Will Climate Change Ruin Your Sex Life?

Global warming will cool sexual passion, says new study



"Not tonight, dear. It's too damned hot." That's a phrase lovers are likely to hear more frequently as the climate warms, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research study. The paper's authors—economists Alan Barreca of Tulane, Melanie Guldi of the University of Central Florida, and Olivier Deschenes of the University of California, Santa Barbara—looked for a causal link between heat and coital frequency using U.S seasonal and regional temperature and birth data. Their conclusion: If people are already hot and sweaty, they're less likely to want to get hot and sweaty.

The trio thus worries about global warming's effects on future fertility. If couples indulge in intercourse less frequently when it's hot, the researchers reason, then they are less likely to conceive and give birth. But before we consider whether that conclusion makes sense, let's take a look at their empirical evidence.

The study examines the seasonality of birth rates in four U.S. regions—the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, and the West. Using vital statistics data from 1931 through 2010, the researchers confirm the well-known fact that U.S. birth rates peak in August and September. From this it seems reasonable to conclude that couples enjoy more intimacy in the cooler months of November, December, and January. The authors also compile temperature and humidity data from 1931 through 2010 by county, against which they match subsequent birth rates by state.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers find that days above 80 degrees Fahrenheit do correlate with fewer subsequent births. Specifically, they report that "each additional >80°F day causes birth rates to fall by approximately 0.06% 8 months later, 0.39% 9 months later, and 0.21% 10 months later." This implies on average that from 1931 to 2010, enduring a day with temperatures greater than 80°F results in 1,165 fewer births across the whole United States than had temperatures been more moderate.

Not surprisingly, they find that the effect of >80° days is about double in "cold states" versus "hot states," suggesting those of us who dwell in balmier climes are less likely to forego romance just because it's a bit warm.

The researchers do also detect a rebound effect in which births increase in the months after an >80°F temperature shock. In other words, coital frequency apparently increases once temperatures drop. The rebound in births, however, is only half of what the average would have been if temperatures had been sustained at a lower level. Their analysis suggests that 30 additional days at 85°F and above would result in a 12 percent decline in births.

The authors acknowledge that beginning in the 1970s, the correlation between temperature and subsequent births weakens somewhat. "In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, exposure to one additional >80°F day consistently causes a 0.6 percent reduction in the birth rate 9 months later," the researchers report. They find that by the 2000s that one additional >80°F causes birth rates 9 months later to decline by only 0.2 percent. What happened? Simple: Since the 1960s, the percentage of U.S. households with air conditioning rose from 21 percent to about 87 percent today. Apparently, manufactured cool air is a turn-on.

So what is the future of intimacy and fertility in a warming world? The authors cite climate models that project that the number of >80°F days per year in the U.S. will increase about 64 days from a baseline of 31 days now. Most of the additional >80°F days will occur in May and September, although June, July, and August will supposedly each experience 10 more >80°F days by 2100. Recognizing the inherent uncertainties in such long-term projections, the researchers make a back-of-the-envelope estimate using an econometric model that takes post-1970s (that is, post–air conditioning) data into account. They calculate that as a result of higher temperatures due to climate change, annual U.S. births will decline by 2.6 percent, or about 107,000 fewer births per year than there would have otherwise been. Because it will be just too hot to snuggle, they also reckon that the proportion of births will increase by 4 percent during the August peak relative to the April trough.

As amusing as it is to contemplate the effect of warmer temperatures on future sexual activity, the researchers recognize that technological innovation could make their projections moot. "Providing low-cost access to air-conditioning may be an effective tool for mitigating the fertility costs of climate change throughout the world," they note. But that concession is way too limited.

By the end of this century, technology will have radically reshaped the terrain of human sexuality and fertility. Extensions and elaborations of virtual pornography, teledildonics, sexbots, and sexual neuroenhancers will change how people experience and enjoy sex. Similarly, people will gain ever more control over their fertility, up to and including the use of artificial wombs. Whatever minor effects climate change might have on making love and making babies, they will be overwhelmed by technological enhancements in the service the ceaseless human quest for healthy children and healthy orgasms. At the end of this century, lovers will still likely croon, "Baby, it's hot outside, but not as hot as you."

