There’s a popular notion that during major blackouts or snow storms hospitals see a mini “baby boom” exactly nine months later. The common sense notion is when people don’t have power or they can’t drive anywhere ‘cause there’s too much fucking snow, they have to make their own fun, which invariable means sex1 (instead of say cribbage by candle light).

This notion gained prominence in the popular press after The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965. However, a 1970 study of the data revealed no unusual statistically significant spikes in births within the affected area during a period 9 months later (plus/minus a period of time that matches the distribution of typical human gestation). Since then a number of other studies following events like snow storms have also shown little up tick, including one that looked at the data following 9-11 (the study was prompted by amateur demographers who were urging maternity wards in NYC to prepare for a boom).

While this seems to run counter to common sense, one must remember people are fucking all the time, lights or no lights. Lots of people use contraceptives and lots of people don’t. Few people who use contraceptives suddenly throw them out the window during blackouts or snow storms. Those that do use contraceptives and are prompted to shag out of boredom, well, contraceptives are very effective. And despite what most men will have you believe, condoms don’t lose their effectiveness if the TV is off. (Took me a while to realize that.) And the portion that run out of plunkers and can’t get to the druggist won’t tip the scales in a significant way. The chances of conception on that single day are also against them. And of course lots of women are on the pill which pretty much covers them regardless of weather conditions or how messed up the power grid is for a couple days.

And of course this all assumes too that every couple that has been married for 3+ years would actually have sex if they were robbed of cable TV. Many, I’m sure, would probably break out the cribbage board and carry on avoiding sex (with their domestic partner).

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1 Sex is how babies come into the world.

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