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Snuggling wins over blankets in winter

WASHINGTON - This winter has brought everyday life to a halt for people from Boston to Austin, but freezing temperatures are still a good excuse for many Americans to cuddle, according to a new poll.

Given the choice between grabbing an extra blanket or cozying up with someone special, most people choose snuggling over a Snuggie, an Associated Press-Weather Underground poll finds.

Snuggling may be an effort to counterbalance the negative impact most say winter has on their mood. Four in 10 say the weather alters their attitude, with nearly three-quarters saying winter gives them a case of the blues.

And some folks take things a whole lot further: 15 percent of Americans who were cooped up by the weather reported having more sex than usual. (Two-thirds reported no romantic uptick while trapped inside, and 15 percent reported having less sex than usual.)

These tidbits and more about the weather and romance come courtesy of the AP-Weather Underground poll conducted Jan. 21-26, wrapping up just as yet another snowstorm was gearing up to clobber the Northeast.

Michael Loughnane, 58, of Fort Thomas, Ky., is among those who say their love life has been known to pick up when it's cold outside. He was among just 8 percent of Americans who reported that winter weather left them feeling sexy. (Summer was the season most often selected.)

Loughnane said there are certain advantages to being bundled up when it's cold: Some people just don't look that great in shorts, after all. As for the details of his wintertime sex life: "I'll leave it to your imagination," he said.

The poll found that spring gets the most frequent nod as the best time to fall in love. But it turns out that winter is getting a bad rap: Among those in committed relationships but not married, 29 percent said they began dating in winter.