The stats are in and the decline in sex among singles during the COVID-19 pandemic is understandable, considering that there is a deadly virus rampant which can be transmitted just by sitting beside your date for a tea and a chat, but the decline in sex among couples staying home is somewhat baffling.
Singles are well advised against getting physically close with people who they don’t know and trust well enough to be sure that they are virus-free, unless they’ve decided to take the risk of infecting each other. Even a good friend who seems perfectly healthy may unknowingly be carrying the virus. In one study, 30% of transmissions were by asymptomatic people who were unaware that they were infected. On the bright side though, with a little imagination and adjustments to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are plenty of sexy ideas for intimacy during the pandemic, even for singles.
Couples who are already living together probably won’t reduce their risk of infection any further by abstaining from sexual activity, if they are already sharing the same food and bedclothes, breathing the same air in a closed space and touching the same surfaces. Surprisingly though, a Kinsey study of people’s sex lives since the COVID-19 pandemic showed that very few people are taking the opportunity to enhance their bedroom activities, despite having loads of time for it. And why is this a problem?……
Is less sex really a bad thing?
Cutting back on sexual activity means missing out on the higher quality of life and health benefits of sex. Better heart health is one of the perks. Perhaps a more serious concern is that sexless partnerships often lead to cheating, followed by divorce.
Intimacy is the glue that holds relationships together and it is more than just sex. Breaking down the word INTIMACY, it sounds like IN TO ME SEE, and it suggests what happens when people connect more deeply.
Indeed, for many people, the fear of showing who they REALLY are prohibits real intimacy. But if they are brave enough, there are many fun ways to get to know and enjoy your partner more intimately besides having (penetrative) sex. In fact, sex may be regarded as the icing on the cake, in a deep, fulfilling and happy relationship. Other forms of intimacy like cuddling, talking, laughing, expressing feelings with eye contact and touch have many benefits, and it could lead to more sexual intercourse. Sex without emotional intimacy or ‘just eating the icing’ may be regular or occasional choice for people who are single or cheating on their partner, but most people like to have the icing and the cake together.
Statistics show that many couples are already on their way to divorce.
The standard package might be preferable for couples, in the long-term, unless they’ve agreed on another arrangement. Intimacy with someone other than a spouse, and the absence of honest communication between partners are the top reasons that half of marriages end in divorce.
Statistics show that many couples are already on their way to divorce. The bottom line is that some sort of remedy for dwindling sex lives during the COVID-19 pandemic could boost health and wellbeing and possibly save marriages. To that end, lets look the why staying at home hasn’t been very sexy.
STRESS isn’t sexy
The pandemic has contributed to fears, worry and uncertainty about the future. Add to this greater responsibilities of keeping up with precautions for preventing virus transmission, taking care of children and partners at home, learning how to homeschool and working online. All of this creates a feeling of home being in a prison rather than a peaceful, loving abode to share with a partner. In this stressful scenario, the greater the time spent together, the more likely that sensitivities will be triggered and negative emotions such as frustration, anger, fear and sadness will run high, putting a damper on any sexual desires. If the couples don’t have good habits of handling these intense situations, it could lead to ongoing and worsening trouble at home.
In many homes, the difficulties had already started prior to March 2020.
Truthfully, couples likely weren’t having much sex to begin with; Sexiness, and apparently the frequency of having sex, declines with the length of time couples have been together. An astounding one in five married couples have sex less than ten times a year and another one in five are having no sex at all. These may be the extremes but still, on average, after ten years of marriage, more than half of couples are only having sex once a week.
To make matters worse, it is estimated that 25-75% of married men cheat. Men in sexless marriages are often unhappy; feel lonely, frustrated, unloved and undesirable. Correspondingly, they are likely to show physical signs of unrest such as increased blood pressure. Considering all this, it may seem excusable for men to seek sex outside of sexless marriages, because they are suffering and just trying to save their marriage, at least that is what they say when asked. Women who cheat are more likely to have already decided to end the marriage.
Women who want to keep their partner though, may need to make some changes so they can enjoy sex with their partners again. Likewise, men have a part to play in spicing things up.
What is Sexy?
