According to a Salon article, surveys are trying to make the answer to that question “everything”.
I had to wonder: Why have these sex-devaluing surveys become so popular?
In part, it’s good business. Take a survey finding that 43 percent of Canadians would choose bacon over sex – it was conducted by Maple Leaf Foods Inc., a bacon producer. Then there’s the one sponsored by the Better Sleep Council, a creation of the mattress industry, which found that 61 percent of American adults would choose a good night’s sleep over sex. See also: a survey by mobile app company Telenav which found that — surprise, surprise – one-third of Americans would rather go without sex than their cellphone. (On a related note, Gazelle, an electronics trade-in site, found that 15 percent of respondents would rather “give up sex than go for even a weekend without their iPhone.”) Sex is the ultimate measure of desire — so why wouldn’t a company try to position its product as shockingly even more desirable?
Of course, there’s also some reinforcement of beloved gender stereotypes going on here. Some of the surveys focus in particular on women – you know, those creatures famed for hating sex. Cosmopolitan found that one in five women would sooner give up sex than Farmville (presumably the magazine will begin selling women 101 hot new ways to win at Farmville). It’s just an updated riff on the joke of “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache.”
And yet sex is what sells, strangely enough. Despite the fact that there are some asexual folks, but there are no (surviving) people who abstain from eating.
Don’t get me wrong, I would probably have to make a decision between sex and something else, any time the choice is presented, and sometimes (though rarely) sex wouldn’t win. I don’t get why the decision must be made as a binary one — or one of those surveys that say “would you give up sex for a week or Facebook for a week” when some people don’t even have computers or Facebook accounts, or no steady partner and a week is nothing. (Or a steady partner and a week is still nothing.)
What do you folks make of this phenomenon of trying to play your product up as better than sex? How would that play to asexual folks? And what do you think tops sex on your to-do list?