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We’d barely uttered the words “social isolation” before the jokes began: with everyone spending more time with their partners, there’ll be a baby boom in nine months. Or so the theory went.
So as the reality of the lockdown sets in, is the nation embracing daytime sex? Or are we having a hot and steamy hiatus?
“Our sex life is better,” Dawn, 44, from Kent, tells me. “We have time. Life is slower. He’s helpful with the kids which is mega attractive, so I fancy him more. Plus he’s working hard from home and that’s pretty sexy at times.”
With three children aged 10, seven and one, Dawn says sex was reduced to a “sneaky shag” after a night out and a few drinks pre-lockdown. But being thrown into this strange situation – sharing worries, laughter and spontaneous “pats on the bum” on a daily basis – has boosted intimacy in her relationship.
“There’s more light petting, hugging and being nice to each other,” she says. “It’s not a shagathon at all, but it’s nicer that we’ve connected.”
Gigi Engle, a certified sex coach, is definitely seizing this opportunity to have more time in the bedroom. She is a sex coach, after all. “We have a lively sex life normally, but we’re much more intimate during isolation,” she says. “Sex is an amazing stress relief and helps couples to reinforce bonds.”
But not everyone is feeling horny. Rebecca, 40, is a Brit who moved to Italy with her partner pre-lockdown, so they’ve now spent more than four weeks exclusively in each other’s company. “I have zero libido,” she tells me.
“We’re getting on okay, but I feel very disconnected and stressed in general, so I find I just want to be on my own and go to bed early.”
As a parent, she’s finding childcare during lockdown tiring – and also, she’d just really, really like some space. “Not being able to separate from my partner for weeks is killing desire a bit,” she says. “I need my own space to feel sexy!”
“Not being able to separate from my partner for weeks is killing desire a bit.”
Things are getting even more complicated for couples who just aren’t on the same (sex) page. Sian, 27, from Essex, says she’s usually the one to initiate it in her relationship, but roles have reversed since lockdown started.
“I usually have quite a sex drive and he’s often not in the mood, so pre-lockdown I was lucky if we had sex once a week,” she says. “But now he wants it a lot more, and for the first time ever... I’m not that interested.”
Sian’s partner is a teacher who’s not currently going into school, so she thinks this may be the source of his new found, ahem, energy. “He doesn’t have any work to do so he’s spending all day in bed playing video games,” she says.
“He’s trying to initiate sex a lot more, but I’ve found myself using excuses like the classic headache, or pretending to have fallen asleep super early because I’m not in the mood. I think his laziness could be turning me off.”
Harsh but fair, Sian. Perhaps daytime sex isn’t on the rise for a lot of us and instead, the nation is engaging in a little self-love. Solo sex toy sales are apparently through the roof right now – although, it’s hard to know if the stats are accurate, or if the numbers have been carefully crafted for some timely marketing.
Still, with news that there could be a global condom shortage as production lines halt, some self-pleasure is probably a good idea. If not, we may be seeing that baby boom after all.