“Wow” , you thought, “lockdown with my beloved for 4 weeks” and the sex part of your brain lit up. Suddenly you imagined hours and hours of sex . Sneaky sex, lazy Sunday morning sex midday on a Wednesday , an opportunity to explore fantasies together, and even experiment sexually, both online and offline. You may have even imagined hours of intimate sharing with your person , face to face. And as we all know, eye gazing, and vulnerable sharing of emotions, creates intimacy and intimacy has a greater chance of sex occurring . A baby boom was predicted . Oh yes… bring it on…
Singletons imagined giving themselves permission to sext recklessly and randomly. Perhaps imagined getting on to that dating site they had avoided and just chance meeting someone online- for casual online sex or fun, and even a hope of a future together with someone with whom you would have hours of meaningful conversations . Here the risk of a loneliness boom increases. After all we crave connection.
Well it seems like that bubble burst pretty quickly. As the reality of living together 24/7 , creating your own home office, negotiating shared spaces, managing children and a household , sunk in, so the sex disappeared out the window. More significantly, as your financial lock down began to strangle you, the last thing on your mind was … sex.
What was on your brain was survival. Your brain kicked in and said:
“im going to help you manage this anxiety you are experiencing . Im going to keep you alive. Im going to give you what you need to survive, namely an ability to breathe, swallow and digest food, pee and poop, sleep.
This means I am taking away all your sexual hormones. I can’t protect you from impending disaster – ( all fears which Covid-19 brings to us) by keeping you horny. Horny means you will seek out sex and sex means pregnancy. No way can you afford to have a baby now when you need all your resources for your own survival ”
Dr Justin Lehmiller, social psychologist at the Kinsey Institute, has begun a small study to measure the impact of Covid-19 on people’s sexuality. I listened with joy to Justin talking to Dr Lori Brotto, a highly regarded psychologist and researcher, about this , on his latest podcast
Lori spoke about the impact of the current chronic stress on our sexuality.Chronic stress impedes sexual arousal and desire . And Justin shared his research results: his sample are having less sex and less masturbation, with only a small number expressing an increase in sexual frequency. Justin asks : are this group are using sex to quell their anxiety… or is there really an increase in their desire?
I want to take this a step further and ask you to consider how this lock down is affecting your overall sexual functioning ;
- sexual desire : up /down?
- sexual arousal (ie lubrication /erections) :up/down?
- orgasms – take longer or quicker or completely delayed (gone!) ?
- painful penetration : up/down ?
Here are some tips to increase your sexual functioning . Please note : these tips are not to place pressure on you to perform , or to have sexual activity. Choice is always yours.
2x TIPS TO INCREASE SEXUAL ACTIVITY
- Manage your stress. No sexual functioning can happen when your brain is on fire. Refer to my previous mails on how to manage anxiety
- Dr Brotto recommends having sex when you are most awake, when your energy levels allow you this luxury. So change your schedule to accommodate the sexual time that you both agree upon.
237 REASONS TO HAVE SEX
Think about what motivates you to have sex. No doubt it is because you expect a certain outcome ,a certain feeling , usually a positive lovely feeling . In other words, a reward:)
Now more than any other time in your life, you may need a lot more motivation to be sexual. I turn to this incredible study that was done in 2007, by evolutionary psychologists, David Buss and Cindy Meston of the University of Texas at Austin,
They came up with a list of 237 reasons why people have sex. This list comes from a University of Texas study published August 2007 issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior (Study PDF). It asked 400 students and volunteers why they had sex. Keep in mind, most of the subjects were college-age students.
Here are the results: The combined results revealed 237 sexual motivations, sorted into four major factors and 13 sub-factors:
The top 3 reasons:
- I was attracted to the person.
- I wanted to experience physical pleasure.
- It feels good.
Physical reasons—reduce stress (“It seemed like good exercise”); feel pleasure (“It’s exciting”); improve or expand experiences (“I was curious about sex”); and the physical desirability of a partner (“The person was a good dancer”).
Goal-based reasons—practical considerations (“I wanted to have a baby”); social status (“I wanted to be popular”); and revenge (“I wanted to give someone else a sexually transmitted disease”).
Emotional reasons—love and commitment (“I wanted to feel connected”); expression (“I wanted to say ‘thank you’”).
Insecurity-based reasons—self-esteem (“I wanted the attention”); a feeling of duty or pressure (“My partner kept insisting”); to hold onto a mate (“I wanted to keep my partner from straying”).
They also found significant gender differences. For instance, men were more likely than women to endorse being motivated by experience seeking, mere opportunity and phsyical appearance. Examples included: “The person was available,” “I wanted to increase the number of partners I had experienced” and “The person had an attractive face.” Women were more motivated than men by certain emotional factors, such as “I wanted to express my love for the person.”
In this time of love in the time of corona virus, I encourage you to go through this list , alone and then with a partner. I hope it will get you to set aside guilt, shame and blame and a mono-hetero-normative model of what are “good” versus “bad” reasons for wanting sex. Rather focus on grabbing whatever reasons come up for you on this list. Enjoy!
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