Feature

The economics of sex

Is it possible for the recession to be encouraging adultery but discouraging sex?

One thing is booming in this recession, said Bruce Watson in Daily Finance. Infidelity. Money problems often drive married couples apart, but divorce is expensive, so many unhappy couples are staying together (the divorce rate has fallen by 40 percent in the economic downturn). And many of those unhappy spouses are seeking comfort with other married people—because adultery with another married person is cheaper than romancing a single person.

Maybe, but they're not hooking up at work, said John Carney in The Business Insider. Sex in the office was commonplace in boom times. Every Wall Street firm had its stories of co-workers being caught in the heat of passion in elevators and in conference rooms. But as an HR person at a major Wall Street firm put it, "It's like the crash dampened their hormones."

The bottom line, said Dan Kadlec in Time, is that Americans stressed out by tough economic times are having less sex. The birth rate is flat to down, contraceptive sales "tailed off in 2008 from brisk growth rates during the boom years." It "seems there's been a dearth of action in the bedroom just when we all need a little free entertainment."

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