“Netflix and chill” has become a popular euphemism for sex among Kids These Days — but now one professor warns that the increase in usage of the former has led to a steep decline in the latter.
According to Cambridge University statistician and Sex By Numbers author David Spiegelhalter, a sharp increase in television “binge-watching” on streaming platforms like Netflix is directly responsible for the decline of sex rates in his native Britain.
“You can start seeing the changes in society,” Professor Spigelhalter told the audience at the Hay Festival, according to the Telegraph.
“People are having less sex. Sexually active couples between 16 and 64 were asked and the median was five times in the last month in 1990, then four times in 2000 and three times in 2010,” he added. “At this rate by 2030, couples are not going to be having any sex at all. Which is a very worrying trend.”
Spiegelhalter said that his fellow statisticians haven’t been able to figure out the cause of the declining sex rate, but he posited his own theory as to why people are simply having less sex these days.
“One of the researchers mentioned the word iPad. I think it’s the box set, Netflix,” the professor explained. “OMG I’ve got to watch the entire second series of Game of Thrones.”
As writer J.V. Chamary points out at Forbes, Netflix UK was not introduced until 2012, and Game of Thrones the year before that, so it may be a stretch to place the blame for lowered sex rates squarely on that specific television show or that specific streaming service.
But Spiegelhalter claims his point still stands: “The point is that this massive connectivity, the constant checking of our phones compared to just a few years ago when TV closed down at 10:30 p.m. or whatever and there was nothing else to do. Even power cuts which helps. Now people are having less sex and it’s true.”
Of course, technology and the Internet have significantly impacted people’s sex lives, from the widespread proliferation of online pornography to the introduction of casual-sex dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.
Just don’t blame Game of Thrones — at least one British GQ writer found that the multiple Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series has actually improved the sex lives of some of its most ardent fans.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum