We may have love in our hearts this Valentine's Day, but will it translate into sexual desire? That depends, according to Rutgers University Professor Helen Fisher. In a recession, generally two trends occur.
When times of stress are upon us, dopamine levels in our blood go up, and dopamine is associated with romantic love. As far back as 1974 this theory was tested on male subjects who, when crossing a dangerous-seeming bridge, were more susceptible to attraction to the female researcher. (I knew I should have gone into research!)
If you think that theory is suspect, Susan Quiliam, a relationship psychologist writing for BBC News, reports that dating websites like eHarmony and Match.com have seen traffic rise about 20 percent over the last few months. And a gay dating site in Britain, Manhunt, had the most new sign-ups on September 29, 2008, the day the Dow collapsed.
Additionally, a survey in Britain by YouGov reported results that sex was the most popular low-cost activity in November, 2008. Sales of sex toys from Amsterdam, China, and New York are reporting boom activity.
Although the trend shows a keener interest in sexual companionship from those that are unattached during these recessionary times, sexual desire among couples already in a relationship seems to diminish when one or both members of a partnership experiences job loss or stress.
Sex therapist Denise Knowles acknowledges that, "Economic uncertainties can cause people to become more anxious - with
the added dimension of people trying to get another job, or working
longer hours to cover for a partner who has lost theirs. In the end, they are simply less likely to want sexual activity at the end of a long day."
Male sexual performance, writes Quilliam, is often affected by his self-confidence. Female sexual satisfaction, she continues, is often related to emotional stability, quoting a prior study by Thomas Pollet of Newcastle University, suggesting that rich men give their partners more orgasms.
Whatever impact this recession has on your sex life, being emotionally close to another person should go a long way to help you get through these difficult times. Stay close.
BBC News, Image credit: stock.xchng®
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