Everyone is freaking out over that survey sponsored by Intel Corporation (& conducted by Harris Interactive) which said that “46 percent of women and 30 percent of men would rather go two weeks without sex than without Internet access.”
Other men wail & cry: “Men have always faced challenges when it comes to romance” says Don Clark at his Wall Street Journal blog. “Here’s a sign that technology may have raised another hurdle.”
Oh boo-frickin-hoo. Men have it soooo bad.
Judy Berman, at Salon’s Broadsheet blog, was a bit more accurate:
Listen: This has nothing to do with women’s low libidos, lack of interest in sex or prurient fascination with the World Wide Web. It isn’t even about preferring online life to in-the-flesh human contact. It is about how essential the Internet has become to the daily lives of Americans. Nothing I’ve read has mentioned whether the two weeks in question would include work-related Internet use, but if it did, anyone whose career requires a computer or BlackBerry would be likely to lose her job by choosing sex over e-mail. And even if the study did include a workplace exemption, think about how essential the Internet is to the personal lives of most Americans.
But few seem to see the facts for what they are.
The average American only has sex a few times a week. Depending upon ‘who you are’, it could be as little as once or twice a week. So you’re giving up 2-4 fucks versus everything we do on the internet? No contest. Big deal; it’s a week or two. Everyone’s had those kind of dry spells. Virtually every woman takes a week off now and then when she’s on the rag — if not ‘during’ then the PMS phase. (If not by choice then by her limited appeal to a partner.)
As for the 16% difference between male and female responses in the Intel/Harrison study, there are several factors to consider:
Did any of the respondents consider masturbation sex? With the Internet offering such a plethora of porn, the definition of ‘no sex’ in terms of does it include masturbation is very important. If left to individual interpretation, who the hell knows what these people were actually choosing.
Were both men and women in the same categories (age group, marital status, etc.) — for as the Kinsey FAQ shows, there are differences in the frequency of sex. If those who participated in the study were not having the same amount of sex, then obviously their answers would be different — apples to bushels of apples, so to speak.
Along with the quantity issue, what about the quality of their sex? Who has trouble giving up mediocre or even bad sex? For that matter, how many people are unhappy with their relationships in general? If those in the study were not in the same boat, the results compare apples to oranges — or apples to steak, even.
And if you had, say, a lot of single women, wouldn’t they choose the Internet and the possibility of finding someone over their perhaps non-existent sex lives? That would easily throw the percentages by itself.
So I’m neither surprised to ‘discover’ how important the Internet is in our collective societal lives (I use it every damn day) nor, with this many study unknowns, how many of us would choose it over sex.