Millennials & Relationships – SKYN

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

Find yourself reaching for your phone when you have a spare moment, only to disappear down an Instagram/email/cat-meme hole and wonder what happened to the last half hour (or more)? If you’ve been thinking you spend too much time with your smartphone, you’re not alone. Almost 40% of people in the UK feel the same. Whatever your motivation for wanting to cut back on tech-time, these tips can help you rely on your devices less and connect in-person more.

Put your phone away during dates

“Are you actually listening, or is your phone more interesting?”

Familiar scenario? Switching your focus from the person you’re spending time with to your screen signals indifference, even if that’s not your intention. It’s not surprising that phubbing – phone snubbing – has been linked to relationship dissatisfaction: phubbed partners report feeling disconnected and excluded. And not only does phubbing peeve your partner, but it can also keep you from making a new connection. A University of Essex study found that smartphone use creates a barrier to the development of new relationships by reducing the level of closeness people feel in conversations with someone they’ve just met.

So when you’re on a date, whether it’s dinner, drinks or casual hangs, avoid the temptation to cheat with your phone – switch it off and leave it in your bag or pocket.

Try tech time-outs

Going cold-turkey may not be easy, so work yourself up to it by starting with small boundaries. It could be as simple as setting a switch-off time each night, or designating a window each day for checking and posting on social media; the trick is to begin with small sacrifices and build up your stamina. Even consciously reminding yourself of other things you could be doing instead of another binge-watch session can be helpful. Why not go for a walk, or suggest going for a picnic? After all, any attempt to break the usual routine is positive, and time without devices leaves more space to connect in person – with yourself or someone else.

Go old-school

Make friends with paper. Simple things like writing down your shopping list instead of typing it in your notes app can help cut back phone time. If you’re in a relationship, finding a sweet note your partner’s left for you can make you feel special and appreciated – probably because it takes a little more thought and effort than shooting off a text. And when you’re having a tech-free day but you still want to keep in touch with your friends or crush, give them a call from a landline telephone – but write everyone’s numbers in a notebook first. Most of us don’t remember phone numbers because we trust our devices to do it for us – a symptom of the digital amnesia caused by outsourcing our memories and information storage to technology.

Train yourself to be okay with quiet moments

Habitually pulling out your phone during idle moments, like when you’re on the Tube or waiting for your date to show up, can be a sign that you’re not comfortable being alone with your thoughts. The compulsion to phub can be attributed to a similar discomfort we feel when the flow of talk trails off. We’re so used to the constant stimulation our devices provide that we can’t handle gaps in conversation or shared quiet moments, so we default to our phones. Instead, we should think about these moments as opportunities: to let our minds wander or do something rewarding, like reading, when we’re alone, or to consider what’s been said and respond or ask questions more thoughtfully.

Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock

Unless you’re disciplined and keep your phone over on the other side of the room, forcing you to spring out of bed when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re likely to keep your phone on a bedside table or the floor beside your bed. When your device is right there before sleep and when you wake up, so is the temptation to read emails, respond to notifications or watch a few Instagram Stories in the dark – a habit recent research has shown can speed up macular degeneration, a condition that’s a leading cause of blindness. Plus, if someone’s in bed with you, leaving your phone in another room means it won’t distract your attention from them.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for the duration of the campaign.

I like to think I’m not a phone addict. I scoff at couples who scroll and ignore each other in restaurants. I lug heavy books with me on trains. An elderly passenger once tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s so nice to see a young man reading.” I thanked her smugly. But I didn’t tell my girlfriend the story because I know she reads a lot more than I do. I tend to find out about crucial news, articles and dog videos from her too, because she, unlike me, is a self-confessed phone addict. I asked if she’d do this challenge with me. But she said she didn’t want to miss out on watching another Labrador holding hands with its human so I necessarily opted to do it alone.

Friday

We caught up with friends at a bar. Initially, the best thing about the challenge is that you get to talk about the challenge. As the conversation went on, it hit me that my girlfriend and I text each other a lot. Anything vaguely interesting happens and we’re on our phones right away. When we left, I wanted to whistle for a taxi, Breakfast at Tiffany’s–style. But my girlfriend had already clicked an app.

Saturday

I took our new dog for a walk in the park. Usually I’d plug in my headphones but that day I listened to kids yelling and the wind in the trees. We’re so obsessed with this dog that I probably would’ve sent my girlfriend videos of any time it sniffed a tree. Instead, I just watched it bound about happily. It was so calming that I took the long way home. I picked jasmine that was hanging over an alleyway fence and arranged it on the kitchen table when I got inside. Later, my girlfriend and I sat there and debriefed over a glass of wine. I told her about the weirdly affectionate tension between the dog and a cat we came across on the walk. With no video to back me up, I was forced to describe what had happened. The way I told it reminded her of a funny story from her day at the café. The sweet smell of jasmine wafted between us.

