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EDITIONS
 Monday, 5 March, 2001, 08:58 GMT
Long hours harm sex lives
Tired man
Working a 48-hour week takes its toll on relationships
People who work long hours are too tired to do anything but sleep once they get to bed.

A survey carried out by the Institute of Personnel and Development found almost a third of people working more than 48 hours a week said that exhaustion was affecting their sex lives.

And their partners were even more concerned, with more than half saying their sexual relationship was suffering. They also complained that long hours led to arguments and tension at home.

Parisian couple kiss
Workers in France have more free time
Britain has one of the longest working weeks in Europe and many blame tiredness for mistakes at work, illness and family difficulties.

"While working long hours doesn't necessarily lead to marriage breakdown, it can put a strain on relationships with partners, children and friends," said Melissa Compton-Edwards, who conducted the survey.

"Long-suffering spouses and partners tend to tolerate the situation and try to curb their criticism of their absentee other half."

Two out of five people working more than 48 hours a week blamed long hours for arguments at home and said they felt guilty at not pulling their weight with domestic chores.

Mistakes

Nearly a third admitted that work-related tiredness was causing their sex life to suffer, and 14% reported a loss of or reduced sex drive.

As well as the effect on personal lives, long hours could also lead to costly mistakes at work, Ms Compton-Edwards warned.

More than a third of people who worked long hours said they had made mistakes in the past year.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 workers and their partners across the UK.

It found that middle-aged men with wives or co-habiting partners were those most likely to have problems.

But there is some good news for unattached British men - they are in demand by the women of a town in Italy.

Italian attraction

In San Valentino Torio, near Pompeii, women outnumber men two to one and the female population is urging their mayor to twin the town with a UK location to solve the problem.

Maria Buono from the town told the BBC: "I must admit Italian women do have reason to complain about their Latin men.

"Recently they've become a bit too shy, maybe also a bit too lazy. So why shouldn't we prefer an English man who is certainly more fun, kinder and has a British sense of humour?

"Also he has a different way of relating to women, less stubborn, less dependent - it's a more equal relationship."

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  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Rory Cellan Jones
"Over worked and over stretched"
See also:

19 Sep 00 | Health
05 Sep 00 | UK
13 Jul 00 | Business
02 Sep 99 | Health
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