Sex, Dating and the Recession

As I sit writing this article, I am listening to the radio and a commercial that makes my ears perk up. There is actually an ad on the radio promoting personal "lubricants" from a website. I had to ask my friend, do you ever recall hearing ads for these products on the radio during peak family listening times? Neither of us can recall anything quite so blatant as an "intimate" product being broadcast during early evening hours. However, we had also noticed something different at our local "big box" discount store. The store now sells a whole variety of sexual aids, including condoms, lubricants and personal massagers. Walmart offers them too. Walgreen now features a special section of their website devoted to "Sexual Wellness." Obviously, there has been a subtle shift.

Intrigued by these facts, as well as the inclusion of "coupons" for some of the above items in my recent, Los Angeles Times, I felt the need to do some investigating. So, I turned to that source of all good recession data, the trusty Google search engine. Some interesting facts turned up. It seems people are looking for some basic comforts during this time of economic crisis. And they are finding comfort in those age-old pleasures of intimacy, chocolate and wine.

As the number of laid-off American workers grows, personal ads on Craigslist are at an all time high. A recent article in Marie Claire magazine noted: "The number of personals in Craig's list's 'Casual Encounters' section jumped from 1.4 million in September 2007 to 3.1 million in September 2008. Here's an example of one Craig's list ad: 'Recession, economy got you down? ... One way I've found to ALLEVIATE this stress I'm feeling is XxXX...'" (the expletives in this post have been deleted to protect the innocent readers of HuffPost.) Another, and now famous post from website Gawker noted, "Just got laid off, now looking to get laid." It doesn't get more honest than that.

Craig's list and website personal postings are not the only way people are hooking up in this recession. Membership in online dating sites is steadily growing. eHarmony and have reported a steady increase in profits. Both sites experienced a 20 percent increase in registrations during 2008. memberships were 22 percent higher in December than during the same period last year. And eHarmony and reported especially high traffic on days when the stock market plummeted.

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