Sunday

My brother and his fiancée invited me to a wedding tasting in a borough I don’t often visit. I wrote the address on a scrap of paper. The venue was off a semi-familiar street, so I was confident I could find it – so confident that I neglected to tell my brother I’d be phoneless. As I jumped on the bus I heard church bells ring, which meant I was running ahead of time, so I got out my heavy book and read. After a while, I looked up from a new chapter and panicked. I was on the wrong bus. Luckily, I was near a train station that would help me correct course.

About three stops in, I realised I was on the wrong line. I got off, switched platforms and plunged some change into a phone box. I called but no answer. So I texted saying I’d be late. By the time I got back to the city I was totally flustered so I called again. When my brother answered, he was giggling. The tasting was in three days’ time. But he’d received my strange all-caps payphone message and had contacted my girlfriend to try find me. They were both thinking of driving to the venue to pick me up. They thought I’d be wandering around, confused and alone. I love them both very much.

On Monday, I put my phone in my pocket and left for work. I read my heavy book on the train and realised that doing a weekend-long digital detox wasn’t as hard as I’d expected. But I wonder if that’s because everyone around me was still connected.

This article was written by a member of Skyn UK’s editorial team.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for the duration of the campaign.

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Mindfulness is on people’s minds. And it’s on more people’s minds than ever. Google Trends shows that interest in the term is growing every year.

But what is mindfulness? And how can it help us create a balance between the technology that’s an unavoidable part of our lives and the intimate relationships that can be neglected by its pull?

‘Mindfulness’ is not a precisely defined term. What most definitions share, though, is an acknowledgement that its modern use developed from Buddhist meditation practices and that its practice is designed to promote happiness and mental health.

A useful place to start understanding the concept is this quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the pioneers of translating religious meditation practices from the East for the secular West: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

How can it help?

Unless you’re willing to go full off-the-grid hermit or you’re a journalist pitching a ‘digital detox’ article that’s going to end up online anyway, living your life without your phone, your computer and the apps living inside them is not possible. In most cases, it’s not even desirable. They’re how you connect with your intimates and there’s nothing wrong with that. Rohan Gunatillake, creator of the mindfulness app Buddhify, says that “instead of a digital detox, we need to develop our ability to change our relationships with technology”. And that’s a change that a mindfulness practice can help you make.

The relationship to relationships

There are two obvious ways a meditation practice can help you deepen and maintain intimacy with people: giving you more time away from technology to spend with them, and helping you be more present and open when you do. But the benefits of mindfulness practice may be more profound than time and attention. Research has suggested it can help us regulate our emotions in volatile situations and make us more empathetic towards other people – both of which are valuable in any relationship, but especially in romantic ones. In fact, an emerging field of research is putting forward that mindfulness can improve both your mental and sexual wellbeing. Papers suggest it can boost female sexual response and reduce the effects of body- and performance-based sexual insecurities.

Where should I start?

The present surge of interest in mindfulness has coincided with a boom in app development. For many beginners, mobile-based guided meditation apps are a great place to start. Two of the best are Headspace and Buddhify, which we mentioned before. Both are built upon a foundation of science-based research about mindfulness and offer a range of guided audio meditations.

Buddhify emphasises “meditation on-the-go”, offering meditations designed around what you’re doing or feeling, like ‘work break’, ‘stress and difficult emotion’ or ‘going to sleep’.

Headspace also offers occasion-specific meditations – ‘singles’, they call them – but it is more centred around developing a regular, structured mindfulness practice that can grow as you become more familiar and comfortable with the discipline.

But even if you’re not ready to jump headlong into mindfulness, taking a moment from time to time to be present can quell the craving to refresh your newsfeed for the millionth time that day – especially when you’re spending time with someone you care about.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for the duration of the campaign.

While social media and pop culture might have you believe that the Baby boomers were born boring and severely lack swagger, it couldn’t be far from the truth. In fact, the boomers were the first generation to rock along with icons like Jimi Hendrix and Elvis. They witnessed the era-defining frenzy that was Beatlemania. They were riding cool muscle cars before they were collector’s treasure. Paul Newman and Audrey Hepburn could give any of the current crops of actors a run for their money. Drive-in movies were all the rage and rotary phones were the preferred mode of communication.

The greatest generation often finds themselves at wit’s end while conversing with their millennial counterparts. The social media platforms with the influencer culture for starters sounds baffling. And don’t even get them started on paleo, keto, and vegan diets. Perhaps the single greatest point of contention among both the generations is how they approach relationships.

