image of flatscreen tv in bedroom

Credit: Flickr/rob Towell

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the idea of keeping a boob-tube in the boudoir – especially as far as couples go. Experts tout a multitude of conflicting opinions, ranging from the recommendation that televisions in the bedroom lead to better sex, to the admonition that they will cause the slow and steady demise of your partnership.

So which is it? Can the addition of a television in your bedroom really impact the health of your relationship?

It seems like the numbers speak for themselves. In this 2014 study, a significant majority of respondents – 74%, to be exact – said that they kept a TV in their room. The same study also found that the couples who watched their favorite shows together also engaged in twice as much lovemaking as couples who didn’t have a television in the bedroom.

This seems to contradict the homespun advice of some marriage experts, who say that the TV could be a distraction and prevent couples from interacting with one another.

What those experts are ignoring, though, is the prevalence of other screens – tablets, smartphones, and the like – the can lead to further isolation as each partner is absorbed in their own device.

Here are a few points and counterpoints, along with some pointers on how to maintain a healthy relationship while allowing for the occasional indulgence of some late-night entertainment.

 

Communication

There’s no question that if one partner plops down in front of the screen and tunes out to the exclusion of their significant other, it can present a hurdle to healthy communication. That said, if couples agree on their choice of programming and find something they’re both enthusiastic about, it can encourage conversation and foster their sense of mutual interests. The key is to watch together, making it an activity that the two can both enjoy. If you see your partner tuning out, it might be time to change the channel to something everyone can be on board with.

 

image of couple sitting in front of a tv

Credit: CC-SA-Miguel Pires da Rosa

Attention

It’s also a good idea to remember that television is just one activity to be enjoyed together – spending every waking hour together in front of the tube can take its toll. If you find that you’re itching to get back in front of that screen, it might be time to pull out the old board games, cook a meal together, or start brushing up on your two-part harmonies. Think about it this way: when was the last time you and your partner made eye contact?

 

It’s 10 p.m., do you know where your children are?

Experts say that one of the cons to having a TV in the bedroom is that it provides an escape from the kids. One of the pros is that… it provides an escape from the kids. If you’re spending most of the day going over primary colors and counting to ten, it might be a good idea to retreat to the bedroom with your partner and relax for a bit. Just make sure that the rugrats have their basic necessities met for the next hour.

 

Touch and go

Physical intimacy is vital to the health of any relationship, regardless of the presence of a television in the bedroom. So, what is it about the tube that helps or hinders other bedroom activities? Risque as it may sound, 37% of respondents in the above study said that they watched adult-themed programming to help stimulate things – and, counter-intuitively, 29% said that they got down to business simply because a show was too boring to bear. Sounds like a win-win situation.

 

picture of persons feet hanging on end of bed with restless sleep

Getting healthy sleep

While many respondents said that they like to fall asleep to the white noise of the TV, a consensus of experts reports that staring at the screen immediately before bed can alter the quality of your sleep, as the light stimulates the brain and gives it signals to stay awake. It’s a good idea to shut the television about an hour before bedtime to allow the body to relax, while also giving you a chance to decompress, go over your day, and simply snuggle up with your partner.

 

The verdict

Like anything else, television can be helpful if used in moderation. A TV overload can cause unhealthy habits and prevent communication, but when used appropriately, it can bring couples together and even enhance their physical relationships.

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