Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 9, 2019

Does Television Kill Your Sex Life? Microeconometric Evidence from 80 Countries

Adrienne M. Lucas ORCID logo and Nicholas L. Wilson ORCID logo

Abstract

The canonical consumer demand model predicts that as the price of a substitute decreases, quantity demanded for a good decrease. In the case of demand for sexual activity and availability of alternative leisure activities, popular culture expresses this prediction as “television kills your sex life.” This paper examines the association between television ownership and coital frequency using data from nearly 4 million individuals in national household surveys in 80 countries from 5 continents. The results suggest that while television may not kill your sex life, it is associated with some sex life morbidity. Under our most conservative estimate, we find that television ownership is associated with approximately a 6 % reduction in the likelihood of having had sex in the past week, consistent with a small degree of substitutability between television viewing and sexual activity. Household wealth and reproductive health knowledge do not appear to be driving this association.

JEL Classification: I12; I31; J13

  1. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Appendix

Table 9:

Countries, sample sizes, and survey rounds

SurveySample
CountryRoundsSize
Afghanistan201540,149
Albania200810,597
Armenia2000, 2005, 201020,497
Azerbaijan200610,995
Bangladesh1993, 1996, 1999, 2004, 200760,033
Benin1996, 2001, 2006, 201160,295
Bolivia1989, 1994, 1998, 2003, 200877,732
Brazil1986, 1991, 199627,672
Burkina Faso1993, 1998, 2003, 201053,873
Burundi1987, 201017,609
Cambodia2000, 2005, 2010, 201468,434
Cameroon1991, 1998, 2004, 201145,423
Central African Republic19947,613
Chad1996, 2004, 201440,789
Colombia1986, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 20151,93,402
Comoros1996, 201210,514
Cote d’Ivoire1994, 1998, 201127,204
Democratic Republic of the Congo2007, 201342,125
Dominican Republic1991, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007, 201384,689
Ecuador19874,713
Egypt1988, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008, 20141,16,001
El Salvador19854,861
Ethiopia1992, 1997, 200368,696
Gabon2000, 201222,247
Gambia201310,232
Ghana1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 201446,284
Guatemala1987, 1995, 1998, 2014, 201560,635
Guinea1999, 2005, 201228,948
Guyana20098,504
Haiti1994, 2000, 2005, 201245,367
Honduras2005, 201149,885
India1992, 1998, 2005, 20153,85,780
Indonesia1987, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2007, 20122,26,975
Jordan1990, 1997, 2002, 2007, 201250,345
Kazakhstan1995, 19998,570
Kenya1989, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 201493,497
Kyrgyz Republic1997, 201214,457
Lesotho2004, 2009, 201430,366
Liberia1986, 2007, 201331,647
Madagascar1992, 1997, 2003, 200847,186
Malawi1992, 2000, 2004, 2010, 201595,085
Maldives20098,611
Mali1987, 1995, 2001, 2006, 201263,283
Mexico19873,401
Moldova20057,439
Morocco1987, 1992, 200332,000
Mozambique1997, 2003, 201143,827
Namibia1992, 2000, 2006, 201341,901
Nepal1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 201651,399
Nicaragua1998, 200129,596
Niger1992, 1998, 2006, 201245,749
Nigeria1990, 1999, 2003, 2008, 20131,05,961
Nigeria (Ondo State)19864,208
Pakistan1990, 2006, 201234,618
Paraguay19905,819
Peru1986, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2003–20122,57,120
Republic of the Congo2005, 201123,012
Rwanda1992, 2000, 2005, 2010, 201490,201
Sao Tome and Principe20084,910
Senegal1986, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2010–201589,149
Sierra Leone2008, 201334,499
South Africa1998, 200311,734
Sri Lanka1987, 20065,862
Sudan19895,850
Swaziland20069,114
Tajikistan20129,654
Tanzania1991, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2010, 201569,109
Thailand19876,757
The Philippines1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, 201377,108
Timor-Leste200917,213
Togo1988, 1998, 201329,683
Trinidad and Tobago19873,801
Tunisia19884,184
Turkey1993, 1998, 200325,099
Uganda1988, 1995, 2000, 2006, 201145,083
Ukraine200710,017
Uzbekistan19964,415
Vietnam1997, 200211,329
Yemen19915,649
Zambia1992, 1996, 2001, 2007, 201369,310
Zimbabwe1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, 201569,400
Full sample1986–201638,17,000

  1. Notes: Data come from Standard Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) publicly available as of January 2018.

Table 10:

Trends in television ownership and sexual activity.

Interview year:TelevisionSex in past weekObservations
(1)(2)(3)
Panel A: Full sample
1980–19890.360.241,36,168
1990–19990.380.259,50,340
2000–20090.510.3115,17,642
2010–20190.520.3512,12,856
Panel B: Females
1980–19890.360.241,36,168
1990–19990.400.248,69,655
2000–20090.540.3112,35,000
2010–20190.540.359,36,027
Panel C: Males
1980–1989
1990–19990.230.3080,685
2000–20090.420.302,82,642
2010–20190.460.372,76,829
Panel D: Urban
1980–19890.570.2261,232
1990–19990.660.243,84,473
2000–20090.760.296,82,354
2010–20190.790.325,18,689
Panel E: Rural
1980–19890.180.2774,936
1990–19990.200.255,65,867
2000–20090.320.328,35,288
2010–20190.320.386,94,167
Panel F: Married
1980–19890.350.311,00,818
1990–19990.370.317,15,329
2000–20090.510.4310,19,235
2010–20190.500.517,79,563
Panel G: Not married
1980–19890.370.0435,350
1990–19990.430.062,35,011
2000–20090.530.054,98,407
2010–20190.550.074,33,293

  1. Notes: Data come from Standard Demographic and Health Surveys. Entries in Columns (1) and (2) are sub-sample means. “Television” and “Sex in past week” are indicator variables.

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Published Online: 2019-07-09

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