If your sex life has taken a hit in recent months, you’re certainly not alone.
Whether lockdown has meant you’ve been unable to see, or meet, new sexual partners or you’ve simply been spending a little too much time with your other half, it’s hard to deny coronavirus has impacted our bedroom antics.
Toss in the worry of living through a global pandemic and it’s no wonder our libidos are MIA right now.
A recent survey by sexual wellness brand Lovehoney found that overall sexual activity has declined by 30% – down from a pre-lockdown average of 2.7 times a week to 1.9 times a week.
The main culprit? Stress and anxiety.
“Stress has a huge impact on libido and it is difficult to imagine a more stressful situation than a global pandemic,” explains Annabelle Knight, sex and relationship expert at Lovehoney.
“Particularly in the first few weeks of the crisis, it was difficult to focus on anything else and sex would have declined for a lot of couples.”
But there are other reasons our libidos have tanked during lockdown including being forced to spend more time together, changing routines and also the knock impact of having children at home all the time.
“Couples may have had difficulty finding time to enjoy intimacy with so many of us being confined to our homes for such a long period,” Knight continues.
“Almost four out of 10 couples (38%) said they were making love more quietly because of the presence of other people in their homes, including children in many cases.
“Over-familiarity can also impact on libido,” she adds. “When you are spending 24/7 with a loved one, you can get into bad habits and take each other for granted.
“It can be difficult at times to change gear and put more of a focus on intimacy when you are stuck at home together, possibly still trying to work from home and home school your kids at the same time.
“Couples are juggling multiple plates at the same time and sex can fall by the wayside.”
There’s also the chance you’ve got out of the habit of having sex, which could lead to you wanting less sex.
Our hormones mean the more sex you have, the more sex you want to have, so it follows that the less sex we’re having, the less sex we’re wanting to have.
Knight says that many couples will also have spent the night together for the first time in the last week following the rule changes.
Some will be feeling somewhat 'rusty' and it may take time to re-establish the levels of intimacy they enjoyed together before lockdown started
“It is perfectly normal to feel a little rusty sexually after so long apart. Stress clearly impacts on libido and the Covid-crisis has been stressful for all of us,” she says.
But a lower libido doesn’t have to be a permanent bedroom fixture, there are ways to reconnect and rediscover your sex mojo.
Switch your sex mindset
Try to remember how you felt when you first started dating. “Imagine those early milestones in the relationship,” Knight suggests.
“The first time you saw them, the first kiss and the first time you had sex. Cherish those memories and try to recreate the excitement you both felt.”
The power of kissing
According to Knight a lot of couples underestimate the importance of kissing, but she argues a good kiss can be the perfect way to establish intimacy, and is arguably the most important act of foreplay.
“Because kissing usually kicks off any sexual activity, knowing how to kiss well can set the tone for the whole evening,” she says. “Whether it’s lots of tongue, no tongue, nibbling, light pecks or deep, romantic kisses, knowing what your partner enjoys is key to kicking things off right.”
Up the effort
This could be anything from ordering some sexy new lingerie, to making sure there is some champagne on ice. “Anything that acknowledges that the reunion marks it out as a major moment and not just another date,” Knight explains.
Add an element of surprise
By playing a little sex game. Knight suggests you both write down five sex suggestions/fantasies which can be carried out safely and legally and put them in a jar. “Take it in turns to take out one of the notes and live it out for real,” she adds.
Try a raunchy read
Erotic literature is a great way to get you both in the mood, suggests Knight. “Read it together and return to your favourite passages,” she says. “Even better, re-enact what you have just enjoyed in the book in the bedroom even dressing up as your favourite characters.”
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Because foreplay isn't just an appetiser. “The problem with the term ‘foreplay’ is that it suggests an act you would indulge in before the real sex begins,” says Knight. “But for many people, foreplay IS real sex, so don’t cut it short. The pleasure is in the journey after all.”
Introduce a sex toy
Knight says the use of a sex toy can increase the chance of orgasm, particularly for women. “Try a vibrating love ring, which is worn during intercourse,” she suggests. “The stretchy silicone rings keep him harder for longer, as the textured clitoral stimulator and intense vibrations unleash a whole new league of shared pleasure.
“You could also introduce a bullet vibrator during intercourse so she can have some added stimulus during penetration,” she adds.
Up the intimacy
“This is all about re-connecting, so any position that allows you to focus on your partner’s face is an opportunity for more intimacy,” Knight explains. “Woman-on-top is ideal for super-connected love-making. After you have done as much eye-gazing as you like, you can fall on top of your partner for maximum skin-on-skin contact.”