The dynamics of relationships are ever-changing, with every passing generation: while older people feel the younger generation has lost its way, the young people feel restrained by old school values and mindset which doesn’t work in the 21st century anymore. There is no yardstick or parameter to judge what’s right and what’s wrong. However, it is deep-rooted in the human psyche to analyze things from a sociological point of view.

What do Baby boomers expect from the relationship?

The dynamics of relationships are ever-changing, with every passing generation: while older people feel the younger generation has lost its way, the young people feel restrained by old school values and mindset which doesn’t work in the 21st century anymore. There is no yardstick or parameter to judge what’s right and what’s wrong. However, it is deep-rooted in the human psyche to analyze things from a sociological point of view.

Baby boomers grew up in a world that had just witnessed the end of World War 2 and was still reeling from the effects of economic depression. The society operated based on want and need, and the concept of prioritizing personal belonging was drilled into Baby boomers by their parents. Therefore, they expect financial stability in their relationships. Millennials were never really exposed to the scarcity, and thus they place more value on emotional intelligence than a bank balance.

What impact does societal changes and renewed gender norms have?

Baby boomers were in a hurry to get married, have babies and provide a secure life for them. Gender roles were much less flexible than they are today. The boomers believed in owning a property. Millennials, however, prioritize individuality and passion over a secure future. They prefer their partners to have genuine interests and passion instead of a superficial hobby. This wouldn’t even qualify as criteria for Baby boomer relationships. While the millennials believe there’s more to life than 30 years in a 9 to 5 job, boomers will take that and a cozy house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. Millennials look for spontaneity and adventure in their relationships: they are in search of a co-founder, a travel buddy, someone to scale mountains and hike passes, not of a partner with whom to run a household.

How does technology fit in?

Social media and dating apps have changed the way relationships are built and sustained. Information about your date, their interests, their favorite food, kind of music they’re into, is just a click away. This means that Millennials don’t have to settle for someone they don’t know well. There are tons of prospects out there that match their vibe and who they can choose as their significant other.

Social media allows Millennials to connect with their loved ones 24×7, but it also builds an expectancy and dependency on constant communication. The definition of romantic evenings has changed from candlelight dinners to pizza and Netflix binge. Taking pictures at fair photo booths have been replaced by Instagram uploads.

Millennials and Gen Z are more connected to each other than ever, which can be misconstrued by the older generation as being isolated and careless.

Outlook on Marriage- Baby Boomers vs Millennials

Unlike Baby boomers, they don’t believe in monogamy and raising a family as the gospel truth. Millennials value and respect the quality of a relationship more than the institution of marriage. Accommodating the concepts of cohabitation, polyamory, single parents raising kids, and same-sex marriage, the millennial definition of family and relationship stands in stark contrast to the traditional values of the boomers.The ever-changing socio-political climate is pushing the rigid boundaries of conservative thought processes of the boomers. Differences in ideology, upbringing, and contemporary technology prevalent across the generations are to be held responsible for the difference in the perception of relationships.

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Inspired by SKYNFEEL®, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SKYNFEEL® HERE to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr. and Mrs. Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

Habits we know are bad for us, like drinking too much, are usually the ones that command the most attention. But we don’t tend to consider that our everyday habits – scrolling through social feeds, gaming, watching TV – can affect us in similar, potentially addictive ways. We set out to find out whether our tech habits are no big deal – or whether we’re in danger of becoming addicted to our devices

What is addiction?

Dependency on alcohol or illicit drugs is generally the first thing that springs to mind when we think about addiction. This kind of addiction manifests as a cluster of symptoms and behaviors that include a powerful desire to use the substance; an inability to control its use; continuing to use it despite negative consequences; and prioritizing it at the expense of other pursuits, interests or obligations. Add to that an increased tolerance for your chosen poison and, in some instances, physical withdrawal when you stop.

But technology isn’t a drug, so can you really become addicted to it?

Patterns of behaviour can also be addictive – like gambling, for example. Our understanding of addiction has broadened to include any kind of repetitious behaviour that has a detrimental impact on other areas of your life. And while the physical effects of compulsive social media use may not be as severe as those experienced by people with substance abuse problems, behaviours become addictive when we put them above other activities to the point where they affect our physical and psychological wellbeing and day-to-day functioning

When do our daily habits become a problem?