There are the obvious ways to set the mood and create an ambience; Dimming the lights, donning the candles, romantic music, your sexiest attire and some massage oil with added aphrodisiac essential oils like ylang-ylang could do the trick. However, if you or your partner are feeling exhausted or despondent after spending so much time at home and dealing with the worrisome uncertainties of the pandemic, at least one of you may not be ‘in the mood’ and these preparations may lead to disappointment. If you have a frank and open discussion about this with your partner first, you may both agree to give it a go and here are a few less obvious ways to get your sexy on…….
Sex is sexy
If you want to have sex, start with asking for it. Asking for sex will NOT kill the romance. Your partner may say they are not in the mood. However research affirms that once one partner makes some sexy physical contact, the juices can start flowing, and the mood can quickly change… Oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone’ can be released as easily as sharing a 30 second hug with your partner and increases the feeling of closeness, which could be a good lead-in to some sexual intimacy. There are other factors at play, though, so the path from foreplay to sex is not guaranteed.
Sexy body a must?
It is true that physical fitness can make love-making more rewarding from an energetic and physiological point of view. Healthy bodies and sexy attire can indeed be a ‘turn-on’. Defining what looks sexy is a somewhat cultural and individual matter, but what the popular media portrays as sexy and which women strive for, believing it will make them more attractive to a man, has simply not been proven to be true. When it comes to choosing a mate for life, men prefer women who are curvy and healthy. Sex appeal can quickly be negated, however, if the emotional part of the relationship has been neglected.
Appreciation is Sexy
All appreciation, not just commenting on physical appearance, is ‘foreplay’. Expressing gratitude to your partner for something as simple as taking out the trash or making tea can go a long way. If not verbal, then a short text or, even better, a little note slipped in a lunchbox or under a pillow would bring a smile and a tingle to kindle your partner’s desire. What comes next could make them smile even more.
Try something new in the bedroom
Couples do create more intimacy by sharing what they need and want in the realm of love-making.
Moving from humdrum duty sex once a week to suddenly asking your partner if you can be their sex slave might be too much too soon. However, any steps to introduce more variety and inventiveness, even if it means you would feel somewhat vulnerable and uncomfortable at first, would open a door for more trust and closeness with your partner.
Do discuss and agree on what is acceptable. This might require new boundaries when trying a risqué sexual activity; Saying “no” at any point is always an option and if your partner doesn’t respect that, your relationship may be in trouble.
The new fun, imaginative and sexy things you do together may not involve sex at all. Variety is the spice of life and is an important element in a satisfying sexual relationship. Simple things like blowing bubbles or chasing butterflies can be on the list too.
How can dating be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic ?
There are ways for singles to maintain their zest for life, openness to joy and even their libidos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Video dates, sexting and video sex are some modern uses for smart phones which you could experiment with. Thankfully, you can absolutely consider dating in person and having sex, while keeping to the guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 virus. Whether you are single and deciding to forego in-person dates for a while, or you are in a relationship, there are online and solo options to consider.
Online dating has been growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic, when 39% of couples met online and even 16% of the over-50 crowd were using online dating. The numbers are likely much higher now. Eventually couples need to pass the test of meeting in person before deciding if they are a good match, but in the meantime, there are always ways to have sexual pleasure without a partner.
80% of sex is in the brain and that part can easily happen without a partner being present. Most people sometimes fantasize about being with another person, even while making love with their partner. Women with vibrators and men who watch online porn can have reliable orgasms, which may be fine for singles, except that when they are coupled and still rely on these activities, their partners may actually be intimidated by or jealous of these ‘competitors’. If they give them up, they may have unrealistic expectations of their partners as replacements for these stimulating sexual aids. Rather than compete with the online porn stars, wives are more likely to reluctantly give up having sex with their husbands.
Masturbation using sex toys and watching kinky porn place more emphasis on orgasms as the primary focus of sexual activity, and rely heavily on mechanistic aspects of sex, but do nothing to enhance communication and sensitivity between partners in real-life situations. Furthermore, porn can portray women in a way which is demeaning, objectifying and disrespectful towards women, which does not promote healthy relationships.
