VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Is Facebook Better Than Sex? Opinions Differ.

Photo by Jodi Cobb

It’s a battle of the surveys, as a German study finds that Facebook and email are more irresistible than sex, while an Australian one argues that sex offers far more pleasure and meaning than online pursuits.

According to a smartphone-based German survey released in October, while the sex drive is stronger overall than the desire to check Facebook or Twitter, people are more likely to give in to social media temptations. As study author Wilhelm Hofmann explains, “Media desires, such as social networking, checking emails, surfing the Web or watching television might be hard to resist in light of the constant availability, huge appeal, and apparent low costs of these activities.” In other words, Facebook often trumps sex because of its convenience.

A new Australian study takes a slightly different tack, asking participants to rank 30 activities–everything from listening to music to doing housework–based on four measures: the pleasure they provide, their meaningfulness, their level of engagement (i.e. how absorbed you become in an activity), and how happy they make you feel. Here, sex received the top rank in all four categories. Surprisingly, participants derived more meaning from sex than they did from volunteering or religious activities. Meanwhile, Facebook scored dead last on the meaningfulness scale, and only narrowly beat out commuting, paid work, housework, and sickness  in the amount of happiness it inspires.

If both studies are to be believed, sex is inconvenient but well worth your time, while Facebook is joyless and meaningless but nonetheless irresistible.

For all the latest science news, check out our twice-weekly news rundown, Earth Current.


  1. Satch
    November 29, 2012, 9:49 am

    Are you frigggin’ kidding Me?

    If Facebook is beter than sex, you’re definitely doing it wrong!

  2. Ima Ryma
    November 29, 2012, 1:52 am

    Ask – is Facebook better than sex?
    Inquiring minds just have to know.
    Since the question is so complex,
    Entire nations survey gung ho.
    Australia says that sex is top,
    And Facebook takes a bottom place.
    But Germany says most can’t stop
    Facebook when coming face to face
    With how to expend energy.
    Sex can cost and be hit or miss,
    But Facebook so convenient be,
    A much more dependable bliss.

    I plan to do my own survey
    On behalf of the U.S.A.