The team recently surveyed 5,000 Americans via Google Consumer Surveys and asked people whether they would rather give up Internet or other valued items (such as sex, coffee, alcohol, family, or pets) for 6 months.

Here’s what we found…

Question: Which would you rather give up for 6 months? Internet or “physical intimacy”?

One Third of Americans Would Rather Have Internet than Sex

internet or sex - general

 67.5% of respondents would give up Internet over sex.

Nearly 70% of surveyed Americans would give up Internet in order to keep their love life in check; however, this also means that over 30% would choose Internet over sex for half a year!  

Millennials Seem to Care Less About Sex Than Their Parents Do

Give up sex - age breakdown

48.4% of respondents ages 18-24 would give up sex before they would give up Internet.

Nearly 50% of those ages 18-24 surveyed said they would rather give up sex than Internet. Whereas just under 30% of those ages 45-64 would give up sex for Internet, revealing that baby boomers seem to value sex more than the college-age people we surveyed.  

Question: Which would you rather give up for 6 months? Internet or drinking coffee?

80% of Americans Would Give Up Coffee to Keep Their Internet

internet or coffee - general

80% of respondents would give up drinking coffee to keep their Internet.

It turns out exactly 4 out of 5 Americans we surveyed would choose Internet over coffee any day, but the older the person surveyed, the more likely they were to choose their beloved cup of Joe over Internet… Give up the Internet - age breakdown

 28% of respondents ages 65 and older would give up Internet before quitting coffee.

So it seems college-age Americans may not be as addicted to their lattes as much as we might have assumed.  

Question: Which would you rather give for 6 months? Internet or drinking alcohol?

Over 80% of Americans Would Give Up Alcohol to Keep Their Internet

internet or alcohol - general

 83.4% of respondents would give up drinking alcohol before giving up Internet.

It looks like Americans tend to be more willing to give up alcohol over coffee in order to keep their Internet. And it seems American women are more willing to pass on alcohol than men in order to keep their Internet.  

1 out of 4 Men Would Give Up Internet for Alcohol

Give up drinking alcohol - gender breakdown

 86.7% of women would give up alcohol for Internet, while 79.9% of men would go without alcohol to keep their Internet.

Perhaps it’s not a surprise to many that men would choose alcohol over Internet more often than women would.  

Question: Which would you rather give up for 6 months? Internet or seeing family?

Family Time is Valued Over Sex

internet or family - general

 83.7% of respondents would give up Internet in order to see their family.

We were pleased to see that over 80% of respondents chose seeing their family over Internet. But we also learned that over a quarter of the 18-24 age group would give up seeing their family for 6 months in order to keep their Internet… Give up seeing family - age breakdown

 26.1% of respondents ages 18-24 would give up seeing family in exchange for Internet access.

And it was no surprise that the 65 and older group were least likely to give up seeing family for Internet.  

Question: Which would you rather give for 6 months? Internet or seeing your pet?

Still Man’s Best Friend

internet or pets - general

 Respondents with pets were overwhelmingly willing to skip out on Internet in order to see their pet(s).

We also learned that those surveyed with pets were much more willing to give up Internet in order to keep seeing their pet(s).  

Millennials Love Pets the Most

Give up the Internet - age breakdown

 45.6% of respondents ages 18-24 were willing to give up Internet to see their pet(s).

And nearly half of our 18-24 age group would give up Internet to see their pets, but under 30% of those over 65 would be willing to do the same.

In sum, Americans seem to believe sex is better than Internet access, but the Internet is not quite as important than martinis or lattes. And family time and pets trump Internet access, too. You’re welcome to share our findings as long as credit is given to If you’d like access to our raw data, please email Recently surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. via Google Consumer Surveys and asked whether they’d rather give up sex or the Internet for 6 months. The results are in, and they paint a surprising picture of where Americans’ values lie.

One third of Americans would rather have Internet than sex.

HSI Image 1 Out of 1,000 people surveyed nearly 33% of them reported they would rather give up sex than the Internet for 6 months. Breaking down the demographics gave us more interesting findings…

Women more likely to prefer getting cozy with the Internet.

HSI Image 2 Women were 28% more likely to say they’d rather give up sex for 6 months.

Boomers are More Likely to Choose Sex Over the Internet.

HSI Image 3 Older age groups were far more likely to choose sex over the Internet. Almost half of the 18-24 group half would rather have Internet than sex. Put the phones down, kids.

The Northeast Prefers Internet Over Sex

HSI Image 4 Respondents living in the West were much more likely to choose sex than the Northeast.


