Struggling to cope with life in lockdown with your partner?
In this feature, we’ll be looking at the challenges faced by couples living together in lockdown including the impact that such prolonged exposure to one another can have on a relationship. In particular, we’ll be looking at ways you and your partner can use this time more wisely. Instead of bickering about how long you should be washing your hands for, why not take this opportunity to get more intimate and re-energize your sex life?
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some suggested tips and advice to rediscover your passionate side including some new ideas for the bedroom….and beyond!
Couples Stuck in Coronavirus Lockdown
The imposed lockdown for households in many countries has meant that, unless you are going to the shops, traveling to and from an essential place of work, getting medical supplies or undertaking your one form of exercise per day, much of the world is being asked to stay at home. For many people, this means isolation from friends and family and spending this time alone. For others, the lockdown means that they are spending more time with their partner than (perhaps) they ever have.
When you think about it, even married couples rarely spend more than a few hours together each day with most of us ‘enjoying’ the pleasure of our work colleague’s company for much of our time. Weekends too are often spent pursuing separate activities whether it’s a hobby, catching up with friends or occupying ourselves alone.
The current situation is forcing many couples to spend an ‘unnatural’ and prolonged period of time in close proximity and this is no doubt having an impact on relationships as a result.
From those couples who may have only recently moved in together to those who have spent many years living in the same house, the lockdown can take its toll in many and varied ways.
In the UK, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer confirmed that couples who were not already cohabiting prior to the introduction of the lockdown should test their relationship by moving in together during this period. The advice comes as the British Government confirmed that visiting your partner was not a valid reason for leaving your home.
There are even some couples in very new relationships who have decided to jump feet first into cohabiting for the duration of the lockdown. Some have only just been matched on apps like Tinder but have moved in with their short-time lovers. Known as ‘Corona Cuffing’, this fast-track trend for intimacy in these unsettling times is creating some feel-good lockdown love stories.
For some couples though, the honeymoon period may be long since passed and spending so much time with your other half may no longer be as appealing!
Coronavirus Quarantine: Putting Relationships to the Test
Whether you are isolating alone or with a partner or even in a larger family group, the current global health crisis is having a deep psychological impact on all of us. These are stressful times and whether you have been directly affected physically by the virus, working in front line services, worried for relatives and friends, or the future financially there is a massive mental strain being felt across the wider international community.
For some, there are additional things to cope with; home-schooling and dealing with children who may also have fears and anxieties of their own, trying to work remotely and keep a salary coming in. Shopping for essentials, staying in contact with relatives or maybe helping with local community aid programs…these are unprecedented times and are taking their toll on our bodies and minds.
Yes, we are all in this together but the level of stress is often reaching a pinch point in our own homes and, importantly, with the people we share this space with.
For those of us cohabiting with partners, this can unfortunately manifest itself in a negative way with couples arguing more frequently and sometimes, unfortunately, ending in violent behavior.
A recent article by Bloomberg reported that since the lockdown measures have been lifted in China, divorce lawyers are seeing a major increase in their caseloads with one law firm claiming to have had a 25% increase in couples seeking a judicial separation.
Sadly, domestic violence is also on the rise with many agencies around the world reporting increased calls to their hotlines.
Whilst (hopefully) many of us will not see our relationships deteriorate to the point where divorce or violence are the only options but it does underline the pressures that spending so much time with one person can have.
In these strange, unusual and frightening times, much of the world is taking stock of those things that are really important in our lives; not money but food, not extravagant holidays but health and not fame but real-life connections.
For many, this crisis has presented us with an opportunity to turn the tide on ‘taking things and people for granted’ and to restore some warmth and passion into our lives.
The Importance of Sex in a Relationship
The kinds of web pages that you find when Googling this topic are more likely to have been bookmarked by men in an attempt to back up their desire for more regular sex with evidence. Yet, there is no need to take such a defensive line with this argument; the facts are pretty clear that sex is a crucial part of a relationship.
Here are ten reasons why sex should be at the top of your priority list:
1. Good Exercise
Yes, a 30-minute session of sex could burn up to 276 kCal (men)/213 kCal (women). A far more enjoyable way to burn off some calories and more than if you jumped rope for twenty minutes instead.
It obviously depends on how long and how vigorous your lovemaking is but this 2013 study suggests that even a moderately energetic spin in the sack can burn 85 kCal.
2. Boost Your Immune System
No bad thing at all, particularly in the current circumstances where health is paramount, having sex regularly has been shown to be a great way to raise the level of certain antibodies.
A study by researchers at Wilkes University compared students who were sexually active at least once or twice a week with those who were ‘at it’ less regularly. The results showed that the first group of people were sick less frequently and were able to better defend their bodies against germs and viruses.
3. Improve Memory and Boost Your Brain Power
There have been plenty of studies whose results have suggested a correlative relationship between regular sex and improved cognitive function.
In a 2018 study led by Mark Allen of the University of Wollongong in Australia, data was analysed from 6,000 participants over the age of fifty and covered a two-year period. The results showed a clear association between those people who were enjoying frequent sexual activity (including kissing and other intimate activities) and better memory performance.
This particular study showed that the improvements were found in short-term memory performance only.
Other studies which support this claim include those undertaken by the UK institutes of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, all found that sex in their subjects improved their cognitive functions over a series of tasks from verbal fluency to spatial awareness.
4. Relieve Headaches
People who suffer from cluster headaches or migraines may find that sex can alleviate the symptoms of pain.
