Washington: Facebook and email trump sex in terms of sheer irresistibility, researchers say.
The German study used smartphone-based surveys to probe the daily desires of 205 men and women, most of whom were college age.
For one week the phones, provided by the researchers, buzzed seven times daily, alerting study subjects to take a quick survey on the type, strength and timing of their desires, as well as their ability to resist them.
The study found that while the desire for sex was stronger, the study subjects were more likely to cave into the desire to use media, including email and social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
"Media desires, such as social networking, checking emails, surfing the Web or watching television might be hard to resist in light of the constant availability, huge appeal, and apparent low costs of these activities," ABC News quoted study author Wilhelm Hofmann from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business as saying.
The subjects were paid 28 dollars at the start of the study and were eligible for extra incentives if they filled out more than 80 percent of the surveys.
The urge to check social media was so strong that subjects gave in up to 42 percent of the time.
One explanation is that it's much more convenient to check email or Facebook than it is to have sex.
"The sex drive is much stronger but it's also much more situational," Karen North from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study, said.
"We're training ourselves to check our messages every couple minutes.
"People are constantly looking down to check their phones.
"They can't stop," North added.
The study has been published in the journal Psychological Science.