Voice recognition
Image: iStock/AH86

We love our digital assistants and the fact that we can pose questions about the weather, movie times and directions straight into our phones for an instant answer. They're also a good way to amuse ourselves on nights out when we know we're asking unintelligible things and want a funny response.

However, perhaps they might not be the best source of information when it comes to queries about sex, according to new research.

A team at the University of Otago in New Zealand carried out a study in which they compiled 50 questions about sex, sexual health, contraception and other related matters.

They then put them to Siri and Google Assistant, as well as manually typing them into the classic Google search engine, before checking the responses for relevance and reliability. If users were directed to sources such as the NHS, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or hospitals, higher ratings were given, whereas lower scores were attributed to references to the likes of Wikipedia.

It was found that traditional Google gave the best responses 72 per cent of the time, compared with 50 per cent for Google Assistant and just 32 per cent for Siri.

In fact, Siri seemed to get the most confused of all, offering up pictures of men wrestling, aliens and kissing and confusing STIs with stock market codes. Sometimes, it just said it didn't have an opinion.

Meanwhile, Google Assistant helpfully directed users to videos featuring instructions and wooden penises.

Interestingly, though, Siri was the most useful on directing people to buy condoms or find emergency contraception.

The researchers did admit in the British Medical journal that this was as study with limitations and that software updates can regularly change query responses.

However, lead study author Nick Wilson said: "If people want to get internet-based sex advice or other health advice online, they should first probably do a laptop Google search. But if you want amusing wrong results - Siri is probably best."

According to the BMJ, two in five teenagers and adults go online looking for responses to sex-related questions. However, the fact that they would have to speak them into their smartphone has hopefully put them off Siri and led them to the more accurate responses on plain old Google.