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Does the "Less Sex in a Recession" Trend Have Evolutionary Roots?

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyDecember 10, 2008 5:55 AM


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It's been a rough few weeks for anything male. According to a study released this week, males of just about every species are being feminized—or even wiped out of existence—by the slew of unregulated chemicals in our water and environment. And for those already locked in male adulthood, there's more bad news: Men in New York City are reportedly losing their desire for sex because of the financial crisis. According to a (highly non-scientific, but not unbelievable) trend piece in the New York Post, many former masters of the universe are shunning coitus due to anxiety over job losses, lost wealth, and other monetary realities of 2008. While a host of psycho-social factors are likely behind this reported mass libido-loss (assuming that it's true), it's possible that a growing disinterest in sex during an economic crisis is linked to physiology, and perhaps even evolution. In other words, hard economic times may translate into a built-in desire for less procreation. We know that economic hard times and sex/birthrates are linked: fertility declines during recessions, primarily due to the fact that families know they'll have a harder time raising children. Children born during downturns may also feel the brunt of the economy during gestation and infancy, according to recent research indicating that being born during a recession could lead to a shorter life span. Given these factors, it's not a stretch to think the male libido might slow down as a natural reaction to drastic economic conditions. On a physiological level, a man who loses his cave/401K/high-powered job will likely experience a drop in testosterone, one of the hormones primarily responsible for sexual functioning. Granted, whether or not all the laid-off female bankers are feeling similarly less-than-aroused has yet to be explored. Related: RB: Sexual Harassment: A Bad Plan for Population Growth

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