Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but when I was recently faced with economic hardship (being a recent college graduate with no job), the last thing I could think about was knocking boots. Then again, anytime I introduced myself as a 22-year-old "in transition" (living with my parents, no income, watching Project Runway reruns all the time), my potential suitors would bolt anyway. Go figure.
Men, however, are not women. The troubling economy is causing them to get a little extra frisky — and not necessarily with one partner. According to a recent study, financial woes can increase a man's desire to seek out more sexual partners — resulting in greater chances of reproduction, according to research conducted by University of Kansas Psychology Professor Omri Gillath.
When faced with a threatening environment (i.e., lots of people losing their jobs) men are more likely to pursue short-term mating strategies, sexual selection theory tells us. Gillath and his colleagues asked a group of men to think about their own deaths. The men were then asked to look at a computer with both sexual and nonsexual images. The result: Men had increased heart rates and responded more vigorously to the sexual images when they thought about death, as opposed to when they thought about dental pain. Would You Rather Have Your Husband Cheat Or Fall Out Of Love?
The study also found that high unemployment rates and low wages also cause men to stray from monogamous relationships in order to secure another way to spread their seed. "When the environment is secure and you have enough food and things are working the way you would like them to, people are more likely to invest in their existing kids and stay with their current partner or prefer long-term mating strategies," said Gillath. "But if the environment is dangerous and your chances of survival are low — if there is a famine or more enemies — then people will adopt short-term strategies which allow them to reproduce more." This research is the first to show a causal link between low survivability cues and sexual preparedness in men.
This isn't the first time the dwindling economy has been blamed for being the source of relationship problems. Experts have said that the poor economy has caused an increase in tension and strain in marriages, ultimately leading to cheating. Despite the infidelity, though, couples are sticking it out due to the financial burdens of divorce and splitting assets.
What do you think? Is the economy affecting your relationship?