The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, a market research firm, showed that 20 percent of American adults polled said they could not do without sex. That’s compared to 28 percent who said they could not live without Internet access, 26 percent who said they could not live without their cell phone and 24 percent who said they could not live without their computer.
Rob Weiss, an expert on the relationship between digital technology and human sexuality, said it was hard to interpret the numbers without knowing the ages of the respondents.
“Most folks I know who are 40 or 45 think sex is important, but there are things that are more important like kids or careers.” he said. “You’d have a different answer from someone who’s 20 than from someone who’s 50.”
He also thought the poll’s definition of sex was too vague, adding that people define sex differently. Weiss says for some people sex means intercourse, while for others it can simply be intimate contact.
Weiss said polls like the Harris poll show there is a deep desire to find meaning as people shift from an analog generation to a digital one.
“We want to say this is going to mean this or that, or this is happening to the culture,” he said, adding that we don’t yet have enough data about the digital generation.
The survey showed that 71 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “technology has improved the overall quality of my life,” and 65 percent said it encouraged people to be more creative.
On the negative side, 76 percent of respondents agreed that technology is creating a lazy society, and only 41 percent said technology had made them happier.
But technology is not at the top of the list of what Americans can’t live without. The survey showed 45 percent of people could not live without their spouse, 42 could not live without their car, and somewhat surprisingly, only 73 percent said they could not live without food.