Recession hits adult sex lives, cheating: poll

NEW YORK Fri May 7, 2010 3:17pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The global economic crisis is taking a toll on older Americans' sex lives, according to an AARP survey.

Between 2004 and 2009, the percentage of people in their 50s who say they have sex at least once a week took about a 10-point plunge for both sexes.

Women dropped to 32 percent from 43 percent, and men to 41 percent, from 49 percent, in the sex survey of 1,670 Americans aged 45 and older.

"Financial worries tend to seep into all parts of a couple's life together," said Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a sexologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"It's hard for some people to feel warm and sexy when they are afraid of losing their home or they have already lost their job. People complain of feeling distant, disconnected, and emotionally bound up," she added.

Most other age groups saw a drop in their frequency of sex, too, according to AARP, a non-profit membership organization for people 50 years and older.

Among all the survey respondents, 21 percent of men and 11 percent of women admit that they cheated during a current or recent long-term relationship.

About 12 percent of both sexes say that their partner cheated on them.

Surprisingly few people say the cheating did irreparable harm to their relationship. About 40 percent report unfaithfulness had no effect at all, about 30 percent think it only caused temporary tension, and 6 percent or less said it did irreparable harm.

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