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  1. That study has got to be a joke. Ya maybe interest in coitus is affected by heat, but only just barely. The authors maybe should look at places in the world with warmer climates. I think they’ll find that hot and sweaty sex is pretty normal in places like India, Nigeria, Indonesia, ect. Places not exactly known for low birth rates.

    1. Not only that, but in summer your more likely to be out and about more often.

      Winter darkness drives people indoors and under the covers.

    2. From this it seems reasonable to conclude that couples enjoy more intimacy in the cooler months of November, December, and January.

      It might seem reasonable, but it’s hardly scientific, especially the idea that the ‘cooler’ part isthe significant part. Right off the top of my head, I can think of an alternative reason – Thanksgiving and Christmas when you’re at home for the holidays with your family and getting the warm fuzzies about how wonderful the family is as opposed to say early August when the little rugrats have been home all summer driving you batshit and having you thinking seriously about lobbying for 40th trimester abortion rights.

      1. I thunk the same thought.

    3. Yeah, this explains those low birth rates in India and the Sudan. Oh, wait….

    4. Thousands or millions just like you, losing dick as we speak.

  2. Apparently they’re unfamiliar with air conditioning, which has already had an effect according to their numbers. But this is another sign of desperation by the global warming aka climate change aka climate disruption cultists (who somehow can never bring themselves to be aware of the pause in warming since the 1990s).

    1. File this under Motivated Junk Science in the Pursuit of Grant Money

  3. How about this one.

    Hundreds of millions of Americans will suffer psychological distress due to AGW.…..l_3_23.pdf

    To begin with, the incidences of mental and social disorders will rise steeply.
    These will include depressive and anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, suicides, and widespread outbreaks of violence.
    Children, the poor, the elderly, and those with existing mental health disorders are especially vulnerable and will be hardest hit. At roughly 150 million people, these groups represent about one half of the American public.

    1. Well, we already know that warmer temperatures tend to exacerbate aggressiveness and irritate temperaments. So maybe this isn’t too much of a stretch. But again, air conditioning!

      1. I think they are ignoring the psychological distress of a war on AGW.

        For example: My old man can’t abide living in town, let alone a big city. In 17 years of living in the suburbs he came to visit my place only seven times despite it only being five hours away by car because as far as he was concerned even the suburbs were too crowded.

        I can’t stand big cities either which is why I lived in the suburbs, and now moved to a small farming town in the middle of nowhere.

        Since teeny tiny apartments in big cities where people can’t realistically own cars need much less energy to operate than single family homes there will be substantial financial pressure (taxes) imposed on people who don’t get with the program and move into the megalopolises where people like us would be utterly miserable.

      2. Meh, people in cold sunless places tend to be less happy than people in warm sunny climes. Compare the suicide rate in AZ versus Alaska in the winter.

  4. We crossed the streams of ENB’s and Ron Bailey’s bailiwicks.

  5. * Hushed conversation with my right hand.

    Sigh of relief. No worries for me.

  6. Too hot where there is no air conditioning, right?

  7. This study only looks at birth rate so it ignores all the gays.

    We all know that our kids are being turned into homo’s (thanks Obama) so they are having non-baby making gay sex instead.

  8. If higher temperatures will lead to lower global population, will lefties start to advocate for AGW?

    1. Not just lower population, rape and patriarchy in general should/will dissolve.

      Not only will we save on CO2 due to slower population growth, but all the CO2 burned on late night cross-town bootie calls and imported underage Russian brides will stay in the ground as well.

    2. AGW activists don’t like negativity. That’s why only positive feedback is considered when it comes to global warming, thereby also strengthening the arguments for the desired outcome. Think of it as a convergence of climate “science” and critical theory.

