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How Quarantine Changed Sex Life – For Better or For Worse?

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Photo by We-Vibe WOW Tech on Unsplash

The coronavirus crisis is a crisis no doubt. Wreaking havoc in all fields of life – from finance and economy to education, tourism, and our social lives. But there’s one more thing it has managed to alter, for better or for worse – yes, quarantine has changed our sex life too. 

Lockdowns and social distancing measures have proven to be an effective means for controlling the spread of the coronavirus and preventing the offset of the COVID-19 disease. 

But we cannot say it hasn’t taken its toll. I mean, after all, this crisis has lasted over 5 months now and nobody can tell for sure when it’s going to end. 

The mandatory, safe distance of 6-feet (or 2 meters) isn’t going to bring singles out there for some much-wanted action and distraction. The same goes for couples who are in a long-distance marriage or relationship. 

For the former, because the virus spreads primarily through close physical contact – saliva, respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, but also during breathing and talking. It’s really a bummer. And for LDR couples, it’s become much harder to travel and visit each other. 

It’s incremental to be extra careful these days… 

According to a small study made in China in May, there were reports of coronavirus being present in the semen of men who’ve been infected with the virus. Some of them were still sick, and some of them were recovering. The findings, however, were not conclusive as to whether the virus was still active and whether it could be transmitted through semen as well, but it’s definitely good to be cautious and informed. 

So, if you’re single and reading this, use a condom when you’re having sex. Coronavirus or not, you’ll also be protecting yourself from a number of other STDs out there. If you’re in a relationship and live with your wife/partner, and you have been infected with Covid19 – but have subsequently recovered – then it might also be a good idea to use condoms, just to be on the safe side, at least for the first few weeks/months after recovering. 

In any event, as time goes by, it’s going to be really hard to prevent people from re-establishing contacts with friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. We’re still in the grips of a pandemic, we are urged to stay home, but we also need to be taking care of our mental health too. 

Inform yourself through official sexual guidelines on sex during the COVID 19 pandemic

People, as the sexual beings they are, can’t really stay abstinent for too long. So it’s good to be informed about a couple of sex guidelines concerning the coronavirus crisis in order to protect yourself and the others around you as much as you can. I gave you a link from the Planned Parenthood guidelines on COVID 10 and your sexual health, but there are plenty of others you can find from the New York Department of Public Health or the National Coalition of STD Directors, for example.  

The general advice is that if you’re meeting someone outside your household, you should avoid kissing, oral, vaginal, and anal sex, and also possibly rimming, cause the virus might also be spread through feces (but it’s still inconclusive as to how much or whether it’s possible at all). 

Wear a mask and try to avoid touching one another, but rather resort to masturbation instead. Sounds kinda weird but we live in weird times, so… You can also use sex toys but be sure to wash them thoroughly afterward – and also yourself, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.  You can also try virtual dates, as well as phone or FaceTime sex. 

That’s for the singletons. For the married couples or ones in committed long-term relationships, it might sound like it’s a tad easier. The answer is both yes and no, so next, I’ll get into the details as to how this is and why it’s a bit more complicated than that. 

How Has Quarantine Changed the Sex Life of Couples? 

The coronavirus pandemic has also wreaked havoc on couples and sex partners who live together. 

Our sex lives can be quite precarious when confronted with outside issues – they’re a system of its own that’s kinda easily set off balance. 

And this pandemic has caused some major shifts in balance and posed a number of challenges to our daily lives which have affected our sex lives as well. 

The home environment has also lost its atmosphere of normality – our apartments/houses have now also become our offices, as well as educational facilities for our children. 

So parents are both teachers and workers, and they’re also lovers, all in the same space for months on end with no foreseeable change in the near future. Not to mention that some people have also lost their jobs. In the US alone, approximately 40 million people have lost their job because of the pandemic. If that’s not a recipe for stress, I don’t know what is. 

And while sex can be a great way to relieve stress, it’s also kinda hard to zone off and focus only on this highly pleasurable act in abnormal and emergency circumstances such as these. 

Some People Feel a Real Drop of Libido

Granted, stress can be a turn on for some people, but for others, it’s quite the opposite. Chronic stress can definitely be detrimental to your libido, it’s quite common and it’s been a subject of countless studies. 

And it’s not only a pandemic we’re facing; there’s also mounting social upheaval and uncertain state leadership. 

People are dealing with trauma on different levels – some may have lost a close family member or friend because of the virus; some are extra-empathetic to what’s been going around and feel it like it’s happening to them directly. 

It’s basically a whirlwind of negative emotions such as fear, worry, grief, anger, confusion, denial, etc. All of this can lead to mild or severe states of stress and anxiety, coupled with sleep issues such as sleep deprivation, insomnia, or excessive sleeping. 

