SAN FRANCISCO - Smartphones are now so ingrained in Americans' lives that they are unwilling to put them down - even in the throes of passion.
Almost one in 10 (9 per cent) of all respondents in a survey admitted that they used their phone during sex. The practice was more pronounced among those in the 18-34 age group (20 per cent).
The survey, called Mobile Consumer Habits and commissioned by Jumio, a mobile-payment and identity-verification company, polled 2,021 adults in the United States, 1,102 of whom were smartphone owners.
What the study found was that most people simply cannot bear to be away from their phone - 72 per cent said they are usually no more than 1.5m away from it.
A total of 12 per cent said they have taken their phone into the shower, while 19 per cent have used their phone in church.
Survey respondents also used their phone in the cinema (35 per cent), during a dinner date (33 per cent), or at their children's school or during a school function (32 per cent).
Worryingly, 55 per cent admitted to using their phone while driving.
"People view their smartphones as an extension of themselves, taking them everywhere they go...from the dinner table to the bedroom," said Mr Marc Barach, chief marketing and strategy officer of Jumio.
"Panic sets in when consumers are separated from their devices, with privacy concerns topping the list."
Indeed, most said they live in fear of their phone falling into someone else's hands.
Thus, 59 per cent of all phone-owning respondents said they have activated and use their phone's password-protection feature. This rises to 69 per cent for those who are single.
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) said that, should their handset be stolen, their greatest fear is the theft of personal information, which came just ahead of losing contact with others (58 per cent).
Other fears included someone else logging into their social profiles (33 per cent) and someone running up their phone bill (26 per cent).
But thieves are not the only concern - 29 per cent of respondents admitted to snooping on someone else's phone. This jumps to 42 per cent if only single people's responses are considered, which may help to explain why they are the group most likely to activate their device's password-protection features.
"People have good reason to be on high alert; nearly 30 per cent of adults admit to snooping on someone else's mobile phone," said Mr Barach.
No wonder people are taking them into the shower.