Yes, sex really is suffering. As a result of a number of factors, both sex drive and frequency of sex are down. And, interestingly, so are sperm counts.
The main culprit is CoVid 19. Cohabitating couples did okay during the first pandemic wave. For many, the virus provided an opportunity to retreat from the world and enjoy long overdue private time together.
When the second wave hit, though, intimacy took a hit. Pressures mounted. Childcare and homeschooling presented daily challenges. Risk accompanied the simplest of tasks. The crisis grew exponentially with no end in sight. On top of it all, a momentous presidential election loomed.
By the third wave, forget about it.
Living Alone During the Pandemic
For many single people and lovers living apart, sex became a fading memory in the rear view mirror of their mind’s eye. At first, sex toy sales, porn viewing, sexting and masturbation went up. Eventually, the new pandemic-enforced norms caught up with reality. Many individuals missed real live sex with a living, breathing partner. Nothing took the place of simple human contact.
In order to find out more about CoVid’s impact upon sex lives, we reached out to random readers. We asked them to share their stories with us. What did you miss the most from your pre-pandemic life? How did your sex life change? A number of respondents struggled to express their deepest feelings and asked that we conceal their identity when we post their words. Hence, we changed the names of those whose words we chose to publish.
He is a middle aged Black heterosexual man and is currently single.
Not sexually active at all. It’s been very rough. I’ll tell you this, though. I’ve learned how to pleasure myself more. If I see you without a mask, then you can’t even come over to my house. I know too many people who have died and not willing to do this. During the pandemic I didn’t even look into dating.
I’ve been focused on my business and it’s keeping me busy. It’s been a God-send. I am so wrapped up in my business, it’s taking over the wants and desires of my personal intimacy side. It’s taken over 80 to 85% of my time. And, I’ve been able to get past my personal issues. Relationships moving forward will not happen. This shit ain’t going nowhere anytime soon. A bunch of uneducated, ignorant people who don’t care are without masks. They’ll be stagnant for a while.
I don’t have any underlying illnesses. People who died didn’t either. Just trying to make sure I’m safe. I don’t want to give it to my clients. When I say I’m not bullshitting you, I’m not bullshitting you. The news will tell you what’s going on, look at the Miami Spring Break crowd. That will tell you the direction we’re headed in. They’re like ‘fuck the health part of it, let’s let people die.’ Crazy, imagine you’re the reason one of your parents die!
Most of my friends are married and it’s about the same. When I was in the military we used to deal with biological agents and I can see what can happen. I wipe down, I’m clean. When you’re around me in close proximity, you’re required to wear a mask.
She is a single, mature woman in her late ‘60’s, early ‘70’s living alone.
The virus has not had an impact upon me relationship wise. It’s had an impact upon me doing my job. Minimal services were open. Everything went to Zoom in terms of communication. In regards to my friends, none of them seem to be affected by the pandemic in regards to relationship and sex. It’s possible that it’s the age bracket. Everyone stayed put inside of their homes. Whether single or married, everyone stayed at home so to not be affected by the crisis. It became boring at times, not being able to go out. But the concern was more about health than sex and intimacy.
Sex Is Suffering
He is a married Black man in his early 30’s displaced by the pandemic.
I’ve had more sex during the pandemic than during normal times. I’ve had more sex during the pandemic than I’ve had during “normal” times. Turns out, when you’re paid to be at home, you’re getting paid to get laid. It’s pretty great actually. Wake up? Sex. Shower? More sex. Netflix? Sex. In a zoom meeting? Mute the mic, turn off the camera. Sex. Bedtime sex. Late night sex. Hell, we’ve even had after-sex sex. Surprisingly, it hasn’t gotten boring either. Covid may be deadly, but its been helping me to kill it in the bedroom.
Sex Is Suffering
For me, the pandemic has allowed me to put things into perspective, especially intimacy. Intimacy is being able to see into a person’s soul. So, with that said, I’ve had more valuable conversations with my man that did not get clouded by sex.
Lisa Sex Is Suffering
Our quality time together is more often now and it has not affected our intimacy but we do miss our outside adventures together.
Bella Sex Is Suffering
Bella is a heterosexual woman of color who lives with her three children. Currently, she is not involved in an intimate relationship.
“Hmmm, this is an interesting question because there is so much to enjoy when you’re with the one you love. And, there’s so much to miss when you’re not. Let me say it this way. If it’s a random once in a blue moon type of guy that I eventually hook up with, then I want to have intercourse with him. I don’t want him sticking his ding-a-ling in my mouth. I don’t know where he’s been. At least with intercourse I can use a condom.
If I have to say what the one sexual act I miss the most is, then I say oral. Uuuugh, I wish I didn’t have to choose, though.
All intimacy has its positive features. With intercourse you can kiss while your genitals play. But oral is very intimate and generous… gifting each other pleasure and 100% attention – almost a form of personal worship. I miss it all.”
Manuel Sex Is Suffering
Manuel is bi-racial, heterosexual and separated from his female partner. They live on opposite sides of the country. As a result, the last time they saw each was one year ago.
“I miss unguarded moments watching her undress as she prepares for bed. It’s those moments I most long for, when I hear her first breaths of sleep as she lies next to me, naked. I miss her scent and her taste. What I wouldn’t give to hear her low moans again when I eat her and squeeze her erect nipples. My fingers cry for her nipples. They miss coming up behind her in the kitchen, finding their way under her top and cupping her breasts. My eyes starve for her girlish smile when she peers at me over shoulder. I miss biting her bootie, squeezing her bootie. Dang, just miss the whole damn bootie!