Behaviours become a problem when we start sacrificing other areas of our lives – health, work, relationships, social interactions or day-to-day tasks – in favour of the habit. Many of us are noticing that screen time is affecting one or more of these areas: Ofcom (the UK’s communications regulator) research shows that 80% of adults in the UK admit to binge-watching TV series on a regular basis – 35% do it weekly, and 55% monthly. What’s more, 30% of self-reported binge-watchers confess to sacrificing sleep for another episode, which leaves them feeling tired the next day, and 27% have found themselves neglecting tasks around the house. And two out of five of us say we watch TV by ourselves every day.

Including around three hours’ TV time and two hours using a smartphone, the average UK adult spends less time sleeping each day than they do on media and communications, averaging nine hours daily across all forms. While we can’t assume that all this time is spent separately – many people report using their smartphone to go online while watching TV – it’s no surprise that around a third of us express a desire to reduce our screen time. But the real kicker? Over half of us admit to watching TV in the bedroom – an activity we know disturbs our sleep quality and is bound to affect our sex lives.

Does this mean we’re all addicted?

It depends who you ask. There’s conjecture among medical professionals as to whether compulsive tech habits like gaming disorder or smartphone addiction are disorders in their own right or symptomatic of other underlying mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Which isn’t to say these issues don’t exist – just that there’s still a lot we don’t yet understand about these behaviours. And unlike narcotic use, regular device use doesn’t lead to addiction for most people. Still, even though everyone has their individual limits, it seems we could all be a little more conscious of our daily tech habits and their influence on our lives.

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SKYNFEEL®, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SKYNFEEL® HERE to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr. and Mrs. Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

Today, porn is one of earliest sexual educators around the world. The issue with this, is that the majority of porn tends to be centered exclusively around biased situations and offers young viewers a distorted perception of sex and intimacy, that could involve violent behavior, non-consensual relationships, and/or unrealistic reactions.

And the adult industry concurs. “Porn is not a how-to guide” urge porn stars Stoya and Dale Cooper. “All sex education can’t be thrown on porn…but at the same time, porn could play a bigger role — instead of just focusing on penetration” Cooper says.

Stoya adds, “[porn] is bluntly superficial entertainment that caters to one of the most basic human desires. Pornography exists and is not going to go away anytime in the near future. I see it as neither inherently empowering nor disempowering. Showing up on set and doing my job is not an act of feminism…my politics and I are feminist… But my job is not.”

All sex education cannot be thrown on porn, but at the same time, porn could play a bigger role
Dale Cooper

In her own words, Stoya states, “I use my body to make gender-binary-heterosexual-oriented pornography for a production company that aims to have as much mass appeal as possible”. In other words, porn is “just a job” for both Stoya and Cooper…however — it does make porn stars pretty much experts on the difference between sex and true intimacy.

Here are 5 pieces of advice from porn stars for increased intimacy.
White sheets
Close up of the back a couple inside a bathroom
1. Consent

“One of the most problematic things that porn doesn’t show, is what consent looks like and how important communicating is with your partner, before and during sex. It’s something that’s as important at-home, as it is while filming.

As performers, we’re usually handed a 20 page contract that says, ‘Here’s payment info. Here’s what you’re doing. Do you consent to this?’ many times. There are also constant check-ins between performers and directors, it’s really supposed to be an open dialogue.

Simply having a conversation about what sexual partners want and don’t want is the best way to increase desire and improve the scene. In my personal life, it’s the same case. There’s nothing that turns me on more than someone who asks me what I want.”

2. Don’t skip foreplay

“I’m a huge believer that foreplay can truly be better than sex. I also treat every interaction with my partner as foreplay.

From texting, to dinner, to how we speak and look at one another in public — every action forms a connection, and every action has the power to make the sex that much better.

Everything is foreplay — it’s really that simple. It’s also always a good idea to brush up on tips and techniques for mind-blowing foreplay — thank me later! :)”

White sheets
Close up of the back a couple inside a bathroom

“Most women can’t come from penetration alone, this is a myth. I repeat —

THIS. IS. A. MYTH.

Make sure to go down on your partner and get her off, she wants to cum as badly as you do. And if for some reason you bust too soon… come back and finish her off! No one likes to be blue-balled — especially not me! Try using a clitoral vibrator while you’re penetrating her too, I recommend the SKYN Vibes personal massager… I’m obsessed.”

4. Lube and wipes are your friends

“For anal, we usually use SKYN All Night Long Lubricant or organic coconut oil*…and intimate cleansing wipes are a game-changer”

5. Be safe, get tested!

“Using protection, getting tested and wearing condoms is essential for porn stars. It’s something the industry as a whole does amazingly well, and I think it’s something we could really educate more people about—it’s so important. Incredible sex is always safe sex.

*Using coconut oil as lubricant is damaging to condoms.