Does a recession mean more sex? How procreation and economics mix.
A popular notion that has spread throughout the years is that people have more sex during a recession because, apparently, they don't have any money to do anything else.
The Guardian in the UK has taken a look at birth rates since most of the world went into recession around 2008. What they found may surprise you.
Birth Rates, GDP, and Unemployment
To find out whether or not it's true that people who are unemployed have more spare time and no money to go out have more sex, journalists at the Guardian newspaper dug into the data to see if they could find a correlation between unemployment, GDP changes and birth rates in Europe. Long story short, a recession doesn't mean people are having more sex - or at least unprotected sex.
And this was the problem with trying to determine if more people were having sex. While some data showed that condom sales actually increased during the recession, the numbers were from press releases of condom manufacturers, not really reliable data. So the good journalists at the Guardian dug a little deeper, going back to earlier time periods when contraception wasn't as cheap or readily available as it is today. This is where the story gets interesting.
What they found was that birth rates typically went down (quite a bit) during the big depression in the early 20th century as well as during the oil crisis in the 1970s. The Guardian reporters came to the conclusion that recession leads to depression and stress, which aren't really conducive to getting in the mood. This is what could explain the lower birth rates during times of extreme economic stress.
A commenter on the original article brought up the fact that people leaving countries could also affect their birth rates, meaning no real correlation could be found between unemployment rates and how often people get it on in the bedroom. More data was digested in the article, but the answer is still elusive. Numbers seem to point that people don't have more sex when the economy is bad, but the phrase originated somewhere.
Who knows. Maybe it originally came from a long forgotten press release from a condom company. If you have anything interesting (and safe-for-work) to share about sex and recessions or depressions, leave a comment below. It doesn't cost you anything and helps add to the conversation. Procreation and economics may never be tied together by cold, hard facts, but it would be nice to see someone other than a condom manufacturer do a study to see if they are related at all. Remember to leave your thoughts below if you want to join the conversation.