With millions of couples now holed up together in the fight against coronavirus, could this closeness rekindle the romance in their relationships? Will Covid-19 become a defibrillator for the dwindling millennial libido?
Well, nah, probably not.
You’ll have heard tales, no doubt, of baby booms in the wake of disaster. The story goes that — when stuck at home during a power-cut or what have you — the nation stoically removes its trousers and gears up for long afternoons of unprotected sex.
One famously overblown example is from America’s northeast blackout of 1965. That outage left 30m people without power for a whole day, and sparked a press frenzy nine months later when it looked like birth figures had shot up. They hadn’t: someone had bungled the numbers.
Perhaps an inconvenient domestic saga is not quite the aphrodisiac we hoped it would be?
For single millennials (who already tend to start sexual activity later and have fewer sexual partners than the generations before them), the problem is obvious: contagion.
With social distancing becoming the zeitgeist, just how good looking does someone need to be to make you swipe right? Sure, he’s hot, but is he going to raise your temperature physically as well as metaphorically?
A surprising number of millennials in their 20s are voluntarily celibate, and under the increasingly dystopian circumstances we find ourselves in, this lifestyle choice is unlikely to change in the coming months.
And this doesn’t mean that cohabiting folk will be spending their days getting jiggy with it on the sofa, either.
“Try throwing a blanket over your significant other so that, when they de-veil after a long day of working from home, you’re delighted to see their smiling face once more”
Why? First, consider that the conventional advice to keep the spark alive is to ‘maintain an element of mystery’. But that’s easier said than done in self-isolation when you’ve both drunk too much tea and are fighting over the bathroom again. A more useful cliche to lean on in 2020 would be ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Oh look. It’s them again. In the kitchen, on the sofa, in the bedroom. Them. Them. Them again.
Try livening things up by throwing a blanket over your significant other so that, when they de-veil after a long day of working from home (which, oddly, seems to involve a lot of podcasts and walking back and forth to the kitchen for biscuits), you’re delighted to see their smiling face once more.
Another Covid-19 nail in the coffin for romance is that — and this might blow your mind — anxiety is rarely conducive to feelings of horniness. “I’m afraid for my health, my job and my family. I couldn’t want you more right now,” said nobody, ever.
And how about the food factor? There’s a noticeable absence of fresh oysters and chocolate-dipped strawberries in most people’s panic-cupboard, so you’ll be subsisting on tins of beans, Fray Bentos pies, and enormous bowls of pasta. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but these are not the traditional ingredients for a night of passion.
To counter the viral barrage of mood-killers, it’s advisable to follow the (un)official government guidance for each of the four stages of coronavirus: contain, delay, research, mitigate.
Containment is all about excluding risk factors from the environment. So barricade yourself in one room and do not allow your partner in until you feel a fire in your loins. Choose your location wisely though: the sofa might make the living room seem appealing, but the kitchen contains food and — although no toilet — it does have a sink.
The delay stage accepts the inevitability of contamination, but aims to slow the influx to a more manageable trickle. Basically, ask your partner if they can pencil you in for a quickie six weeks from now.
Knowledge is power, and this strand runs alongside phase one and two. Don’t waste these weeks indoors; use them to gain valuable insights into your partner’s turn-ons and turn-offs. If they perk up whenever Eamonn Holmes comes on the TV, or visibly wither at the sound you singing along to Celine Dion, this is all useful information.
This is where things get serious. The inevitable has happened and it’s now a damage-limitation scenario. What we’re saying is, if you’re straight, fertile, and don’t want your offspring to share a class with kids called ‘Covid’ and ‘Karona’, just use a condom.
Ultimately, though, any friskiness can compensate for lost exercise outdoors. Plus, research has shown that having an orgasm actually boosts your white blood cells and therefore your immune response.
Better whip that blanket off your partner’s head and put on some Barry White.