Would women rather read about sex than participate in it? Would men willingly give up sex if it meant keeping their job? Would you rather go without sex than be without your iPhone?
A recent rash of studies on sexual behavior would have us believe there are many among us who choose arguably banal activities over doing the deed.
The Daily Mail is reporting on a survey of 400 women aged 25 to 50 that says 44 per cent of them would rather read about sex — in the form of books like Shades of Grey — than participate in it. CNN Money is reporting on a survey conducted by Gazelle — a service that buys used iPhones — that says 15 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed claimed they'd rather go without sex than be without their iPhones for a weekend. And the Daily Mail is also reporting on yet another survey of 700 men — 43 per cent of whom said they'd give up sex if it meant keeping their jobs.
But Laurie Betito, a Montreal-based psychologist, sex therapist, and host of the local radio show "Passion," says it's difficult to take surveys like these seriously when little to no context is given for the participants. She says many factors including age, length of relationship and so on must be taken into account for these to be considered accurate. Someone in a new relationship, for instance, might feel quite differently about sex than someone who has been with the same partner for many years.
"A 25-year-old woman versus a 40-year-old woman or a 50-year-old woman is going to have a completely different experience with sex," she says of the survey claiming many women would choose reading about sex than having it. "So you're taking an average, but they're apples to oranges. You've got to split them up into long-term relationships, new relationships, all of that."
She says it's important to note that for many women in long-term relationships, sex is very much about intimacy. And yes, for men, the ability to bring home the bacon is tied up in their feelings of self-worth. Both these factors must be considered when looking at surveys like these.
Heather Armstrong, a PhD candidate in the Human Sexuality Research Lab at the University of Ottawa, agrees that context is important when considering the results of these surveys.
"All three of those surveys are anecdotal at best," she says. "They are surveys done by companies using a very specific audience and are therefore not generalizable to anyone other than the sample surveyed."
Armstrong points to a story in Psychology Today that says large-scale studies in the U.S. have found that -- contrary to what the aforementioned surveys imply -- the average person has sex twice a week and those under 40 are having sex slightly more frequently.
"Surveys like the ones mentioned get picked up and talked about because they are sensational," says Armstrong. "However, they are not representative of the general population. Based on the scientific research available, most people are in satisfying relationships and most people are having sex on a regular basis."
Watch the video below for some fun bedroom ideas to boost intimacy.