As anyone knows, this current pandemic has combined some of the worst elements of humanity for us. We have fears about an invisible, hard to detect contagion on top of forced social and physical isolation by our governments. Even on the surface it’s easy to see why this is a stressful time for even the most optimistic of us.
Many of us turn to others, especially in our community, to lessen anxiety by spending time with our partner(s), visiting the clubs, attending kink events, relaxing at our favorite munches, oh and of course, lots of sexy time. That list is nearly extinct now, with the exception of sex – if you’re lucky enough to be in the same home as your sexual partner(s). For me, the pandemic has killed my libido.
Pandemic, the ‘Almighty Inducer of Stress’
When I’m stressed, I lose nearly all interest in sex and sexy time things. I’ve heard from several friends who are having varying experiences. Some of my friends are having an increase in sexual desire while some are feeling similarly to me. I can easily understand how some are feeling an increase with the new shift in their usual routines, more mental freedom without the humdrum of commuting and office work, increased restful sleep, and possibly being able to hang out at home with family has made them feel more secure than ever. Perhaps sex and orgasm are a type of physical and mental release for them that the pandemic has helped them tap into their sexual energy. I’m happy for them, I really am, but I still have my problem.
Sexual energy needs requires just the right amount of tension to take off properly, but not too much to dampen it. If you are like me, you may have found that you are very worried about the virus and the lasting effects it will have. Maybe being cooped up at home with your partner(s) has presented a new, unfamiliar type of stress. Or you’ve been carefully watching you finances and may be finding yourself in fight/flight/freeze more often than you’d like. Worst still it could be your own self care has been put on hold; a lot of us have had to forgo our simple pleasures to follow quarantine orders.
Haircuts, manicures, massages, new restaurants, dating, traveling, a night out with friends, yoga, happy hours, general relaxation…they’ve all disappeared.
Both sexual energy need responses are okay. They are two sides of the same spectrum. You might find yourself bouncing between the two ends from day to day. There is no one right way to cope with what is happening. Sex can be complicated and multi-faceted.
Here are some great ways to stay self aware and mindful of your waning or non-existent sexual energy needs:
- Touch when possible. Touch is very powerful and can help calm our nervous system greatly. Communicate how you’d like to be touched with your partner(s) when possible and adapt as much as you can or try self soothing techniques.
- Journal to clear your mind. If you find yourself caught in worst case scenario thought loops, or worrying more than normal, write that down. Journaling is a good way to verbalize how you’re feeling in a condensed fashion and the very act of seeing it on paper can have a positive effect. This could be the way you get these ideas out of your head and somewhere safe, where they won’t endlessly follow you.
- No news is good news. Stop watching the news. Even if it’s only for a few hours you can see the benefits. Watching an ever updating and changing news cycle about the global state of things will not make you feel less anxious. I’ve started to make it Fridays that I don’t check the news at all and I’ve already seen improvements.
- Self pleasure is soothing. Masturbation is a common sexual activity for us all. Depending on your level of comfort, touching yourself could help regulate your internal system. Studies have suggested that masturbation can help you relax, reduce stress, improve sleep, boost your mood and more. It could be a way to keep your sexual pleasure balanced so that when this is all over, you have an even better idea on what you’re seeking physically.
- Use technology to your benefit. We’re being asked to stay six feet apart from all individuals we are not cohabitating with. This could mean you are either on your own alone, or only able to see one partner. If you find yourself in this situation, look to technology to create a physical connection. Send sexy pictures to build up tension, sext if you’re into that, or try phone/cam play time or check out some apps if possible. It won’t be the same as being together but it can certainly help bridge the gap.
Careful on bringing sexy back
Beyond that if you are being sexually active during this time, take extra precaution. Stock up on contraceptives and have a plan for emergency contraception if needed. Test yourself at home for STIs where possible. And no matter what happens, don’t panic. Desperate times can call for desperate measure but don’t try any at-home DIY, internet backed remedies. Contact your local clinics, hospitals, and standard healthcare services for the safest and smartest treatments.
We are in uncharted territory. Sex may be a comforting constant or completely uninteresting, but know they are both normal reactions in an otherwise abnormal time.
If you have an available sexual partner who is also feeling their sexual needs energy and open to sexual encounters during this time, I hope you are having a wonderfully hot time together. But it is also OK to tell your partner “Not tonight, dear. I’m feeling too anxious about everything.” Just make sure you communicate to your partner that you are wanting physical touch and not an erotic/sexual encounter.
Your libido may be the first thing to go when you’re dealing with a pandemic, but it will likely also be one of the first things to return post-pandemic. Hang in there. We will get through this.