The Sex/Internet Poll

I feel like this poll about giving up sex versus giving up the internet is being widely misrepresented by headlines like “Survey: Many would take Internet over sex.” Look specifically at what the survey asked (emphasis added):

Nearly half of the women questioned by Harris Interactive said they’d be willing to forgo sex for two weeks, rather than give up their Internet access, according to a study released Monday by Intel, which commissioned the survey.

While 46 percent of the women surveyed were willing to engage in abstinence versus losing their Internet, only 30 percent of the men surveyed were willing to do likewise.

I think that if you’re taking the question seriously, the time-limited nature of the give-up makes a big difference. No sex for two weeks is the sort of thing that happens all the time to single people, or else it’s a long business trip or what have you. Perhaps not so fun, but in practice something everyone can deal with. If a demon offered you this choice and you picked the sex and then had to explain to your boss why you couldn’t check email or do any research for the next two weeks, I think you’d get fired — “I wanted to have more sex” isn’t usually considered a good reason to not do your job. Whereas if you picked the internet and the had to explain to your partner that you couldn’t have sex for the next two weeks in order to avoid getting fired, I think your main problem would be getting him or her to believe your wildly implausible story.


Things look different if you’re talking about a lifetime decision. In that case, I think you need to tell your boss that you’re quitting and go look for a job that doesn’t require internet use. Too bad for those of us who have no marketable skills outside the blogging industry, but these things happen.