Self-love is healthy AND sexy
Why not have a date with yourself? That would be as safe as it gets during the pandemic. Whether you are single, dating or in a relationship, self-love is a sign of emotional intelligence and adds to your appeal as a partner. With more time for self-pleasuring, try putting on the same ‘sexy’ you would for a date with a partner and then bring on the love. Slow down, take more time with your self-pleasuring and try new things like sexy self-massage. Another bonus is that during the solo-pleasure times you will discover more of what you enjoy. When it is time to be with someone again, you will be ready to explain how you like things to be. But this doesn’t mean partner sex is forbidden fruit.
Healthy sexuality together
Learning the art of tantra or other online courses on sexuality together could guide you towards many different ways to create real intimacy, more presence and satisfaction when making love with your partner. There is much room for improvement. Consider, for example, the findings of one study where ten percent of women admitted to checking phone messages while having sex with their partners.
Dating in the pandemic
Absolutely! After all, we could all use a pick-me-up and as long as you take precautions and follow guidelines for COvid-19 prevention in your area it can do more good than harm. We need more joy in our lives and it could help reduce stress and improve your immune system. If you want a relationship you have to get out there to get it, even if its online. After chatting online, a video chat is a no fuss first date. You can even share a meal comfortably without a mask on.
Next, you may decide to meet in person. The conversation you would need to have with your potential dating partner to decide together whether or not to meet in person is a valuable way to learn about how you both navigate difficult situations. It may even help you decide if your partner is suitable for you.
If you are meeting in person, start with something simple. Outdoor patios are good choices for meeting places and you can call ahead for safety details if you are concerned about that, so that you will feel comfortable. Backyards, picnics in a park, walks or bicycle tours are all options for safe, fun dates. Cold and rainy days may be when you decide to share a tea virtually.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure your boundaries CLEAR and see how he or she responds. Use your STOP signal with your hand, delivered with a soft smile, when offered a hug or a kiss, if for any reason you may not be comfortable with any intimate touching. It might be wise to explain your reason, if it has to do with safety, so your partner won’t misunderstand. This is your right and a necessity for your self-esteem. He or she doesn’t respect your boundary? With that new information you decide where to go from there. If you are getting green lights, you may be ready for a video sex date. Imagine showing your private body parts to your partner for the first time on live video rather than with them in person. Welcome to the ‘new normal’?
Video Sex Dates
The same advice about clarifying your comfort level would apply with a video sex date. The line between encouragement and pressure may be a fine one, but with attention to your inner signals you will know whether requests should be responded to with a yes or a no. At least when meeting online, risqué is not risky for virus transmission.
Some guidelines for this relatively new form of safe sex:
- Be patient. Video sex dates may take some adjustment and learning
- Prepare the space and the technology ahead of time. The space would be set up the same way you would if you were with your partner or maybe leaning more towards what makes YOU feel your sexiest and most comfortable. Adjust the lighting so you aren’t bothered by feeling like you’re in a spotlight, but you do want enough light for your partner to see whatever you are highlighting. A phone tripod or stand is useful but if you don’t have one and will be holding the phone in your hand at times, you may want to cover it with plastic wrap.
- Do get creative if you like: For example, you might move a candle around carefully, to light up whichever body part you want to focus on at any given time. Feedback from your partner can be a way to eventually be able to zero in more on what your partner likes the most. One lover may want to see you licking your lips while another may love to see your toes! Use sex toys if you have them, and go ahead and masturbate, with your partner cheering you on. You can get creative with your show and tell, highlighting the type of stimulation is best for you, which will enlighten your partner with details on pressure, speed angle and depth that you enjoy. It would be very useful for women to share the intricacies of clitoral stimulation with their partner’s full attention. This is the number one type of stimulation that most women need to reach orgasm, which is not surprising since the clitoris boasts two to three as many nerve endings as the penis. One report indicated that the size of the clitoris increase with age so this is good news for improving sex after 50.
When it comes to your body, you choose what you share with your partner, so you have the most pleasure possible. Whatever you choose, keep in mind your objective is to spread love and not virus.
For more techniques for creating intimacy in your relationships you might visit Love is the Way and book a Relationship Breakthrough Session.