Nielsen reports that sales of condoms were up 5% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. January saw an increase of 6%. With that increase, condoms join cheap vodka as one of the few products that's seeing an upswing as consumers cut back.

Why are condom sales on the rise? Jim Daniels, vice president of marketing for Trojan, tells the USA Today that "If people don't have the money to go out to a fancy dinner or are looking to cut back, Trojan gives them some real affordable ways to stay in and make some great memories together."

Also possible: Cash-strapped couples are cutting down on efforts to get pregnant. Recessions also tend to increase marital stress and divorce rates. If extra-marital sex is on the rise, that would also explain the increase in demand for condoms. America's bankers were dumb enough to destroy the economy but perhaps they are smart enough to at least strap on a condom when they cheat on their wives (which would make them smarter than Eliot Spitzer).

Whatever the reason for the increase in condom use, it's better that people use them than not. Luckily they're affordable enough not to be an expense that people cut. But if you're having trouble affording condoms, you can fill out this form to receive a free rubber from Trojan. Watch the video below for more commentary on the recession's effect on sex.

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