Infectious desire: how the pandemic continues to negatively impact our sex lives | Top Vip News

When COVID-19 began to spread around the world and cities went into lockdown, many people joked that keeping couples cooped up in their homes would lead to a baby boom.

Instead, the opposite happened: a baby bust. Nine months into the pandemic, data confirmed that no such event occurred. Although there ended up being a small increase in births in 2021, which was the first major reversal in the decline in domestic fertility rates since 2007, followed a substantial decline that has continued ever since. In May 2023, Brookings reported that birth rates were again below 2019 levels.

But the story of the baby boom and bust doesn’t just expose the flaws in the American system when it comes to having and caring for children. It also provides information about people’s sex lives and how they have been affected by the pandemic. As the renowned sex therapist Ester Perel explains in her famous book “Mating in captivity: unlocking erotic intelligence”, everyday domesticity can seem like a cage; It is not a natural recipe to improve sex and intimacy.

It turns out that living through a massive pandemic with a virus that is highly contagious and often deadly, against a backdrop of inflation, record levels of homelessness, multiple wars breaking out around the world, and the erosion of access to abortion, all while work from home with your spouse, it’s not exactly a libido booster either. Therapists and psychologists told Salon that the pandemic has not been good for sex and intimacy. In other words, if you haven’t been in the mood because you feel like everything still sucks, you’re not alone.

Gigi Engle, certified sexual and relationship psychotherapist and sex expert on the LGBTQ dating app, TaimiHe said he believes the pandemic changed sex and intimacy “tremendously.” Initially, when the pandemic happened, there were two groups of people: “the horny lockdown people” and those who felt tired from all the chaos and from being cooped up at home with their spouse and children all day. In fact, months after the pandemic data revealed that sales of sex toys increased.

“People were trying all kinds of interesting things with sex toys and power dynamics,” Engle told Salon. “I’m just very creative and I see it as an opportunity to explore.”

If you haven’t been in the mood because you feel like everything still sucks, you’re not alone.

In fact, there was some kind of novelty in not having to be anywhere for some couples. Dr. Rhonda Balzarini, an assistant professor of psychology at Texas State University and a researcher at the Kinsey Institute, told Salon that the loneliness and anxiety people felt at first brought some couples closer together in the absence of other connections to bring them together. people were involved in their daily lives. lives. Additionally, some found working together from home exciting, but the unconventionality of it all eventually faded.

“A few weeks into the pandemic, I think the energy started to run out,” Balzarini said, as stressors like kids not returning to school and people losing their jobs occurred. “We entered a stage of disillusionment and depression, and during this period, I think many people, including couples, began to have difficulties.”

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A study published in 2021 confirmed that people’s sex lives worsened during the pandemic. Specifically, the researchers found that women experienced a greater alteration in their sexual desires than men. Almost four years later, many people’s sex lives are still affected by the pandemic. Even the sex lives of young people, who are often thought to live stress-free lives, especially in an age where hooking up can be as easy as swiping right.

But despite what “Euphoria” made us think, multiple Surveys have shown that young people are having less sex than their peers in previous generations, a trend that began even before the pandemic. Engle said this is likely because the pandemic is still ongoing and people are still figuring out what their new normal is right now. While people can still go out and socialize in person, they don’t do as much as they used to. Additionally, there is fatigue from dating apps and meeting someone online after always being online. This is likely to affect people who are in a relationship as well.

“People are still staying home a lot more, which is great in the sense that there’s a lot more flexibility for a lot of people when it comes to working,” Engle said. “But I think the partners are still for the most part still on top of each other.”

It’s okay to not be in the mood right now. In fact, it is normal.

Matt Lundquist, psychotherapist and clinical director of Tribeca Therapy in New York City, told Salon that working from home and wearing the same clothes all day is not conducive to sex and sexuality for many. Additionally, external stressors like inflation and working longer hours could affect how people feel about having sex.

“I think couples tend to have more and better sex when they get along,” she said. “And I think couples bring the stress of financial hardship, job insecurity, having to work longer hours, and feeling less confident about being able to pay for college; that stress plays out in the bedroom.”

Surveys on mental health in the United States have shown a significant increase in the number of American adults suffering from stress, anxiety and depression during the pandemic. Engle said COVID-19 has increased people’s anxiety levels. He brought our own mortality to light and many people lost loved ones and saw many of their friends and family suffer.

“And I think people’s mental health hasn’t recovered from that,” he said. “And when we’re in that state constantly, your sex drive plummets because your body is telling you it’s not safe and it’s not okay to have sex.”

Of course, there is also the physical part of COVID-19. We know that the virus spreads through particles in the saliva, mucus or breath of infected people, even when a person has no symptoms. This still makes sex and dating risky and that could be affecting sex.

“We’re still figuring out what life after the pandemic means,” Balzarini said. “Do we still wear masks? Do we still need reinforcements? “There is still a lot of uncertainty around the COVID-19 situation.”

All three experts agreed that it’s okay to not be in the mood right now. In fact, it is normal.

“It’s completely normal that we’re responding appropriately to the hellish storm of the world we currently live in, so there’s nothing wrong with having that feeling,” Engle said, adding that some people are fine where they are now. . “For other people who want to have more sex, the first step is to make their bodies feel safe again.”

“But most importantly,” he continued, “everyone should have more compassion for themselves right now. I think there’s been this very incorrect notion that we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, this mess is over,’ I want to get back to.” have sex,” and that’s not fair or realistic or how humans work or adapt.”

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