Recession-hit Brits are having less sex

Emma Woollacott
A handsome young couple lie in bed; she's reading; he obviously has something else in mind and is looking unhappy at being given
A handsome young couple lie in bed; she's reading; he obviously has something else in mind and is looking unhappy at being given

The UK's libido has plummeted since the financial crisis took hold, with the average Brit having sex just four times a month, compared with seven times a month back in 2008.

In a survey for the Observer this weekend, it was revealed that one in three people has no sex at all in an average month and only one in a hundred now claims to have sex every day. Fewer than two-thirds of people now say they are happy with their sex life, compared with more than three-quarters six years ago, and a quarter of those in stable relationships say the same.

And, found the researchers, as financial confidence has fallen, so has confidence in the bedroom. While in 2008 more than half of men believed they were above average in terms of their sexual prowess, that figure's now down to just a third. And while 86% were happy with the size of their penis back then, the figure's now dropped to 79%.

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Are People Having Less Sex?
Are People Having Less Sex?

Turning to porn

Instead of the real thing, it appears that people are turning to porn. More than half of women say they read erotic literature such as Fifty Shades of Grey; meanwhile, three quarters of men are watching porn online. Most porn users say they don't think it affects their expectations of sex in real life.

It may seem a bit of a stretch to connect economic woes with poor performance in the bedroom, but research shows a strong link between stress and a low sex drive. Women become less physically aroused when stressed, and are more easily distracted, a team of US scientists found last year.

And the results also bear out the findings of recent research from Relate, which shows a clear link between economic hard times and relationship breakdown. Couples hit by the recession were eight times more likely to split up, the team found, and those that did manage to stay together were less happy with their relationships.

"The findings show that people who suffered negative impacts of the recession were considerably more likely to have experienced deterioration in their relationship stability," say the authors.

"We also found that couples in the worst affected groups who remained in relationships had relatively poor relationship quality. This suggests that although the economic recession may be receding, the fallout – the 'social recession' – is still very much being felt by couples and families across the UK."

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