Figures published by Professor David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at Cambridge University, point to a sharp but unexplained decline in the frequency with which couples have sexual intercourse in the years since the birth of the World Wide Web.
According to research conducted for Professor Spiegelhalter’s new publication, Sex By Numbers, a typical heterosexual British couple now has sex just three times a month on average, The Telegraph reported on Saturday (4 April 2015).
That compares with four times a month according to similar research conducted in 2000, while in 1990 the figure stood at five times a month.
Professor Spiegelhalter said it was clear that the figures concealed wide variations between couples, but nevertheless suggested a downward trend.
He said that while it was difficult to ascribe a clear reason for the apparent British passion drought, one possibility for the lack of intimacy is the increasing encroachment of work into private life made possible by the mobile revolution.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “We used to have a very big separation between our public lives and our private lives -- now they are so mixed up and integrated.
“People are checking their emails all the time, you do not have this same sort of quiet empty time that there used to be.”
Two years ago, researchers at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research argued that mobile devices had become a virtual “extension of the body” which people take with them everywhere, invading time with family and friends.
Dr Aric Sigman, a psychologist and expert on family dynamics, has also argued that parents who constantly check their mobile phones or iPads at home are guilty of a form of “neglect” and could be engendering a lifelong dependency on screens in their children.