For many, the lockdown has shut down more than their freedom to go out. It has also shut down their libido.
Marian O’Connor, couple and psychosexual therapist at Tavistock Relationships, explains: ‘Seeing your partner at breakfast, lunch, and dinner; hearing them shout at the kids; and juggling work and home education has increased stress and irritability and dampened sexual desire for many couples.
‘For some, any libido has been directed towards internet porn. Lockdown has enabled unlimited access to laptops for hours on end. Sexual interest and excitement have become associated with secrecy and the computer screen.’
It is possible for couples to reconnect sexually after months of lockdown, but re-establishing sexual intimacy will require effort and commitment.
Marian advises: ‘If sex hasn’t happened for months, it is important that couples talk about the issue and think together about how to restart sexual intimacy. It is more important to be realistic than to waste time bewailing the lack of spontaneity.
‘Don’t start the conversation late at night in the bedroom, when your partner is half asleep. Instead, bring it up on a walk or over lunch, and try to make it an open discussion rather than one of blame or anger. Say something like: “We haven’t had sex for months; I’d like to get close again, but I’m not sure how. What do you think?”’
‘Suggesting a romantic meal or a night out to put you both in the mood might be helpful. And timetabling sexual activity can also work, for example, suggesting that you could go to bed early on a particular night.’
There’s more to sexual intimacy than sexual intercourse
Marian explains: ‘Restarting your sex life could give you an opportunity to get to know your own, and your partner’s, body again. Perhaps start off with a massage, noticing what turns you on, whether giving or receiving the massage. Or you could invest in a sex toy as a way of playing around and having fun together.’
Psychosexual therapists at Tavistock Relationships offer confidential and professional help to couples and individuals who are worried about sexual issues. Talking about sexual problems can seem daunting, but most people feel really relieved to discuss the problems that may have been bothering them for some time.
For more information, go to their website or call 020 7380 1960.
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