Will the Apple Watch ruin our sex lives?

Dr. Ruth Westheimer thinks so.


EJ Dickson


Published Sep 16, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 2:10 pm CDT

Since Her came out last year, many have raised concerns about the possibility of technology slowly encroaching on our sex lives, to the point where one day we won’t so much be humans as sentient iPhones with functioning genitalia. So it stands to reason that when the Apple Watch was unveiled last week, some were concerned not so much with its functionality or design, but how it would affect the quality of our hookups.

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The first to raise this concern? None other than America’s foremost sexologist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who posted the following warning on Twitter shortly after last week’s Apple event:

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The Apple Watch can do a lot of things & so will be big distraction. Take it off before having sex!

— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) September 9, 2014

Although Westheimer’s note of caution might sound ridiculous—who keeps their socks on during sex, let alone their smartwatch?—there’s already some evidence that technology is encroaching on our sex lives, and not necessarily in a good way. According to a 2013 survey, for instance, nearly 62 percent of women admitted to interrupting sex to check their smart phones, while 48 percent of men said they’d done the same. Given that the Apple Watch is much smaller than the iPhone, it’s not hard to imagine people haphazardly glancing at a text or call notification while they’re getting busy under the sheets.  

That having been said, some believe that the Apple Watch has the potential to enhance, rather than detract from, our intimate relationships. Many are enthusiastic about the intimacy-creating potential for the Apple Watch’s heartbeat feature and the Taptic Engine, which produces a tap on your wrist and allows users to send taps to each other. Oleg Kostour, the founder of a couples’ social network, speculates that the feature might be used by long-distance couples: “It gives you a sense of almost holding someone’s hand, a sense of physical touch that right now doesn’t exist,” he told NBCNews.com.

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Unsurprisingly, there’s also a hookup app already in development for the device (albeit a fairly creepy one), which was announced less than a week after the watch debuted. Created by the maker of the threesome app 3nder, the Apple Watch app, called Close Encounter, would display users by their approximate location, without revealing their photos or messages.

So does the release of the Apple Watch portend a future where our junk and our hardware will be interchangeable, or is any concern to that effect simply the alarmist bleating of Luddites? It’s impossible to say, but humans have been having sex pretty much the same way for millennia, so it’s unlikely that the Apple Watch—or any other gizmo, for that matter—will change that. We’ll find out soon enough either way, when the Apple Watch is released in early 2015.

H/T Dr. Ruth/Twitter | Photo via Apple.com/Remix by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Sep 16, 2014, 4:56 pm CDT