WHETHER you’ve lost your libido, you’re sick of the sight of your other half, or you’ve been flying solo during the pandemic, it’s fair to say that, after the events of the past year, most of us have hit a sexual slump.
Unsurprisingly, months of various lockdowns, not being able to hit the gym and juggling work with childcare have contributed to us feeling this way. In fact, a staggering 36% of us are just too tired, according to research by sexual wellness brand Lelo.
Most of us have hit a sexual slump over the past year so find out how to banish the sex drought and get your libido flying againCredit: Getty Images
Meanwhile, 34% of Brits are struggling with poor mental health and 25% with how our bodies look. And even if we’re in the mood, 16% of us are too consumed by work pressures and 11% are too busy being parents to fit in sexy time.
For singletons, months of socialising being carried out via a screen has meant meeting anyone new – let alone hooking up – had become an impossible task. So much so that, according to the Lelo survey, more than one in 10 Brits haven’t had a kiss for over three years.
Had enough of the sex drought? Find out how to banish it…
Sex therapist Mia Sabat says ‘Surprise one another with sexts during the day’ to explore fantasiesCredit: Alamy
Let’s be honest, no matter how much you love your significant other, no one wants to spend 24/7 with them, and yet that’s pretty much what’s happened these past 12 months. So how do you reconnect?
First, by carving out quality time for each other. “When you’re together, try going tech-free to promote eye contact and connection,” says Kate Moyle, Lelo’s sex and relationship expert.
Meanwhile, Mia Sabat, sex therapist at Emjoy, a sexual wellbeing audio app for women, suggests giving time together some structure by planning it in as a weekly date night, and urges couples to try new things to help get the spark back.
“Surprise one another with sexts during the day, play games like ‘truth or dare’ as an easy way to explore fantasies and don’t be afraid to embrace humour,” she says. “Not only is it fun to laugh and let yourself be silly, but it brings you closer, which helps to maintain feelings of emotional intimacy.”
Explore intimacy in other areas of your home to switch off so why not take sex to the showerCredit: Getty
Working from home or, worse, your bedroom, can make it even more difficult to switch off and get intimate when it’s time to close your laptop for the day. To get things back on track, practise discussing your sexual needs.
A good way to do this is by asking each other how you’d like to de-stress once the day is over. Could a short walk after work help you switch off? Or would your partner giving you a massage help switch up the tempo?
If it’s your surroundings or seeing a pile of paperwork that’s stopping you from exploring pleasure, then why not take sex out of the bedroom?
“Try the shower, for example. This also gives you the opportunity to explore intimacy in a new area of the home that isn’t associated with work,” says Mia.
Reminisce about what was life before parenting by looking at old photos to reconnectCredit: Alamy
From homeschooling to juggling the pressures of parenthood in a pandemic, it’s no doubt been hard to connect as a couple rather than as parents to your kids. “Try to create some adult space,” says Kate.
“Put away or hide all the toys and things that remind you of what you have to do, such as admin.” This will stop you getting distracted by your parental “to-do lists”.
Kate also suggests reminiscing about what life was like before you became parents; recalling what it was that brought you two together in the first place can really help ignite that spark that you have.
“Talk about a holiday that you went on or look at photos or videos when you were just a couple and use it to reconnect.”
Instead of putting pressure on sex, ‘agree to spend half an hour together just kissing and touching’ says sex and relationship expert Kate MoyleCredit: Alamy
There’s nothing quite like the stress of a pandemic to wipe out the desire to have sex.
But as things slowly start to look up, a good way to get in the mood is by taking sex off the table.
It might sound counterproductive, but it can actually end up making you want sex all the more. “Sex can become a pressure point and that can stop you from wanting it,” says Kate.
“Instead, agree to spend half an hour together just kissing and touching, with the focus on enjoying it for what it is rather than where it has to go. Sensuality is a building block for sexuality, and it can help us reconnect to our desires.”
If you are dating and want to put your health first by requesting a negative Covid test before intimacy, make sure the other person is onboardCredit: Avalon.red
After months of talking behind masks, suddenly putting your tongue into someone else’s mouth can seem like a daunting prospect.
“This anxiety in itself can really interrupt your ability to be in the moment and feel sexually aroused,” explains Kate.
She suggests working out your negotiables and non-negotiables before meeting up with someone (when we’re allowed), or when you decide to take your relationship to the next level.
“Do you require your partner to have a negative Covid test for when you meet or would you feel calmer if you had showered before sex? If it’s a problem for your partner that you are prioritising your health and wellbeing then you may need to consider if they are the best partner for you, after all.”
Being clear about your boundaries also applies if you’ve got different views when it comes to Covid rule compliance, say the experts. “Be clear with your expectations – both with yourself, and with your date,” says Mia.
“Equally, you must respect their views, too, and not push that person to do something that they are not comfortable with. When it comes to any dating scenario, your comfort and mental wellbeing should always be your first priority.”
Your sexual appetite could have been zapped because of insecurity, but ‘remember that being sexy is an attitude’ says MiaCredit: Alamy
If your sexual appetite has been zapped because of insecurity, you’re not alone. With gyms only recently reopening, increased snacking, stress and our routines unrecognisable, many will have noticed significant weight gain or loss. But that doesn’t have to be the death knell on intimacy.
“Being sexy is an attitude and has nothing to do with how you look, and everything to do with how you feel.
“Aim to feel love and appreciation for everything your body is capable of: from eating to moving to resting, no action is too small to recognise and cherish. Your body has helped you through a pandemic, and this is no small feat,” says Mia.
“Practise these positive thoughts daily by saying them out loud in front of the mirror. With patience and practice, body confidence will follow.”
Isolation and anxiety could be consuming your mind – pushing sex off the agenda. “Sexuality ebbs and flows throughout all emotional states, including the lows,” says Mia.
“Sex is not a task that must be fulfilled. When you’re ready to reconnect with your sexuality, begin with self-pleasure. To get yourself in the mood, play some sensual music or listen to erotic stories on apps like Emjoy.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it – your mental wellbeing deserves attention”.