Coronavirus: Why quarantine is supercharging your libido

As social distancing and self-isolation become the norm, what does it mean for dating, our sex lives and relationships? 

How is coronavirus affecting our sex lives?

It’s making us horny. There are condom shortages in Singapore, China and Hong Kong, according to Condomsales.com, and condom sales have been increasing in the US since the first coronavirus cases were diagnosed. A baby boom is predicted in the coming year.

Here's how coronavirus is impacting our sex lives. Photo: Getty Images.

Why is coronavirus making us horny? 

Users on Reddit have their own suggestions about why lockdown amidst a pandemic is increasing sex drives. “I'm normally pretty horny in general…but something about being on lockdown has got me running on hard overdrive,” writes one user.

“It’s like I was fine not having it when I was able to have it but now that I’m told I can’t... I need it.” Another user commented: “I suspect it is a combo of a primal need to reproduce in times of stress and a desire for companionship during the isolation.”

Clinical Psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack says: “When you take away all the external stressors of everyday life, such as going to work, socialising and generally rushing around, people are less tired, and remember that sex is a pleasure. Humans are pleasure-seekers so it’s inevitable that in a time like this, sex becomes more front of mind.” 

How is coronavirus affecting porn?

Worldwide traffic for Pornhub has risen by 11.6 per cent since the Coronavirus pandemic started. The company has offered free premium membership to countries in lockdown and has seen traffic jump by 57 per cent in Italy, 38 per cent in France and 61 per cent in Spain.

How is coronavirus affecting sex workers? 

Sex workers are bracing themselves for big income losses, as people are either in lockdown or not visiting them due to social distancing. However, it’s thought ‘camming’ will see an uplift – where cam girls offer sex services to people online.

Should you take a break from dating during coronavirus? 

Yes. “You definitely should not be dating during this pandemic,” says Dr Ginni Mansberg. “You shouldn’t be within two metres of anyone you don’t live with.

Exposing yourself or others to the virus is irresponsible. And if you caught the virus off someone you met on Tinder, for example, there would be no way to contact-trace them.”

How do you date during coronavirus?

Get creative. “Online is really the only option at the moment,” says Dr Mansberg. “Meet up on Facetime, have dinner together. Talk on the phone. It’s not the same as being physically able to touch each other, but at the moment it’s the only option.”

Some people are suggesting ordering the same UberEats option so it feels like they’re together while they eat it and chat online. There are even online clubs where you can ‘boogie alone, together.’

Online dating is the way to go during COVID-19. Photo: Getty Images.

Can I have a casual relationship during the coronavirus pandemic?

No. “If you see your partner a couple of nights a week, but don’t live together, something has to change,” says Dr Mansberg.

“It’s too risky to continue seeing each other, then going back to separate houses and lives. Couples either need to accelerate their relationship and decided to live together all the time or not to see each other until this is over.” 

Can I have sex with my partner during coronavirus?

Yes. “Love in the age of corona means having a meaningful connection with someone you live with,” says Dr Mansberg. “There’s a very high transmission rate between couples, so if one of you has been diagnosed and you’ve been living together, sharing a bed and bathroom, it’s highly likely the other one has got it.”

Although it’s not clear yet whether COVID-19 is sexually transmitted, Dr Mansberg says this is a moot point. “It’s highly unlikely that people have sex without anything touching apart from a penis going into a vagina. Touching transmits the virus, and for the moment that’s all we need to know.” 

Can isolation during coronavirus break up marriages or relationships?

Potentially, yes. High profile UK divorce lawyer Fiona Shackleton believes it’s “very likely” the divorce rate will rise due to couples being isolated together during the COVID-19 pandemic, as divorce “peak times are after long exposure [to each other] during the summer holidays and Christmas.” 

“Being isolated together is an unnatural situation, which often doesn’t reflect how couples live in real life,” says McCormack. “Being with a partner 24/7 can raise issues that wouldn’t normally be a problem, and change the dynamics of a relationship. Add that to the stress of such a highly unusual situation, and it’s no wonder couples start to learn things about each other they might not like.”

Being isolated together is 'unnatural,' warns an expert. Photo: Getty Images.

Being isolated and forced to be away from each other may also cause relationship breakups. “Not knowing when you’ll be able to physically see or be intimate with each other can also strain a relationship,” says McCormack. “When couples have been apart for a long time, they develop individual routines. When they are together again, it can be tricky to adapt to having someone else around.” 

How to avoid breaking up during coronavirus isolation

“Be clear about what your needs are,” says McCormack. “Talk about the issues that are upsetting you. Stress and tension are contagious, so be open about what you feel are problems. Make rules around privacy and how much alone time you get each day so you don’t feel claustrophobic.” 

If you’re apart, communication is also essential. “Be honest about how you’re feeling, as it can be hard to pick up on each other’s moods when you’re not physically together,” says McCormack. “Video calls help; seeing someone’s face creates a bigger emotional connection than just talking on the phone.”

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