Sex In The Time Of Social Distancing: A Risk Or A Stress Buster?
Stuck at home? Nothing much to do? A lot of energy that remains unspent because you are working from home and barely moving from the couch? Are you up for sex then? I have come across a plethora of jokes on WhatsApp on how we will see a baby boom nine months post this social distancing phase, and that has one wondering, is this stay-at- home-at-all-time directive doing as much good to our libido, as we are joking about? Is it even safe to have sex while social distancing, or self-isolating? Is it worth risking your health, to step out for a one-night stand right now? Also, while we focus on stress and anxiety triggered by social distancing, why are we not talking about its negative impact on our sex lives much? And where does a 70 percent rise in subscription of Gleeden, an extramarital dating app, in India fit into all this?
- WhatsApp is brimming with jokes on how we will see a baby boom nine months after this lockdown.
- But is this lockdown and social distancing actually doing any good to our libido?
- Is sex a distraction that we need, from all the stress and anxiety we are experiencing right now?
- Is it even safe to have sex, for that matter?
Is this stay-at-home-at-all-time directive doing as much good to our libido, as we are joking about? Is it even safe to have sex while social distancing, or self-isolating?
Let us talk about safety first, because that is of utmost importance right now. It is a tough place to be in if you do not have a steady partner right now, and have a sex life that is totally dependent on dating or hook-up apps. To expect people to stay off sex is absurd, but this isn’t a good reason to break curfew as well. Safety comes first. Stay indoors, because seriously it is not worth it.
Also, if you have tested positive for coronavirus, and have been asked to self-isolate, sexual contact with your partner may put them at the risk of contracting COVID-19 from you. Keep in mind that while this is not a sexually transmitted disease, coronavirus can spread via sexual contact. As explained in a report by The Conversation, you can contract COVID-19 from an infected person with activities like kissing, etc.
Now, if you are a couple staying together in this lockdown (and perhaps that of others), its impact on your sex life could depend on a lot of factors, which are not necessarily related to the “act” directly. Some couples are experiencing a lot of stress right now. You have a family to feed, job cuts have begun left, right and centre, you cannot believe you haven’t set foot in the outside world for the last few weeks (many people have been staying at home long before this lockdown began). Who in their right mind would even be in the mood to think of sex? As psychologist Jessica Zucker wrote in an article for NBC, “Sex can be a great stress reliever. But if you’re feeling an aversion to sex, whether it be with your partner or yourself, know that your reaction, too, is typical. There is no one ‘right’ way to handle unprecedented moments such as these.”
If you are a couple staying together in this lockdown (and perhaps that of others), its impact on your sex life could depend on a lot of factors, which are not necessarily related to the “act” directly.
However, research has found that the hormone endorphin, that releases during sexual intercourse is known to alleviate stress and anxiety. In fact, people who have intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations, found a research from the University of the West of Scotland, whose results were quoted in a report by ABC News. So sex could be the distraction that you need amidst this unpredictable crisis. Although that is easier said than done. Desire is not a switch that you can flip using logic. Co-habiting with a family, having a small child to care for, the list of chores that need to be done each day, and the added stress from following coronavirus updates could be a buzzkill.
But on the other hand of this spectrum are couples, who are indeed experiencing a better sexual life amidst social distancing. Proximity is one factor that is working for such couples, especially those who had busy schedules and little time for each other in the pre-social distancing era. Another is the fact their desires are in sync. If you and your partner both want the same thing, that does anything else really matter?
But what if your desires are not in sync? What if one partner sees sex as a much-needed release in this situation, but the other cannot wrap their head around this logic? Could this mismatch of wavelengths be the reason for the rise in the subscriptions of Gleeden in India? Or is it just that a significant number of couples are now stuck together under lockdown, despite being in dysfunctional marriages? Perhaps the answers vary for every couple.
How has social distancing affected your sex life? Do let us know in the comments section.
The views expressed are the author’s own.