sex shopsA good thing about being unemployed during the recession is that it gives you a lot more time at home -- doing chores, cleaning the garage -- and having sex.

But being jobless and home all day -- whether cooking in the kitchen or cooking in the bedroom -- can lead to frustration with the job hunt that can lead to depression and ultimately migrate to the bed, said Debra Laino, a sex therapist and relationship counselor."Sex is generally free," so being out of work shouldn't interfere with it, but it often does, Laino told me in a telephone interview.

A recent unscientific survey by two men's magazines on the effects of the recession on sex lives found that women don't take losing a job as personally as men, and that women are having sex 17% more than the average man since the recession.

Stress can lessen sex drives, as well as lead to to depression and erectile dysfunction, said Laino, who agrees that men are more likely than women to put too much emphasis on their work and see it as a loss of masculinity to lose a job and be the household provider.

"The stress starts to hurt a relationship, and before you know it, they're not a team anymore," she said.

And, with less money to spend on dates, many couples are spending more time at home together, which can be a positive, she said.

There's much more to do than stay home and drink cheap wine and watch free porn on the Internet.

Here are some low-budget tips from Laino for being more intimate during a recession:

Do new things. It could be as simple as having a romantic dinner on the living room floor, picnic style, instead of at the kitchen table.

Explore. Try different sexual positions and ways of loving each other. Laino suggests having "Naked Sundays" where couples lounge around the house all day nude, doing everything from cooking and watching TV to touching each other as a way of bonding.

Buy some toys. For $30 some sex toys can spice up a relationship. A sex position dart game is $20, and a $15 naughty charade game with another couple can be inexpensive fun.

Body massages. For a few dollars for massage oils, giving a massage to your partner is a sure way to get them in the mood.

Candles. Another low-cost way to set the mood.

Talking. It's free and can get couples to reconnect.

One key thing to remember when job hunting is to limit it to certain times of the day and to always set aside time for your spouse, Laino suggested. The resumes will always be there. "Sometimes, it's just good to try to relax," she said.

Taking the focus off the outside world and realizing that physical pleasure is important will improve your life, she said.

"Sexual intimacy is not the sole purpose of a relationship," Laino said. "It's certainly important. Without it, relationships can break apart."

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