After months without casual sex, Brits are preparing for a summer of love. That’s according to high street pharmacies, which are reporting a boom in lube and condom sales as lockdown restrictions ease.
Boots UK reports that sales of condoms have almost doubled since last year – with a massive 98% increase in sales. Searches on boots.com are also on the rise with 30% more searches for condoms and a 50% increase in searches for sex toys compared to last year.
Meanwhile Superdrug is predicting a “sexplosion” as lockdown restrictions further ease this summer.
The high street chain is currently seeing a 65% increase in online condom sales and a 232% increase in lube and toy sales online – plus a 44% year-on-year increase in the purchase of at-home STI tests and treatment.
The picture from pharmacies backs up the results of a recent survey by sexual wellness brand HANX – in which half (56%) of respondents expected lockdown easing to have an effect on their sex life, with 56% anticipating more nookie in their near futures.
The survey did reveal mixed feelings about hooking up with new partners: 26% said they would like to move faster than they did pre-pandemic but 39% said they won’t change how soon they’ll get it on with a new prospect. Some even confessed to wanting to move slower than in pre-Covid times.
And while 53% reported that they weren’t worried about getting a post-lockdown STI, 58% said they’d ‘definitely’ be using a condom - which might go some way to explaining the boom in sales.
Sex educator Sangeeta Pillai, founder of the Soul Sutras network, sounds some doubt over whether the nation is going to go totally sex mad this summer.
“Boris says we can mingle – sexually and otherwise – but all the people I talk to through my work with Soul Sutras tell me they’re not quite dashing to the nearest condom aisles,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“After a year of Covid isolation and fear, it’s tough to forget everything we’ve been told and just drop our pants, so to speak. The reality is a slow, cautious peeking at the dusty old dating diaries and websites, trying to remember our last one night stand hundreds of years ago, tracking down our sexy pants from among the mountains of tatty track pants and thinking, just thinking, we might like to go on an actual date with a total stranger.”
Sex educator Ruby Rare thinks it’s likely casual sex will slowly increase as we get used to spending time indoors together again, but you shouldn’t push yourself to get back on the horse until you’re ready.
“I’m really happy to see the boom in condom sales, as it’s an indicator that people are making active choices about their sexual health ahead of time,” she says.
“But ultimately it’s about what feels right for you, rather than trying to follow the trend. If you’re over-the-moon to be having sex again, and you’re doing it safely, go for it! And if you’re taking your time to ease back into all forms of socialising - sexy or otherwise - that’s also absolutely ok.”