A study has revealed there is a new "busy hour" for internet use between 10pm and 11pm. Picture: Flickr.com

London - Ending the evening with some entertainment in bed used to mean just one thing.

But the increasing popularity of on-demand television services appears to be affecting our sex lives – as couples are now snuggling up with the iPad instead.

A study has revealed there is a new "busy hour" for internet use between 10pm and 11pm, driven by those watching streaming services such as Netflix and video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

The peak time for traditional television viewing tends to be from 8pm to 10pm, but research by Lancaster University suggests people are watching on-demand services later into the evening. The study was carried out to examine the impact of internet traffic on electricity consumption as demand on the National Grid increases. Evidence from nearly 400 devices shows a peak hour from 10pm.

The authors state: "To the extent that this traffic is associated with viewing films or programmes, it suggests that mobile devices are used to prolong hours of 'TV watching', perhaps after the main TV set has been turned off."

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It supports a warning from Professor David Spiegelhalter, from the University of Cambridge, that couples are less interested in sex because they watch more TV in bed. In 2016, he blamed figures showing falling rates of sex on the "mass of connectivity" we have now "compared with just a few years ago when the TV used to close down at half past ten".

The Lancaster researchers, whose work is published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science, asked some participants to keep diaries, which showed the new peak internet hour was driven by TV watching.

Daily Mail