Are you stuck in a sex rut? (Picture: Getty)
Not in the mood at the moment? You’re certainly not alone.
A study carried out by MysteryVibe last year found 23% of people admitted that lockdown (and the pandemic in general) has been their biggest turn off over recent months.
And it seems women’s sex drives have been hit the hardest, with 40% saying lockdown is a key reason they’re having less sex, compared to one third (33%) of men.
Neil Wilkie, psychotherapist and founder of The Relationship Paradigm, explains why this is happening in a little more detail.
He tells Metro.co.uk: ‘The stress and uncertainty surrounding coronavirus has meant many people are suffering from adrenal stress – which means your libido shrinks.
‘For some, lockdown has been a great opportunity for an enhanced sex life – with couples having more time together and fewer distractions. But it has also been a time where relationships have suffered.
‘People have gone into themselves and, for many, resentments and frustrations have grown. This has often meant that sex has declined and people have got caught in the same old patterns.’
But the good news is that there are a number of ways to get your sex life back on track. Here are some things to keep in mind…
‘You may think that sex should be spontaneous and unplanned. The problem with this approach is that spontaneity can be erratic and – under the pressures and stress of lockdown – non existent,’ says psychologist and life coach Andre Radmall.
‘Set planned time aside for romance and sex. It may feel a bit forced but if there has been no sex for a while it takes a bit of planning to re-establish the pattern.
‘I mention romance as it is important to establish things like touch, flirting and quality time together before jumping in at the deep end.’
This is something Neil also says is important – the time you’ve set aside doesn’t have to be for sex, it’s just an opportunity to be intimate with each other.
He adds: ‘Set aside time every week to take some gentle steps towards rebuilding your sex life – to just play and be with each other and see what emerges.’
Bring back the romance (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
If your sex life is missing that spark, Andre says it’s time to get imaginative – and Valentine’s Day can be a great time to do this.
He adds: ‘We get so preoccupied with the stresses and strains of childcare, the pandemic, staying safe and the news that we literally forget to think sexy.
‘Sex therapists know the biggest aphrodisiac is in our own minds.
‘We can do some things to fire the imagination which will then switch on other parts of the body. You could spice things up a bit with dressing up, role playing and sex toys.’
The advantage of all these new things is that they add a sense of novelty and excitement – something we’re all craving during monotonous lockdown life.
Break the cycle
We know that our mental state can impact our sex drives, and there’s no denying that there’s been a lot to feel down about over the past year.
However, when we focus on the bad things, we tend to spiral into more negative thinking, which makes us feel worse.
One way to get out of this mindset is to focus on the positives and what can be changed in the future – this should leave us feeling a little more optimistic.
Neill says: ‘Try to get out of the rut by remembering the good times you have had together and start to believe those can happen again.
‘Throw away the rulebook and the old habits and explore what you would both really like’.
Don’t forget about foreplay
‘If sex has gone a bit flat then getting started again may mean “going through the gears.” This means taking time to re-establish flirting, touch and foreplay,’ says Andre.
‘When people have gone through a dry spell sexually, I advise taking time over this. It is not necessary to go for full penetrative sex from the get go.’
It can be easy for established couples to slip into routines when it comes to sex, so it’s good to switch things up by focussing more on foreplay and touch.
Andre adds: ‘Oral sex or mutual masturbation are good ways to get things started again. Maybe spend one session in intimate touching and then ramp things up in the next session.’
Power of talking
If there are things that are bothering you, talking to your partner about them may not only solve them but will also make you feel better.
It’s also a good chance to hear how they are feeling as well.
Neil adds: ‘Talk to your partner about sex – share how you are feeling about it and what you would like from it and also find out what they would like.’
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