We can’t say whether people who choose the Internet just don’t care about sex or whether they care a lot about the internet. In the case of 18-24 year olds preferring the internet it seems reasonable to assume they care more about the Internet. Regardless, it’s fascinating to see the difference in relative valuation between generations and geographic areas. Last updated: 12/7/2015, Published 11/30/2015 Tech giant Cisco Systems conducted a survey of 3,700 Gen-X, Gen-Y, and HR professionals in 15 countries. Cisco’s aim was to better understand “the current workplace environment from a technological standpoint and its shift towards becoming increasingly mobile, flexible and remote.” To do so, the survey asked its respondents about their use of computers, mobile devices, apps, and technological preferences and expectations. For the purposes of the study, Gen-X is defined as being 31-50 years old, and Gen-Y as 18-30 years old. That makes me, at 36, a member of the flannel grunge brigade, so interpret my take on the study through that lens. Some of the findings from the study aren’t all that thrilling, like how many apps each person uses at work on a given day. But others, like exactly how attached these professionals are to the Internet, are definitely eye-opening. The Cyborgs Are Coming Let’s start with a big one: 26 percent of Gen-Y workers, and 21 percent of Gen-Xers, would be willing to surgically implant a device that linked the Internet directly to their thoughts, were such a device available. While such a device would probably make you everyone’s first pick as a Trivial Pursuit teammate, I have to wonder about the potential security concerns of such a device. Because no current Internet device is entirely secure against hacking, I’m not sure I want to open up my brain to being hacked. Actually, I’m sure I don’t. To some, such a device probably isn’t much more than a natural evolution from artificial hearts and joints. But I do see a moral component to this: it’s bordering on giving yourself a superpower. If technology ever does reach this point, that’s when I’m getting off the tech train and officially becoming a Luddite. A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet. We Think. But 58 percent of each group says they’d rather lose their sense of smell than their Internet access, and I think I’d miss petrichor. And a surprising number, 22 percent of Gen-X and 24 percent of Gen-Y, would also give up their sense of taste rather than the Internet. Overall, not even funny cat pictures have the allure of pizza and chocolate. From My Cold Dead Hands People love their smartphones, too. If forced to choose between their TV and their smartphones, 76 percent of Gen-Y and 67 percent of Gen-X would choose the phone. That’s not a big shock. Only about a third of each group would rather give up electricity for a week than their phones, which is good, because only the dumbest of phones can go a week without charging. And did I mention people really love their smartphones? Because 48 percent of Gen-Y and 47 percent of Gen-X would rather give up sex for a month than their phone. In what seems like related news, more of each group look at their phone first thing in the morning, rather than a loved one—in this case, we’ll give a pass to those waking up alone each morning. And in exchange for free cell phone service, 45 percent of Gen-Y would allow their provider unlimited access to their data; 30 percent would share that same information with the government, and 29 percent with their employer. For Gen-X, those numbers are 43, 29, and 27 percent, respectively. 2020 Vision The study also gives a glimpse into what each generation expects from future technology. When asked what they though the most important connected device will be in 2020, 40 percent of Gen-Y said their phone, 25 percent their tablet, 23 percent wearables, 6 percent their car, and 5 percent named their personal robot assistant. Gen-Xers also placed phones first, but named wearables ahead of tablets, and the robot assistant ahead of cars. It’s a Bird…It’s a plane…It’s a Supertasker! Cisco defined supertasking as the ability to successfully do two or more things at once…without noticeable impairment. Given this definition, both groups named smartphones as the best tool for the job, followed by laptops and then desktop computers. Each feels supertasking makes them more efficient: 55 percent for Gen-Y, and 51 percent for Gen-X. That’s even though 55 percent of Gen-Y and 70 percent of Gen-X admit to mixing personal and professional tasks while supertasking. Maybe Gen-Y’s confidence stems from the fact that 56 percent believe their perceived efficiency comes from being “wired” differently than older Gen-X colleagues. Whatever the reason, 60 percent of Gen-X agrees their younger colleagues perform tasks faster when using mobile devices and apps. Get Off My Lawn or Welcome Our New Tech Overlords To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with one generation favoring a new technology over an older one. But at the risk of sounding like your grandfather, I feel a bit for the people so addicted to the Internet and the web that they’d trade human interaction and the things that make us human. That’s not necessarily a new complaint, so maybe I’m closer to being a Luddite than I thought. I’m all for keeping your use of the Internet in perspective, and in balance. But when you are online, there’s no sense in settling for older tech and slow connection speeds. That’s one advance I’ll gladly accept. What about you? Want faster Internet when you’re online? [zipfinder] Image by m01229/Flickr According to a January 2014 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 87 percent of Americans now have internet access. The flip side of this unprecedented overall penetration is that U.S. internet adoption is actually slowing compared to all previous years. Simply put, those who don’t already have internet access probably either can’t get it or don’t want it. There are still plenty of areas where internet service, especially broadband, is still largely unavailable. And there are still significant portions of the population that lack the interest or the means to sign up with an ISP. DSL and cable still command the lion’s share of hardwired broadband connections, although there is a surge in consumer interest in the increasing deployment of fiber optic internet service. Interestingly, the broadband numbers are slightly down from the previous years. In an uncertain economy, one could easily conclude that Americans are cutting access speeds in order to cut costs. Also, this could reflect the increasing trend to migrate to a mobile provider to get internet from a smartphone with a data plan, instead of a home PC with a broadband ISP. Pew survey results show that 91% of adult Americans own cell phones, and for 55% of these (i.e., 35% of all US adults), it’s a smartphone. Given the things American’s say they do most with the internet, smartphones are increasingly able to satisfy their needs with far more immediacy and convenience than a bigger, less portable PC. In addition to more and better devices, mobile providers are offering higher bandwidth and more coverage than ever. This is both good and bad. Due to the increase in subscribers using more available bandwidth, contract providers have felt it necessary to almost completely phase out their previous ‘unlimited’ data plans (the ‘last man standing’ is Sprint, and probably not for long). Despite enjoying more customers, the average cost of providers’ mobile plans keep creeping up and perhaps, as a result, the uncertain economic landscape has been something of a boon for prepaid mobile providers. Meanwhile, the internet itself hasn’t changed too much. The slow transition to the much-touted “Web 2.0” continues, with more focus on interactive web apps and social media. More people are streaming rather than downloading video and audio — in part due to a combination of higher bandwidth connections and greater use of devices less geared toward storage, such as smartphones, tablets, and netbooks. Likewise, more and more websites are optimizing their pages for mobile device usage, or creating separate mobile versions. So on one hand, the ‘geography’ of the internet is much the same as it was a year ago, but the ISP ‘roads’ that we take to get on and around it have evolved dramatically. [zipfinder] Find Edwin on Google+
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