seriously. This may also be because of issues around intimacy due to negative parental relationships, where mothers and fathers are fighting or divorced or negative relationship role models and practices that friends are adhering to," she says.

The survey was commissioned to support the launch of Durex's new condoms by providing a better understanding of recent changes in Kiwi attitudes towards dating and sex.