You may also be facing changes in your appetite – overeating or undereating, or eating only junk food as a coping mechanism. Mood swings are also a frequent visitor in these instances. 

And imagine going through all of this with your partner, 24/7. Even if you’re best friends and loving companions… Even if you’re really good lovers – lockdown and quarantine can get the better of you. 

That’s why lockdown and other coronavirus prevention measures made couples face underlying issues in their relationship. It has resurfaced some old resentments and disagreements that we’ve oh so masterfully managed to sweep under the rug all these years. 

Personal space has been compromised

Being confined to one place for weeks and months on end is not always an easy experience. Most of us aren’t millionaires or movie stars, and our homes aren’t huge mansions we can parade in while barely feeling the effects of the stay-at-home measures. Our homes are small and compact, and our personal spaces truly limited.

And so, it’s not so surprising that there’s a certain degree of bickering, ensuing fights, irritation, and mounting frustration; and all of this reflects on your sex life, because you’re likely to be brought to the point where you feel emotionally distanced from one another. 

Or it could be vice versa – all the stress, arguments, mounting resentments and lack of personal space have made you emotionally distant, which has also subsequently affected your sex life as well. 

What Can You Do to Fix This? 

It’s not really about fixing it, per se, but learning to deal with the crisis as it is and adjusting to it in almost all (or all) aspects of your life. 

So when it comes to your sex life, you can try and do the following: 

  • Communicate with our partner more – tell them how you feel and try to think why you feel that way. 
  • Monitor your own feelings – this helps you understand your negative emotions in order to distance yourself from them. 
  • Establish boundaries – boundaries can be helpful for re-establishing intimacy because, in order to be good together, you also need to be a bit apart. Take time to pamper yourself, be with your own thoughts for a while, and do the things you like. 
  • Be responsive to your partner’s advances – this can sometimes ignite desire even if it’s not initially there  

You can find more about this in my in-depth article on the topic of love during lockdown. Here I mostly follow advice from the famous renowned psychotherapist, Esther Perel, where she gives crucial insight on how to still feel pleasure and sexual satisfaction, as well as stay intimate with your partner during times of crisis. 

But There Are Others Who Actually Feel Hornier 

Yeah, there’s always the other side of the coin. 

For some people, quarantine changed sex life for the better.

It’s true that, during this crisis, a lot of people actually got a lot of free time on their hands. 

People who got to keep their jobs, well, they definitely were the lucky ones among us. The same goes for people who still got their paycheck but weren’t really working during the months of lockdown.

Truth is, lots of couples out there were busting their asses off during pre-pandemic times and didn’t really have time for each other. Well, lockdown gave some of them a chance to reconnect and to rejuvenate their sexual energies. Fewer outside distractions and more free time with one another have turned out to be quite beneficial for some couples’ sex lives. 

Some people felt more relaxed, felt the pace of life slow down, and hence their own minds as well. This gave them a chance to let go for a little bit and actually make sex a priority, something they may not have had the chance to do for quite a while before the pandemic. 

And this extra time with their significant others doesn’t boil down to sex only. It’s a wider area of physical intimacy that they now have the chance to explore. 

This can mean foreplay, it can mean sexual experimentation and open-mindedness towards different types of sex play (more on this later). It can also mean working on any leftover intimacy or communication issues, and just generally spending quality time with one another watching films, playing video or board games, cooking together, etc. 

Some People Are Watching More Porn

Porn is a known retreat of the lonely, horny, AND bored. But, it can also be a refuge for the married and committed, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with being sexually dissatisfied in your relationship. 

PornHub, one of the biggest reservoirs of free internet porn, reported an increase in traffic since the pandemic started, stating that the “peak increase of 24.4% happened on March 25th after we offered Free Pornhub Premium to encourage people to say indoors and distance themselves socially.” Pornhub gave Premium access to users for a whole month to the satisfaction of many men and women worldwide, as we can see from the stats. 

Truth is, people watch porn for a number of reasons, pleasure being number one, no doubt. But there’s also boredom, anxiety, a bunch of other negative emotions, and loneliness, and because of both sexual satisfaction and dissatisfaction from their partners. They may also watch it as a result of experiencing some sort of sexual dysfunction and porn can be their only outlet for sex and overcoming sexual anxiety. 

All of these feelings and emotional states are a large by-product of this pandemic, so it’s no wonder that more people turn to watch porn as a fast and reliable outlet for pent up tension and boredom. Plus, we’re constantly online, so it’s much easier to just click once and have it all at your disposal.

Make sure that your porn habits don’t interfere with the desire you have for your partner 

So, more porn consumption can actually be a good thing when it keeps people safe and satisfied. 

