Has the currently social distancing situation fired up your sex drive or maybe it acted like an unwelcome and very unpleasant cold shower? If so, then be assured you are absolutely not alone. As Amy explains in this piece experiencing low libido is a completely normal reaction to this challenging time.
I’m a sex blogger, and Coronavirus has made me not want to have sex.
All the discourse floating around on social media right now about people who are masturbating several times a day while working from home and couples who are having sex marathons feels completely alien to me. Yes, technically we might have more time now that my partner and I are both working from home full time. But I’m scared, I’m sad, and I’m stressed the fuck out. None of that is conducive to sexy times. I think I’ve masturbated twice in the last three weeks (normal for me is 5-7 times a week) and one of those occasions was because I had a toy to test for a client rather than because I was actually horny. So yes. I’m working (and everything else) from home, I’m isolating with my partner, and I don’t feel like having sex.
Obviously, I expect this to change at some point. Even in the deepest of depressions, my libido eventually finds its way back. But I wanted to offer this honest, real perspective to anyone out there who is worried there’s something wrong with them if they’re at home with a partner and their libido has taken a holiday (let’s be real, it’s the only part of us likely to be taking a holiday any time soon.) If this is you, there’s nothing wrong with you. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. Things are terrifying out there. If you just can’t with sex right now, that’s completely normal and understandable. (If your libido is the same as usual or higher, that’s normal and fine too – we all respond to scary and traumatic situations in our own way. Allow yourself to be where you are.)
But whatever your relationship to sexuality right now, let’s talk about some practical ways couples isolating together can keep their relationship alive during this strange time.
Meet yourself – and your partner – where you’re at
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be a particular level of sexual or not sexual right now. Acknowledge where you’re at, and listen to that. Your body is wise and knows what you need.
Likewise, acknowledge and validate where your partner is at. If you’re in different places (for example, one feeling very sexual while the other isn’t feeling it) that’s going to be challenging. Practice active listening and extend compassion, empathy, and understanding to both your partner and yourself.
Set aside time to be together
It’s easy, when you’re both at home all the time, to neglect making quality time for one another. But “we’re both going about our lives in the same house” time is not the same as “quality time.” So make sure you still put time aside for each other. This doesn’t have to involve sex (and it shouldn’t unless you both actively want it to!) If you’re tired, it could be as simple as just snuggling on the sofa and watching a movie. If you have a bit more energy, how about trying a new recipe together, playing a board game, or taking on online class in something you’re both interested in? My partner and I are making the most of the extra time we’ve got in the evenings thanks to my lack of commute, and are having some cooking adventures. Or, sure, fuck each other’s brains out or have an elaborate kink scene if that’s what feels good to you both! What matters isn’t the activity, it’s the quality time. So switch your phones off, clock off from work for the day, and focus on each other for a few hours.
Focus on touch without the goal necessarily being sex
Touch from someone you love is immensely comforting, whether you’re in the mood for sex or not. So focus on touch without making it goal-oriented. Make time to cuddle, remember to kiss each other often, and try things like back rubs. (Obviously this assumes neither of you is suffering from virus symptoms or thinks you have been exposed! Please be safe!) And if one of you is feeling sexual and the other isn’t, but is happy to engage in a lower key way, don’t forget that you can hold, kiss and touch your partner while they masturbate without your own genitals needing to get involved. Speaking of which…
Try different ways to have sex
Sex isn’t one thing – sex is a myriad of things! Not feeling penetrative sex? Try playing with hand sex or oral sex instead. Or you could buy a new sex toy (or try experimenting with different ways to use the ones you already have,) or try some kink or roleplay, or have sex in a new position. The possibilities are endless. But variety is what keeps things exciting, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Consume some new sexy media
If you’re stuck at home and wanting to keep things fresh in your sex life, why nor try some new sexy media? You could subscribe to a feminist porn site, buy some clips from a performer you like (#PayForYourPorn!), or try reading erotic stories either by yourself or out loud to your partner. Finding things you enjoy will help get you both in a sexier headspace, maybe teach you something about yourselves, and perhaps even give you some ideas to experiment with!
Give each other space
This may be easier or more difficult depending on the space and set-up of your home, but if you possibly can give each other space then please remember to do so. However much you love each other, being cooped up together 24/7 is not natural or desirable for most couples.
Take time to be in separate rooms, work on your own hobbies, talk to your friends and family on the phone or Skype, and watch the shows your partner can’t stand. Alone time is healthy and important, and it’s okay to take space from each other even when you’re in the same house. Your relationship will be better for it.
Most importantly: keep communicating
It’s a cliché to say that communication is the key to healthy relationships and sex, but it’s also true. So keep communicating with your partner. Check in often, pay attention to each others’ verbal and non-verbal cues, and make use of your absolute best communication skills. Communication – along with compassion, empathy and patience – is what will get you through this with your mental health and relationship more or less intact.
Are you isolating with a partner? Are you having more sex, less sex, or about the same amount? We’d love to know how you’re coping with this weird new reality.