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Not Tonight Honey, I've Got the Internet

If you were wondering where Internet access ranks in today's lifestyle choices, take a gander at the results of a new survey sponsored by Intel (NASDAQ: INTC).

People would forgo sex and television watching for two weeks rather than lose a week's worth of access to the Internet.

Those are just two startling tidbits from the survey, called "Internet Reliance in Today's Economy." Sponsored by Intel and conducted by Harris Interactive, the survey set out to discover where Internet access and online activity rank among personal and workplace needs.

It turns out that both are becoming a major requirement of both work and personal lives.

According to the survey, 46 percent of women and 30 percent of men would abstain from sexual activity for two weeks than go without Internet access for the same timeframe. The percentage spikes higher, to 49 percent, among women ages 18 to 34 years old and to a whopping 52 percent for 35 years old to 44 years old.

Males, however, aren't as quick to make the trade. Just 39 percent of those 18 years old to 34 years old would choose Internet access over sex for two weeks.

The Intel survey, released yesterday, reveals that an astonishing 95 percent of adults consider Internet devices important tools for accomplishing every day tasks, and 65 percent state they can't live without access.

Seventy one percent believe the Internet is vital to keeping up with top-of-mind issues such as the economy. Eighty-seven percent claim Internet access has saved money. The survey polled 2,119 Americans ages 18 and older.

Internet access even bests television viewing.

A majority of women, 61 percent, would lose TV access for two weeks over Internet abstinence for one week. Sixty-seven percent of adults, male and female, aged 18-34; 57 percent of adults aged 35-44, and 52 percent of those 45 and older would rather go two weeks without TV than have no Internet access for a week.

A main reason for the TV switch is that many primetime shows and movies are now available on the Internet as well, noted the study.

The Internet, it seems, is making life better. Nine of 10 polled said the Internet has improved at least one aspect of their lives. The top benefit, cited by 78 percent, is the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. A good majority, 68 percent, said access provides more efficient shopping and nearly half, 47 percent, have a better grip on personal financial activities thanks to online banking and bill paying features.

The results underscore how important the Internet has become for both work and personal needs and join a growing list of surveys that point to similar results.

A recent IBM poll conducted by Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. According to the results, 87 percent of U.S. professionals bring a smartphone or mobile productivity device into the bedroom to get some last-minute peeks at e-mail before going to sleep.