Long-term unemployment linked to more sex

Jan. 25, 2010 at 11:05 PM
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Lengthy unemployment and poverty may increase sexual appetite and risky sexual behavior in young people, U.S. researchers said.

Matthew J. Davis, a Texas A&M University doctoral student, looked at the responses from 2,362 participants ages 21-27 concerning their sexual behavior, including number of partners, frequency and use of contraceptives.

The study, published in the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, showed people with higher rates of poverty were more likely to have sex more often with multiple partners and not utilize birth control and protection.

Davis divided the responses into regular and irregular workers -- those who had worked less than six months in the last two years -- and found irregular workers had greater sexual appetite and risk behaviors compared to regular workers.

Davis speculates two factors could be influencing the findings. First, as research indicates, employment provides a time structure, social contact and a larger sense of purpose -- acting as a shield against negative and addictive behaviors, Davis said.

"A second factor that may be working in this relationship is future uncertainty," he said. "Unemployed and poor individuals may be less likely to perceive their future as both positive and stable, which may lead to reduction in their ability to delay gratification and comprehend future consequences of their actions."

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