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October 10, 2012

Social Media Over Sex?

By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor

It’s hard to believe that if a person was faced with choosing between social media and having sex they would choose social media, but that’s exactly what a new study is suggesting. Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) have become the ultimate home wreckers.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business say that Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are more addicting and tempting than sex and cigarettes.

The study measured German subjects’ from ages 18 to 85 desires and urges, rating them from “strong” to “irresistible.” The conclusion? Resisting temptation to hit Twitter, Facebook (News - Alert) and other social media sites was harder to resist than other urges people encountered, such as smoking, drinking, spending money, sleeping and sex. For seven consecutive days, 250 participants identified yearnings to interact through tweets, photos and comments as the most difficult stimulant to turn down.

Times have changed; we demand easy, instant and on-demand access to anything and everything. Many in the study said the Internet is cheaper and more instantaneous than sex and relationships.

Image via Shutterstock.

"Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not cost much to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist," said Wilhem Hofmann, lead author of the study, in a statement.

So while the urge for sex is stronger, people are more likely to give in to the desire of social media.

The addictive nature of social media may be the result of its “high availability,” say the researchers. In addition, with addictive substances such as alcohol and tobacco, there’s a clear message about the negative impacts on your health and wallet. That’s not as apparent with Facebook or Twitter.

Earlier this year, a Harvard study found that posting views on Facebook and other social media sites delivers a powerful reward to the brain, similar to the pleasure from food and sex. Findings concluded that “self disclosure” produces a response in the region of the brain associated with dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure or the anticipation of a reward.

In contrary research, a survey from Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines found that communicating via social networking, instant messaging and texting leads people to the bedroom faster. Eighty percent of women said relationships lead to sex more quickly because it’s so easy to stay connected, and 58 percent of men surveyed said flirting over Facebook, texts and other online communication systems helps them get women into the sack sooner. According to the survey, tech-enabled flirting via social media is in fact helping people’s sex lives, not becoming the home wrecker.

However, the survey also found that between iPads, smartphones and other technology in the bedroom, couple-time isn’t as intimate as it used to be. Five percent of those surveyed said they would glance at the phone to see who’s calling if they received a call or text during sex.

Turns out, it’s the women who are on the popular social media sites more. Eighty percent of Pinterest users are women, 64 percent of users who log in to Twitter are women and 58 percent of Facebook logins are female users.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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