How women would rather give up sex than chocolate: One in five say treat would be last thing they foregoMore than 20 per cent of women said that chocolate would be the last thing they could give up, according to aa Cancer Research UK campaignBut just nine per cent said that sex would be the hardest thing to forego
07:38 GMT, 4 December 2012
The log fire is raging and the lights are turned down low. He snuggles in and his mind turns to passionate ways of getting the pulse racing on a cold winter’s night.
However, her mind is firmly stuck on far sweeter things – her favourite chocolate treat hidden away in the cupboard.
A survey has confirmed what many chaps had always feared: That most women would rather give up sex than chocolate.
Treat: Women would rather give up sex than chocolate according to a new study
A survey of 2,000 people found that alcohol, chocolate and sex were the most difficult things to forego, followed by caffeine and swearing.
When it comes to giving things up for a month, one in five men – 22 per cent – said sex was one of the hardest things to live without, while only one in ten women – 9 per cent – agreed.
Twenty-two per cent of women said chocolate would be the last thing they would forego.
While 59 per cent of people thought women were more likely to be able to abstain from sex, only 5 per cent thought men could.
Men were thought to have less willpower than women once they set their mind to a challenge, with 19 per cent of people saying men lacked the ability to control their urges compared with 31 per cent for women.
The survey was carried out to mark the launch of Cancer Research UK’s fundraising campaign Dryathlon, encouraging people to test their willpower by staying off alcohol for January.
Vices: Drinking alcohol and sex were ranked as among the most difficult things to give up (file pictures)
When asked about how their willpower changed over the year, half of the UK admitted that the winter period – in particular Christmas and New Year – is when we are at our weakest.
The study also found that men are still thought of as being commitment-shy, with more than half – 56 per cent – of those questioned saying women are more committed to relationships compared to 5 per cent of men.
While people thought men are stronger willed in work and sport, 31 per cent thought that women were more likely to be able to stick to a diet than men.
Robert West, professor of health psychology at the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre said: 'When you take exposure to temptation and strength of desire out of the equation you are left with this thing called “willpower”: the force that our plans have in controlling our actions.
Addictive: Many people struggle to give up caffeine
'Individuals with more willpower are probably more likely to achieve their objectives, whatever these might be.
'Some believe that willpower is like a muscle – it can get tired but it can also be strengthened with training.
'The idea is that getting people to practice doing something that requires self-control builds a general ability to do this.
'There are also studies showing that when people make their personal rules very clear with well-defined boundaries, they are more likely to stick to them.'
Jessica Ennis topped a list of 30 of the UK’s willpower heroes, picking up more than 20 per cent of the public vote.
Following her heptathlon success at the Olympics, Ennis topped the poll for demonstrating the highest willpower, closely followed by The Queen who took more than 10 per cent of the vote for her lifetime dedication to her country.