  9. Hmmmm. Whats the birth rate in Brazil, Africa, and India?

  10. Hey, that’s great news! Now I can keep driving my Hummer, and people’s hatred of sweaty sex will reduce the number of future Hummer drivers, bringing that temperature right back down without me lifting a finger!

    1. Dynamic equilibrium — so no problem after all. Even Ron Bailey can probably see that, though I doubt the people who did the study would be able to do so.

  11. Social “science”……hahahahahahahhaahhaahhha.

  12. These halfwits deserve ceaseless mocking, though in the big picture of progidiocy this is small potatoes.

  13. Cannabis works better than boner pills.

    Best of all? You will stop worrying about climate change.

  14. It’s a damn shame that no one is having sex in India. The country is practically empty.

  15. Global warming will cool sexual passion, says new study

    Oh, my Gawd! I am convinced! This is VERY SERIOUS!

    Things are all clear now. We must impose total global socialism just like Tony the Marxian and the Jackass have been prescribing so that we can all fuck each other with passion!

    Quick, Robin! To the Bat-mobile!


    1. Don’t forget sexual socialism so everyone can diddle everyone regardless of class affiliations! That’s bonerific, comrades!

  16. By the end of this century, technology will have radically reshaped the terrain of human sexuality and fertility. Extensions and elaborations of virtual pornography, teledildonics, sexbots, and sexual neuroenhancers will change how people experience and enjoy sex.

    Yes, but remember that with increased AGW people will be fucking robots with less passion and not more.

    I am feeling sorry for the robots already…

  17. Global warming is going to make us all crazy and celibate, mmkay. I wish Canada’s dreamy new pm would, instead of selling our economy down the river at the Paris climate meet and greet, Invite all those leeches to Saskatchewan for a climate meeting… in January… before they fucking scold me about CO2. I won’t be here though I’ll on vacay in the tropics, crazy fucking my wife…

  18. Jokes on you, Climate Change. I already ruined my own sex life by being an awkward weirdo.

    Throw another pile of fossil fuels on the fire for all I care!

    1. I always suggest a few years in an outlaw MC gang. It cured me.

  19. Aside from the goofy premise of the study–namely that we care about hookups on the margin or that people in hot climes just don’t get enough–it runs counter to the ZPG neo-Malthusian movement, who would view less sex & procreation as a benefit of global warming.

    The study does go a long way toward explaining the popularity of romantic Christmas vacations to continental Canada, though. I am so very glad that we have a caste of professional “economists” who devote their lives to important studies like this one.

  20. What’s next? Are “climate scientists” going to tell us that shrinkage is caused by warm rather than cold water?

    1. -3 inches. “I WAS IN THE POOL!”

  21. This needs a trigger warning.

    What is that man doing to that woman?

    Has he asked her for permission to do what he is doing and /or planning to do?

  22. Global warming, climate change or what ever the politically correct term you want to call it this month didn’t or doesn’t have near the negative effect on mysex life as old age is having. But even now I believe I’d be able to overcome all that if I was still screwing 20 year old women.

    1. Cannabis helps. Especially with 20 yo women.

  23. It is quite a while since I have looked at the birth statistics but I am pretty sure that Southern Hemisphere nations such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had higher birth rates in the spring which is from September on and European nations had higher birth rates in their spring from March onwards. There is a possible biological evolutionary explanation with generally greater resources available in the spring and onwards. The US seems to be an outlier compared to the demographics of other comparable nations.

    Another possible explanation from an Australian context which may apply in the US is there has traditionally been a greater consumption of alcohol and socialising around the Christmas new year period with consequent effects nine months later.


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  27. “Will Climate Change Ruin Your Sex Life?”


    “The authors acknowledge that beginning in the 1970s, the correlation between temperature and subsequent births weakens somewhat.”

    There is no correlation; this is another bullshit study – a fine example of most “scientific” research is complete crap.…..fantastic/…..d-is-junk/

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