For the past few weeks, couples all over the world have been cooped up together in coronavirus lockdown.
For some it’s been a dream come true, with couples discovering new things about each other, strengthening their bond and learning about each other’s aspirations for life post-pandemic.
But for others, it’s been a hard slog, with a recent survey by The Knot and Lasting revealing that the number one thing couples are fighting about during the crisis is how often they’re having sex.
Yahoo Lifestyle spoke with the experts to get some tips on keeping the spark alive in the bedroom.
It’s normal for your desire to fluctuate
Sexologist, Kassandra Mourikis, from Pleasure Centred Sexology wants couples to first of all know that it’s completely normal not to always feel like being sexual, especially when a global pandemic is at our front doors.
She believes there are a number of reasons why our desire for sex - and how much pleasure we experience - fluctuates.
This includes chronic or ongoing stress, how somebody is feeling about their body, exhaustion, trauma and feeling unsafe.
“A lot of these stressors/events impact desire because they activate the autonomic nervous system and the body moves into a stress response,” Kassandra explained.
“The brain prioritises survival over sex almost every time. It decides that it’s not a good time to get sexy if you could be in danger so it makes a lot of sense why you might not feel like sex.”
Make time for each other
If you’re looking for ways to keep the spark alive in your relationship during lockdown Jodie Milton and Reece Stockhausen, relationship and intimacy coaches at Practical Intimacy, and a couple in lockdown, believe you need to make time for each other.
“Find ways to relax and connect. Share a shower or bath. Put in effort to make your couple time feel special, whether by putting on music, lighting candles or getting dressed up for each other,” Jodie and Reece said.
“Create a mood that feels welcoming and allows you to switch off from the intensity of the outside world right now.”
Kassandra Mourikis stresses that this doesn’t mean that you have to schedule sex, which can be counterintuitive because it can lead to all sorts of expectations.
Instead she recommends scheduling uninterrupted time together to do things that are “fun, enjoyable, pleasurable or relaxing without distractions”.
This could mean putting your devices away, talking about topics you love as a couple, giving each other a massage, laying down together or having a cuddle or a kiss.
If you’re finding that your sex life has become a bit lacklustre during the lockdown, Jodie and Reece recommend removing any expectations about what sex should look like.
“If all you end up doing is cuddling and kissing, that's still a win,” they told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“It's spending intimate time together that's the goal, not the penetrative sex itself.”
Kassandra agrees, saying couples should shift their focus and prioritise pleasure above sex.
She also claims people who have a broader definition of sex are more likely to prioritise pleasurable experiences over one main type of sex.
Establish an emotional connection
Jodie and Reece say that for many people, especially women, emotional connection needs to happen before they're interested in opening up sexually.
“Which is why finding ways to take your conversations deeper and is really important. Ask better questions than just, "How are you?" "What did you get up to today?" Instead, ask questions like, "What's going on in your world right now? What thoughts are rolling around in your head? What's important to you right now? Where are you struggling?" which invite you to share your rich, emotional worlds with each other feel more connected,” they said.
“Keep prioritising affection touch throughout your day, such as holding hands when you go for a walk or brushing your hand against your partner's back when you walk past. It will keep you feeling like a couple instead of just flatmates.”
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