Would you rather...

What Europeans and Americans would and wouldn't give up for sex

“Would You Rather?” has long been a mainstay of parties and casual gatherings of friends, where two typically unpleasant choices – often of a very personal or sexual nature – are presented for each person to decide which they would prefer. It’s a game with the potential for almost unlimited creativity, discussion, and awkwardness. Every person certainly has their individual judgement of which scenarios are the least bad for them – but what might these answers look like on a larger scale?

We decided to take the game of “Would You Rather?” and pose some of these questions to 2,000 Europeans and Americans. How important is sex to our respondents, and what would and wouldn’t they give up for it? Keep reading to see just how men and women answered these difficult questions.

The value of carnal desire

Would you rather give up sex or...

We first asked respondents what they would rather give up than sex, and many of their answers ranged from the enjoyable to the essential. It turns out, alcohol would be the first thing to go – around 75 percent of participants said they would rather give up drinking than sex. Similarly, just over 73 percent indicated partying was a more disposable pleasure than intercourse.

However, fewer people were willing to give up on pizza entirely. Only about 63 percent were willing to sacrifice cheesy deliciousness for nights of uninhibited ecstasy. In other words, more than one-third of people would willingly choose to refrain from sex before giving up pizza! Sugar seemed to be even more important, with just under 57 percent choosing to give it up rather than becoming abstinent. Even meat was a hard sell (47 percent).

Most notable: Only about 43 percent of respondents would give up having a cellphone for sex, and around 38 percent would give up their car.

Losing a limb over sex

Would you rather lose a finger or arm or never have sex again?

How many people would prefer a lifelong disability to never having sex again?

When it came to losing a finger, almost 83 percent of U.S. men would sacrifice the digit rather than become abstinent. And slightly fewer European men would make the same choice (76 percent). However, only around 57 percent of U.S. women and just over 54 percent of European women would accept the loss of a finger over giving up sex for the duration of their life.

Similarly, when we asked respondents to choose between giving up oral sex or losing a finger, men were still more likely than women to choose the loss of a body part. While it’s possible men may be more preoccupied with thinking about and seeking out sexual pleasure, women may have similarly intense sex drives. (Of course, these studies generally don’t ask about losing body parts.)

It’s one thing to lose a single digit – but what about the loss of an arm? While participants were overall less willing to give up this appendage, a surprising number still chose this sacrifice over celibacy. In fact, around 42 percent of U.S. men and just over 37 percent of European men would be willing to lose one of their arms if it meant continuing to have sex. Even about 3 in 10 U.S. women and 2 in 10 European women would choose the loss of their arm.

As for oral sex, over 20 percent of U.S. men and 19 percent of European men consider it so important they would rather give up an arm – and so do about 12 percent of U.S. women and over 10 percent of European women.

Sobriety vs sex

Would you rather give up sex or alcohol for the rest of your life?

When we asked respondents what they would give up over sex, alcohol was the most disposable compared with sex. Given how widespread the usage of alcohol use is, we wondered: What types of alcohol would people be most willing to give up?

Beer would probably be the first to go. A mere 17 percent of European men and almost 17 percent of European women valued beer more so than sex, and this figure was halved for U.S. men (nearly 8 percent) and U.S. women (over 8 percent). However, more than 30 percent of European men and nearly 31 percent of European women would give up oral sex for beer, although a notable gap was seen for American respondents – while about 25 percent of U.S. women would give up oral sex for beer, only around 17 percent of U.S. men would do the same.

When it came to wine, though, European and U.S. women were more willing to give up sex. Conversely, fewer European and U.S. men opted to give up sex over wine.

Social media vs sex

Would you rather give up social media or sex for a year?

Social media is a part of most people’s everyday life, as ever-present and essential as the smartphones in our pockets. Just under 80 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook, and over three-quarters check Facebook daily. Clearly, social connections are quite important. But when sex and social media are pitted against one another, which one wins?

It turns out, almost 90 percent of men would quit social media for a year before giving up sex. However, this figure differed slightly for women: While a majority (over 74 percent) were willing to give up social media for a year, roughly 1 in 4 would rather give up sex. This may not only be due to possible differences in how men and women regard sex but could also reflect women’s greater levels of engagement with most social media platforms.

Sight vs having an orgasm

Would you rather lose your sight or the ability to orgasm?

We’ve looked at if respondents would lose an arm or a finger for sex, but what about the loss of a major sense? Next, we asked whether participants would rather give up their sight than lose the ability to have an orgasm.

Interestingly, a surprising number of men – over 17 percent in Europe and nearly 8 percent in America – were indeed willing to lose their sight over losing the ability to achieve orgasm. However, this figure was smaller among European women (10 percent). American women, on the other hand, were slightly more willing (more than 8 percent) to lose their sight than American men.

A lifetime of chocolate vs sex

Would you rather give up chocolate or sex for the rest of your life?

The last thing we asked about was something rather more closely associated with romance than limb loss or blindness: chocolate. Just how important is eating chocolate compared with having sex? The answer may come down, at least in part, to gender.

A strong majority of men (almost 88 percent) would readily give up chocolate for the rest of their life than give up sex, yet only about 70 percent of women would choose sex over chocolate. Food writers have noted that, rather than being due to any inherent biological difference between men and women, the cultural perception of chocolate as especially desired by women as a comfort food may be what drives the craving itself.

One easy choice: taking care of your sexual health

One trend is clear: Sex plays a very significant role in most people’s life and can be just as important as body parts, senses, communication, social engagements, and many more of the things that make life enjoyable. Quite simply, people have a strong desire for sex to be a part of their daily life.

That’s why sexual health is more important than ever. Health conditions that can impair your ability to have sex, such as erectile dysfunction or STIs, can have a severe impact on your quality of life. At ZAVA, we offer confidential consultations with real doctors and medical professionals on a variety of sexual health issues. Prescriptions and other treatments can also be mailed discreetly to your door. Visit us today and find out how you can take charge of your sexual health for life.


We presented an online survey to more than 2,000 people in Europe and in the United States on several questions of whether they would opt to give up sex or sex-related experiences, or other major aspects of life such as food, drink, transportation, or the use of other body parts.