Emily Hill, 35, is dating Roy, 42. She lives in Battersea, South London. She says:
‘Sex is like money,’ John Updike once said, ‘only too much is enough.’ So pity the poor people — like little old me — who, as this survey shows, find themselves utterly poverty-stricken when it comes to getting any at all.
I’ve spent the better part of this week reclining on a sunlounger half-naked in the Maldives, in a resort seemingly custom-built for amorous encounters, seething with frustration.
I came here with the sexiest man I’ve met in two decades, my new boyfriend, Roy, expecting near constant romance.
But instead he’s spent 50 per cent of his time asleep in the sunshine, 30 per cent glued to his phone or tablet and nearly all the rest indulging in relaxing baths. Not to mention the excruciating evening when he made me watch Manchester United draw 1-1 with Huddersfield Town.
I’ve tried to entice him, even getting into a scented bubble bath with him. (‘Wow!’ he exclaimed, ‘your bottom is so sunburned.’)
He only got worked up once, while trying to get his Apple hub to link to the TV so he could watch the last episode of Line Of Duty.
It’s all come as something of a shock. Certainly, ten years ago, when I was in my mid-20s, all the men I met seemed to be only after one thing. Which was depressing sometimes, but at least dependable. So what is to blame for this sad state of shenanigans?
My verdict is that men are all too busy staring at their smartphones, tablets and laptops to take an interest in the fairer sex.
Far more so than women, in my experience, men tend to consider their gadgets integral to everyday life, finding meaning and purpose in the apps that let them watch shows, message their mates and even deliver an extra frisson to their favourite sports by letting them place real-time bets with the swipe of a hand.
Sadly, the evidence suggests that men like Roy now find such diversions more stimulating than, say, my company.
‘There is a great deal of competition that a sexual relationship has to face,’ postulated Professor Kaye Wellings, who led the research. ‘In the digital age, there are more diversionary stimuli that can take up your spare time… smartphones, Netflix and social media are all likely distractions that may prevent intimacy.’
Essentially, instead of treating us as sex objects, British blokes really do want to ‘Netflix and chill’. This 2019 equivalent of ‘do you want to come in for coffee?’ should be a euphemism for sex, sex and more sex.
Unfortunately, Roy has taken it at face value. To him ‘Netflix and chill’ means: ‘Let’s sit on the sofa and watch the whole of Abducted In Plain Sight.’
Still, I know I am tremendously lucky to have him lying next to me — whether he’s tangling me up in the throes of passion or not.
Most of my beautiful, clever and sexy friends aren’t getting any romance at all, because the men they connect with on apps would rather scroll endlessly through other women’s profiles — or use their iPhones for WhatsApp chats with the lads — than ask them out on dates.
A friend of a friend recently messaged 50 men on the dating app Bumble, and not one could be bothered to write back.
As a nation, it seems, we’re getting much of our sex vicariously — through shows such as Sex Education.
One solution — perhaps — would be for Netflix to formulate a dating app of its own. It could pair up people according to their viewing preferences, and then strategically conk out just before bedtime.
For now, though, my plan is to slip into my negligee, chuck the remote in the plunge pool and sabotage the wifi connection.
The things we do for love, eh?
- Emily Hill is the author of Bad Romance (Unbound, £12.99)