Money appears to be occupying more mindspace compared to sex, and also affects how often they want to be intimate, says a survey of Americans conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Yodlee, the platform for financial innovation.

Conducted in December 2013, the results of the survey assume significance on the eve of Valentine’s Day, when people across the world celebrate romance and affection. The survey reveals how money worries appear to be dominating Americans’ sexual mentality as well as their drive.

In a telling observation, about 145.5 million Americans, nearly two-thirds of the population above the age of 18, thinks about money more often than sex. Also, over a quarter of Americans currently in a relationship reported that money was an unwelcome intruder between the sheets – it adversely affected how often they wanted to get physical with their partners.

It’s not about the family income

Significantly, the survey found that, counter to logic, higher income groups were afflicted by depressed libidos to the same degree as lower income groups, or those who had financial issues in their lives. Slightly over a quarter (26%) of respondents in each of the annual income bands of $50,000-$74,900 and those above $100,000 reported flagging sexual drive due to financial worries.

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On the other hand, only 19% had this problem in the $75,000-$99,900 band.

The younger set suffered more

The study also found that sexual issues due to money were severe in younger age groups but decreased with age.


Sex not on women’s minds

Its long been known that women’s brains play an important role in their sexuality compared to their sexual organs – a reason Pfizer called off their female version of Viagra. After eight years of testing on 3,000 women, the company found that women did not feel increased arousal after the administration of Viagra because their brain, not the pelvis area, was the crucial sexual organ.

Unfortunately, Yodlee’s survey reports that 77% of women are thinking about money more often than sex, compared to only 46% in men. This difference is not reported, however, in sexual drive, with both sexes responding roughly the same percentage – 27% as affected due to finances.


Money taking center-stage in divorce, too

In fact, the increasingly adverse effects of money on couples were echoed in another study conducted on Canadian couples by the Bank of Montreal, which found that 68% of those surveyed said disagreements over financial issues would be the biggest cause for divorce, followed by infidelity (60%) and disagreements about family (36%). In other words, a Canadian couple would prioritize money issues over infidelity.

Take financial stress out, let romance in

“Open communication about money is a vital part of any romantic relationship, but discussing finances is often stigmatized in American culture,” said Caroline McNally, Vice President of Marketing at Yodlee. “This survey shows just how severely financial stress is affecting Americans’ relationships, and underscores the need for easy, intuitive tools and services that take the stress out of everyday financial tasks like budgeting, payments and talking about money.”