- COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in sexual activity.
- Pandemic-related relationship problems have led to lower desire in some couples.
- During lockdowns, many people took their sexuality to the online world.
- For some couples, fear of pregnancy became a major sexual block.
- Some men may experience psychological erectile dysfunction caused by pandemic stress and anxiety.
- Not all the changes are bad. 1 in 5 people began experimenting more in the bedroom during the pandemic.
Sex in the time of COVID has made regular headlines. How has this time of insecurity, lockdowns, and social distancing changed our relationships? And how can we deal with the challenges of pandemic sexuality?
We’re Having Less Sex
If the pandemic has put a damper on your sex life, don’t beat yourself up; you’re one of many. Sex researchers from the Kinsey Institute conducted an anonymous survey in the early days of the pandemic that revealed a significant decline in partner sex and masturbation.
It makes sense that many singles have been afraid to make new “in-real-life” (IRL) contacts. But what about couples whose relationships have suffered?
It turns out that there’s no single answer as to why even couples sharing a roof are having less sex. Here are a few factors that play into the problem:
Many couples don’t understand why one or both libidos dropped during the pandemic. Taking a closer look at your relationship might give you some answers. Sexuality doesn’t exist in a void; when tension builds, desire wanes.
And being locked down together for months causes tension. Situations where one or both partners are juggling remote work with childcare and remote schooling have caused severe stress and anxiety for many couples.
Yet, for intimacy to thrive, we need to feel relaxed and secure. No wonder we’re losing interest in sex!
Stronger Fear of Pregnancy
Worrying about unplanned pregnancy can destroy sexual pleasure. With the rise of COVID-19, those fears have become even more pronounced.
Getting COVID-19 while pregnant increases the risks of COVID and of a bad pregnancy outcome. Women are more likely to need an emergency C-section and even have a stillbirth. It’s no surprise that many women delay their baby plans and associate sex with fear of pregnancy.
Increases in Erectile Dysfunction
To make things worse, even men who did not get sick may deal with ED. High levels of stress and anxiety — like those suffered by many men during the pandemic — are known to cause problems in the bedroom.
Getting Your Love Life Back on Track
“When times are tough, eroticism is what inspires us to survive — and even to thrive — despite all odds.” – Esther Perel, couples therapist
If you’re in a relationship, going back to good sex means rebuilding erotic tension and intimacy. Here are some steps you can take to help you feel like lovers again:
Dress the Part
Pay attention to what you wear at home. Ditch the worn yoga pants and stained shirts. Buy some loungewear that looks and feels sensual.
Revive the Kiss
Remember kissing? Go ahead and try. It’s fun! Kissing gets forgotten by long-term couples. Doing it during the day can help you warm up for a sexy get-together in the evening.
Going back to sex can be challenging. Put it into your calendar. Remember that planning for sex doesn’t equal the obligation to have intercourse. A sensual massage or watching an adult film together also counts.
Rethink Your Birth Control
If you are part of a couple with a heightened fear of pregnancy, consider changing your birth control.
The Pill and hormonal IUDs are over 99% effective against pregnancy. If those contraceptive methods don’t work for your partner, consider using two birth control methods at once for added protection.
If you rely on condoms or a diaphragm, learn the basics of fertility awareness and avoid intercourse on your partner’s most fertile days.
Try a Night of Erotica
While the media often portray adult films as a threat, couples and singles can benefit from watching erotic materials, in the pandemic and beyond. Here’s how to use porn wisely:
- Alternate between porn and other ways to get aroused. Don’t rely on videos to get hard and achieve orgasm. Even if you’re single, you can use your own imagination or focus on pleasurable sensations during masturbation.
- Be honest about it. If you’re living with someone, have a conversation about erotic content. No need to make it a secret, but if you enjoy watching films on your own, tell your partner that you need some me-time. Balance your alone sessions with a sensual movie night for the two of you.
- Choose the right film. Women often complain that porn films are full of violence and unromantic sex. Do your research and find films that your partner will like.
Deal with ED
If you or your partner struggle with ED, there’s no good reason not to address it — and plenty of good reasons to seek help!
Here’s how to do it:
- Talk to a doctor. You can use eDrugstore’s free online consultation with a physician to understand the causes of your erectile dysfunction and get a prescription for ED medication, such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and others.
- Manage stress. Learn stress-reduction techniques. Consider seeing a psychotherapist to treat your anxiety and regain confidence.
- Talk about it. If you have a partner, talk to her or him. Don’t keep it inside. Silence only leads to problems in bed and in your relationship.
It’s Not All Bad
Not all changes caused by the pandemic have been negative. Some people got more creative and started experimenting with sex. According to the Kinsey Institute research mentioned earlier, approximately 1 in 5 respondents added at least one new practice to their bedroom routines during lockdown.
Here are some of the ideas that came up in the survey. Get inspired and try one of them or add something new!
- New sexual positions
- Sexting — sending sensual messages, images and videos
- Watching pornography
- Acting on fantasies
eDrugstore is Here for You
If you or your partner are struggling with struggling with erectile dysfunction or relationship and intimacy issues, eDrugstore can help. Check out our medication guide or follow the eDrugstore blog for more information about sexual health and other men’s health issues.
Anka Grzywacz is a sexologist, reproductive health expert and Certified Sex Coach™. In her online practice she helps busy women and couples solve their intimate problems.