Page last updated at 01:49 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Britons 'saving money with sex'

Couple under the duvet
Snuggling under the duvet could also save on those heating bills

As the credit crunch bites, Britons may be turning to sex as a cheap way to pass the time, a charity says.

A YouGov survey of 2,000 adults found sex was the most popular free activity, ahead of window shopping and gossiping.

The Scots were most amorous with 43% choosing sex over other pastimes, compared with 35% in South England.

Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, which published the survey, also welcomed recent figures showing an increase in condom sales.

Around one in 10 respondents to the survey, carried in November, said their favourite free activity was window shopping and 6% chose going to a museum as the cheapest way to pass the time.

But the sexes differed on their priorities, with women preferring to gossip with friends while men had sex firmly at the top of their list.

Safe sex

Publishing the results to coincide with World Aids Day, the Terrence Higgins Trust reminded people to practise safe sex and pointed out that a packet of condoms costs a fraction of the cost of a night out.

Rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are on the up so when you snuggle down with a partner, make sure you do it safely
Lisa Power, Terrence Higgins Trust

Lisa Power, head of policy, said: We're glad that people are finding ways of relieving some of their credit crunch woes, but if there's one thing it's worth forking out for, it's condoms.

"Alternatively you can get them free from family planning and sexual health clinics.

"Rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are on the up so when you snuggle down with a partner, make sure you do it safely."

Rebecca Findlay, from the Family Planning Association advised: "If anyone's having more sex at the moment whatever the reason, do think about your contraception, your condoms and any testing you might need for sexually transmitted infections.

"And you can get all of these for free on the NHS."



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