You don't want your sex life monitored by Internet of Things, do you?

A new study shows that people want their health monitored by gadgets. Just not all of their health.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Will your health data kiss and tell? CNET

I was sitting next to a teenage girl on a flight last week, discussing the relative merits of Taylor Swift, Ella Henderson and FKA Twigs. (Oh, look them up or ask a child.)

Suddenly, she said: "Yesterday, I was staying with my dad and went through my stepmom's closet. I found some handcuffs."

"Oh," I replied.

"Then my stepmom caught me and went mad," she revealed.

I tried to explain that if her stepmom had been French instead of American, she would have offered a knowing smile and invited her out for a little pastis and a chat.

We Americans, though, are still a touch puritanical about our sex lives. This is shown yet again by a study that has exclusively fallen onto my desktop.

We're all rapidly being connected to everything and everyone through phones, watches and strange bands around our hands and heads. So this study asked what aspects of health people might (or might not) be happy to have monitored by the Internet of Things.

Naturally, one always wonders about the sponsors of such research. In this case it was a company called A&D Medical, which, stunningly, sees itself as "the worldwide leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices."

This company has a product called Wellness Connected, which giddily promises: "Complete, connected health tracking is here. Self-monitor your key health metrics, track progress and share -- all through a single app and your own personal account." Yes, share your bunions with your friends.

In the interests of perhaps broadening its offering, A&D Medical asked Harris Poll to examine 2,024 adults (18+) between December 17 and 19 and ask them just how many calories they expected to stuff into their gizzards at Christmas.

Actually, that's not quite right. But it did ask these Americans about their feelings toward their own health. Almost half the respondents said they were worried about their blood pressure -- and you thought the economy was doing just fine -- while 23 percent were concerned they might have a heart attack. Yes, only 23 percent.

And it asked about their feelings toward the coming connected apocalypse.

A sturdy 56 percent of respondents seem happy to have their health constantly observed by Internet-connected devices, while 50 percent said they'd be OK with their health information being constantly dispatched to their doctors and "other people they choose." Their health insurance companies, obviously.

However, there's less agreement on the aspects of health that they'd like monitored.

It seems 37 percent of respondents were comfortable with the idea of having their blood pressure under constant scrutiny, 33 percent would love it if their weight were being permanently analyzed, and 25 percent said they'd like chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes to be monitored. There were relatively positive scores for monitoring sleep (23 percent) and diet (19 percent).

But woe betide any gadget that tries to keep Internet-connected tabs on sexual activity. A mere 5 percent of respondents said they'd be comfortable with that. Only 4 percent thought having their fertility scrutinized over the Web was a good idea.

No, our inner proclivities and vulnerabilities are not yet ready for prime Internet time.

Technology has -- inadvertently, perhaps -- forced us into a peculiarly heightened form of self-obsession. I worry, though, that the more information we have about ourselves, the more we worry. How else do you think psychologists get repeat business?

I cannot say that I look forward to the day when I get a notification on my phone that reads: "Hey, what's that zit on your lip? You sure that's just a zit? Doesn't look like it to me."