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Published on May 10th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Alcohol and Sex Make You Happier Than Kids

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A new study found that people rate sex as the top activity that brings them happiness, followed by drinking alcohol or “partying.” Caring for children ranked at number five.

According to DNAIndia.com, Carsten Grimm from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand used mobile-phone text-messaging to collect data on what people did during the day and how they felt about it, a technique called ‘experience sampling’. The study measured three categories: Pleasure, meaning and engagement. Grimm noted:

“Those who tend to be high on all three orientations to happiness not only score high on life satisfaction, they also tend to have higher experiences of pleasure, meaning, engagement and happiness in their daily lives. This means that being able to seek happiness in different ways may enrich your everyday experience and increase your overall well-being.”

Top-ranked activities according to the survey

  1. Sex
  2. Drinking alcohol
  3.  Volunteering
  4. Meditating/religion
  5. Caring for children
  6. Listening to music
  7. Socializing
  8. Hobbies
  9. Shopping
  10. Gaming

Worst-ranked activities

  1. Recovering from sickness
  2. Facebook
  3. Housework
  4. Studying
  5. Texting
  6. Going to lecture (school)
  7. Paid work
  8. Commuting
  9. Computer work
  10. Washing

Photo: Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .



7 Responses to Alcohol and Sex Make You Happier Than Kids

  1. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Celebrate American Craft Beer Week – May 13-19 | Eat Drink Better

  2. Scott Cooney says:

    I posted this on Facebook and got some snarky replies…why is it that people can post 10,000 pictures of their kids on FB and when we kidless folk post something like this, it’s ok for them to get all snarky with us? Look–kids are great. If you want them, you can have them. But the trend is pretty clear–people are generally having less kids except in Mormon country and extreme third world areas. Kids are a huge expense, and require a ton of work. I’m not saying they’re not worth it–for some people. But for others who choose not to have kids, there are a lot of other great things in the world. My girlfriend and I have decided not to have kids, and there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not grateful for the easy, worry-free, debt-free life that we live. To each their own, yeah?

    • I agree. It’s all about respecting other folks’ choices. Who are you hurting by not having kids? It’s not like you’re telling other folks not to have babies! OR ARE YOU? :D

  3. Olivia – First, thanks for the thoughtful comment. As the mother of four, I totally agree that HAVING kids (in your life not necessarily the giving birth part!) can’t be replaced. However, this study measures TAKING CARE OF KIDS ( as in the day to day activities). The methodology captured happiness, etc. as people reported it on the spot as the activities took place, so I can absolutely see how sex, alcohol, volunteering, etc. would elicit more reports (than parenting tasks) of being happy after the fact. For me at least, endless driving to and from soccer practice to tutoring and dealing with girl drama and sitting on my kids to do their homework or put on appropriate clothing etc. doesn’t make me feel very happy. But those are measurements of parenting tasks (which is what was measured) not how much joy kids bring. All that said, of course, this data needs to be taken in context. Because, I like you, wouldn’t trade my kids in for anything.

  4. Kathy says:

    Interesting to see Volunteering at #3…..cleansing of the soul & feel good factors….which would be required after having too much # 1 & #2!
    Interesting article…I love lists!

  5. Olivia says:

    Well alcohol a pacify your thoughts and sex helps you relax your mind and body. But these activities can’t replace kids. After all, it’s not a man-made relation so can’t be replaced with some artificial element or an activity. Have kids, and see what changes they bring into your life.

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