But relationship tensions can arise when one of the partners starts to feel less desire for sex with their significant other. And some people see watching porn as a form of infidelity, which can only add to the trouble. Obviously, you will have to resolve this, pandemic or not, because porn is here to stay, again – pandemic or not. 

The solution is to communicate, even if you’re tired of seeing your partner’s face 24/7 and are constantly bumping into them throughout your home. 

Being More Open to Sexual Novelties 

The good side of quarantine sex is that it has made some people kinkier and more open to sexual novelty. It has made them more willing to explore the vast domain of sex acts you can have with your partner.  

And isn’t this just great? Something so confusing and at times really terrifying like a pandemic and lockdown managing to bring you to a state where you get to reinvent your sex life? 

Suddenly, sex has become a priority number one. And this involves almost everything that has to do with sex: 

  • Do you suddenly find yourself talking more openly about your sexual desires and needs? Or maybe you’re discussing some issues you’ve been having and now it’s the perfect time to bring them up? 
  • Did you finally bring out that long forsaken sex toy out of the cupboard and found its actual use? Or maybe finally fostered yourself to order one (or a bunch of them) online? 
  • Did you suddenly get the urge to indulge yourself in sexy time during the day, or joint porn watching, or maybe just a really relaxing masturbatory session under the shower, that lasted for half an hour? 
  • Maybe you went out and bought a CBD-infused lube or just opened up a really good bottle of wine? Went into the bedroom for a really rowdy sexual roleplay scenario? 
  • Did you also suddenly get the desire to get a bit kinky, even get into BDSM a little bit? Always wanted to try pegging, wax play, bondage, using floggers? Now is the time! 

People are buying more and more sex toys during the pandemic 

Perhaps it also won’t surprise you that worldwide sex toys online sales have also spiked during the pandemic. Some stores like Adam and Eve have reported a 30% increase in March and April compared to last year. And some have upped the number to 80% and even 200%, reports the NYTimes! 

According to an anonymous survey of 877 people (mostly from the US and Europe and a small percentage from Asia), made by Tracy’s Dog, a US company that sells sex toys, “62% said that they already own sex toys.” From the ones who didn’t have any, however, “57% planned to purchase them during the quarantine.” Also, 62% of the ones who already use sex toys  “relayed that they will use them more often.”

So, when everybody else is doing it, why not try it yourself as well? Why miss out on all the fun? 

Engaging in Virtual Sex 

For those of you out there who are in a long-distance relationship, virtual sex can be a lifesaver. 

Because it’s much harder to travel, and in some places even impossible right now, virtual, phone, or FaceTime sex can do you much good in these hard times. 

If you want to explore world of virtual sex a bit more, you might also want to check out sex-positive communities online. Some of them may just give you fresh new ideas for camera sex (just as I’ve hopefully done in this special article on FaceTime sex). Others may help you get into the world of online sex parties and digital orgies (yep, that’s a thing nowadays). All in all, with a safe and supportive online environment, and consent from your partner, you can have a lot of fun with virtual sex. 

Also, for single people, it’s a safer way to feel sexually satisfied rather than engaging in a real-life one night stand or another type of IRL sexual encounter. 

Word of precaution

While the world of virtual sex may be safer in terms of our physical health, it’s quite the opposite when it comes to our online presence. 

It’s true that with virtual sex, we’re exposing our most intimate parts and can be very vulnerable, even to strangers if you decide to engage in digital orgies or Zoom sex parties. So it’s very important to take precautionary measures and make sure your digital presence is as safe as possible. 

You can do this by using stronger and more complex passwords, by updating your devices, or by using an anonymous email where you won’t be using your real names. Opt for platforms that are encrypted and have a good reputation for cyber safety; also, if possible, try not to show your face and/or other characteristics of your body that may make you more easily identifiable. 

Final Thoughts on How Quarantine Has Changed Sex Life

This pandemic has affected all of us, and I mean ALL of us in some way. 

Whether it’s your job, your home life, your libido, your plans for the near and far future, or something else… there’s no escaping it. We’ve all got to cope somehow. Hence, our sex lives have to cope as well. 

I understand we’re all dealing with the toll of mental stress more or less. But it’s not going to be this way forever. As reported by the NYTimes, this kind of mental stress isn’t bound to last, which means it’s expected to subside as soon as the pandemic ends. And, eventually, it will end! 

By accepting our situation as it is, following the precaution measures for social distancing and protecting others, we’ll make each other’s lives easier. 

And our sex lives don’t need to suffer as a result, although they might get slightly or less slightly altered. By communicating with our partners, making space for ourselves even in our tiny homes, we can make our daily lives happier and more enjoyable. 

And, also, by taking time to explore our sex lives, and actually prioritizing sex for a change, we can make quarantine sex work too, for those of us who’ve lost our libido along the way. 

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