For feature in Verve entitled, Why women must say yes in the bedroom, The Star. zenaide, couple, relationship, sex, bed, sleep,

London - If you are hoping to rekindle the flames of passion on Valentine’s Day, it may be a struggle.

Stress and tiredness caused by the recession – combined with boring SOS (Same Old Sex) – has put a dampener on our love lives, research has revealed.

More than a quarter of people surveyed said they were making love less than they were a year ago, with women citing tiredness and men blaming their lack of libido on money worries.

And with many people working longer hours and juggling jobs and childcare, sex was no longer a priority, according to researcher Linda Kelsey. She said: “Once the hormonal fireworks of initial attraction have quietened down in a relationship, the warm-up and cool-down of sex become even more important, but these are the things that fall by the wayside when all the other responsibilities of domestic and working life kick in.”

The survey of more than 1,000 people, commissioned by Good Housekeeping magazine, showed couples aged 35 to 64 are the most likely to have had less sex this year than last.

A quarter of men surveyed said their partner had lost interest in the past year, compared to 15 percent of women. But 91 percent of men and 92 percent of women surveyed were still attracted to their partner, suggesting the reduction in sexual activity is linked to outside pressures.

Relate counsellor Paula Hall said it was not surprising that financial worries were the main cause of men’s lack of interest in sex, adding: “When we are stressed our bodies produced stress hormones which can affect libido very negatively.”

Hall said there were several reasons why women were twice as likely as men to be too tired for sex. She added: “It doesn’t necessarily mean that women are more tired than men, but environmental factors like tiredness and mood have more effect on women’s sex drive.

“Men have up to 40 times more testosterone than women, which gives them a much more urgent sex drive which carries them through physical tiredness.

“Women do also tend to get less sleep than men.”

Hall said forgetting money worries was difficult, but it was important to leave financial problems outside the bedroom door.

“Make time to switch off, relax and put things in perspective. And most of all, focus on the fact that sex is free.” - Daily Mail