I just fucking miss her, every little bit of her, every sexy little detail, gesture, curve, and nuance.”
Rachelle Sex Is Suffering
Rachelle is an African American woman in her mid-50’s. She is married and does not have children.
“When all this started, my husband began watching sports on TV constantly. He watched things that he never before expressed any interest in. I knew about his love affair with football and thought once that season ended I’d get him back. But then he started watching golf. If it wasn’t golf, it was tennis. Then there was basketball. One day I heard him shouting “goal” from the living room and he had a soccer game on.
Before the virus we had a good sex life but after? Forget about it. I lost my man to the ESPN sports channel.
One day, I said ‘enough.’ While he sat in front of the TV cheering on some damn team, I showered, lotioned up, put on my sexiest perfume and walked butt naked out into the living room. He didn’t even notice.
So, I walked over and stood right in front of the TV, stark naked, mind you. You might not believe this, but he started moving from side to side to see around me.
Now, I may be in my 50’s, but I’m a good looking woman. This man had the nerve to say to me, “Honey, my team is just about to score a touchdown.”
I didn’t say a thing, just slowly walked towards him and stopped with my pretty stuff a couple of inches from his face. Finally, I got his attention. Again, I didn’t say a thing. I just took my fingers, ran them along my pussy and rubbed the moisture across his lips. “Here,” I said, “touch down on this.”
As I turned away, I let him get a good look at my black behind and returned to the bedroom. When he didn’t follow, I told him he can move into the guest room. It’s been like that ever since.”
Austin Sex Is Suffering
Austin and his partner have an open relationship. They live together and are primary lovers but both led very independent lives prior to the pandemic. Both he and his partner are Black. She attends church, he doesn’t. She gets dressed up each Sunday morning for online service. He stays in bed.
“Like so many other people, our lives changed a lot. Our old ‘normal’ meant we went out a lot and spent time with other people. Being locked up together was the first time where all of our attention was focused on each other. We still had virtual relationships, but, really, we learned how to be together as a couple. Figuring out how to blend our previous independence into an everyday thing took a lot of time and a lot of talk. But, it’s been worth it. We actually find ourselves in a place where we love being together, just us.
Getting Ready for Church
Here’s an example of what I mean. She attends online church every Sunday morning, excuse the pun, religiously. At first, like everything else, I just let her do her thing. But one morning, I stood at the bathroom door and watched her ready herself for the early service.
She stood in front of the bathroom mirror and tried to button the back of a new dress. It was really soft material, purple and it hugged her gorgeous curves just right. Her scent filled the small space. I watched her struggle with the button. Just as my eyes fixed on the sexy way the dress pulled across her bootie, she turned to look at me. “What?” she asked.
“Nothing, just nice to see you this morning.” I wanted to say something else but didn’t because she was getting ready for church. Something like, “Dang, girl, you are looking so fine this morning that you took my breath away.”
To Button or Unbutton?
Once I gathered myself, I said, “You need me to button that for you?”
She stepped toward me, turned away and bent her head down. The radiance of the purple cloth against her chocolate skin struck me. I fought the urge to unbutton rather than button up her dress.
I listened to the sound of her breath, mesmerized by the palate of rich brown hues of her exposed skin. My fingers fumbled with the button. I kissed her neck. When she didn’t pull away, I kissed her some more. She reached back and touched my face and whispered “don’t stop, I can miss church today.”
The most beautiful love making followed. Despite, or maybe, because of the pandemic, we now have no desire to be with anyone else.”
Eleanor Sex Is Suffering
Eleanor is single, mixed race, lives alone and in her late 40’s. She did not reveal her sexual orientation other than to say that she is a widow. At first, she was willing to share her thoughts about missing sex but then drew back.
“As I said, I miss sex a lot. I miss a man’s girth inside me. Dancing helps but I am tired of dancing alone. As soon as this virus gives us some peace, I want to dance with another human being.
I am a highly sexed woman. When I decide to love someone, I do it with all of my heart. So, these conversations about sex arouse me and not in a good way. All they do is make me miss it more. If we were intimate with each other, then I could tell you in detail what I miss and desire. But, after we hung up from our first conversation, it just opened the lid on things I keep in a safe place. I can’t be locked up in this place and running around crazy thinking about sex. Once I open that lid…just let me say, it’s a lot.
God and Desire
I am private and bible-centered. So, I’m not the kind of person who can get aroused and then just have sex with someone I don’t love. I’m not into toys, either. They just add to my desire for the real thing.
Sex to me is something sacred between two people and so are conversations about it. As I mentioned, I love to dance. Sex is like a dance for me. When I find the right partner, we just get better at the dance and I feel like I’m flying with them.
I need balance in my life. Talking about sex throws that off. It makes me want sex and I am not in a place where I can satisfy those needs right now. I’m not in a place where I can talk anymore about it with you. Sorry.”
Advice from the Experts
Sex Is Suffering
Needless to say, sex experts have weighed in on the issue. Even though relationship advice from therapists like Esther Perel is helpful, the virus remains. And, many people reached their wit’s end with advice a long time ago.
We acknowledge that the mental, sexual and emotional impact of the pandemic are as real as its threats to physical health. Words spoken by those we interviewed affirm that.
Remember, this, too, will pass. In the meantime, ready yourself for your post-pandemic life. Please get vaccinated and do whatever you can to stay healthy. Where our lives may never return to a familiar normal, know that we will dance again. Until then, don’t forget to cherish what we have and never takes life’s true joys for granted.
Above all, love the best you can while you can. Sometimes, it’s all we have.