A survey published in 2013 surveyed 800 people who regularly suffered from idiopathic headaches. Over a third of respondents indicated that they had engaged in sexual activity during a migraine attack and 60% of these people stated that the severity of their symptoms had been reduced. A similar number of sufferers of cluster headaches had also tried sex during an attack but only a third of these patients found it helped.
The conclusion was that sex can certainly help provide partial to complete pain relief in some migraine and cluster headache patients.
5. Relieve Stress
In a study published in 2006 by Brody S, the blood pressure reactivity to stress levels were markedly lower for those who had recently engaged in penile-vaginal intercourse. The study compared this with people who had not engaged in any sexual activity or a different kind (including masturbation).
Sex releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that triggers our opiate receptors and causes us to feel less pain and stress as well as increasing that feeling of euphoria.
6. Improve Bladder Control
Both men and women need strong pelvic floor muscles in order to maintain strength of bladder control and sex is one of the best ways to give this area a workout. Contractions during orgasm stimulate muscle growth meaning you can improve bladder control.
7. Relax and Sleep Easier
Orgasms not only produce feelings of euphoria but our body also releases prolactin when we orgasm. This post-sex boost of the hormone that is produced in breast-feeding induces sleepiness and feelings of relaxation. So, a medicinal sex session at bedtime could be better than a cup of cocoa to help you sleep better.
8. Boost Self Confidence & Intimacy
Couples who have an active sexual life often do so for the emotional and psychological benefits. Sex promotes a greater feeling of intimacy between partners and can help you bond, improve self-confidence and connect at a deeper level.
A pleasurable way to show your partner you love them, couples who have sex regularly feel more secure in their relationship.
9. Lower Blood Pressure
The same study indicated above to reduce stress levels also shoed a link between regular sex and lower blood pressure. Other studies including one at Brigham Young University also linked frequent intercourse with a lowered systolic blood pressure.
10. Reduce Risk of Prostate Cancer
So, this one is just for the guys but studies show that men who ejaculate more frequently can lower their risk of developing this disease. Okay, you could do this on your own too but sex means your partner is taking an active role in protecting your health!
And, as a bonus reason ….
Having sex boosts your libido. This means that regular intercourse becomes more habitual and couples who make sure that physical intimacy is part of their routine won’t reach a point when sex becomes a chore. It’s sort of like a built-in way to keep you hooked!
Sex Life Tips for Couples in Lockdown
So, now we know how important sex can be in a relationship as well as just how much more crucial the benefits of harmony and improved intimacy can be during these stressful times of global lockdown…..what are the best ways to spark your love life?
There are lots of tips from sexologists and relationship counselors to help improve your sex life but not all are geared towards these exceptional times. Taking your partner out for date night may no longer be an option, nor does Netflix and Chill sound as appealing if you are spending much of the day doing this anyway!
We’ve sourced some of the most effective advice for re-energizing your sex lives under lockdown so you and your partner can improve your emotional bond, embrace intimacy and harness all of the positive benefits that sex can bring.
Talk To Your Partner
First off, we don’t mean discussing who didn’t put the bins out or why one of you spends hours on the phone to their friends.
Good communication is a vital ingredient for a healthy relationship and honesty about emotional and sexual problems can really bring you closer together. A shared intimacy in this area can seriously improve your connection with your partner.
Find a good time when you won’t be interrupted or distracted and you can give each other your full attention.
Listen to what your partner says and avoid criticizing or responding with blame; hear what they say and appreciate their honesty.
Some couples may already feel well connected in this regard so use this time instead, not to talk about problems to overcome but, to create a dialogue for sexual fantasies, wants and needs.
Intimacy starts with communication but is also a physical manifestation of love and trust and not just a sexual one. In order to be more comfortable sexually, express tenderness and care in other ways. Kissing, hugging, stroking and other non-sexual ways to make contact are all ways you can build a connection. Do this regularly, do this often and you will find that sex is just a natural progression of this.
You could try introducing what some couples call a commercial make-out where the breaks between TV shows are used to start foreplay but as soon as the program resumes, the saucy stuff ceases! It sounds frustrating but could be quite good fun and may eventually lead to some great sex when the show finally ends….if you can delay gratification that long!
Offer a Massage
If the above physical aspect of the relationship has dwindled over time and touching has become something you rarely do as a couple outside of the bedroom then offering a massage is a great step to restoring an intimate connection.
You can do this in a non-pressured way or you can set the mood for a more sensual experience with the addition of music, candles and some oil. Relaxing for both partners, touching one another in this way heightens the senses and increases the feelings of sensuality. You never know, it could very naturally lead on to other things too.
Dress to Impress
Whilst under lockdown, and without a focus like work to get ready for, a lot of people are reporting not getting dressed and staying in their PJs all day. Wholly understandable though this is, it doesn’t set the right mood and few people are turned on by this lack of care over a partner’s appearance.
We’re not suggesting leaping from bed straight into a tuxedo or cocktail dress but making an effort with how you look is an important way to show someone you care, not just about yourself but, about them too.
This includes taking regular showers, shaving and taking some care over your appearance. If you want to go one better then why not have a ‘night out (but in)’ where both of you get dressed up?
Alternatively, you could always do the complete opposite and have a fully Dress Down Day where you both get naked? Close the curtains, turn the heating up and spend the whole day without any clothes on. This suggestion might not be for everyone (particularly those with body issues) but could help with self-confidence and could be both liberating and erotic.
Talk The Talk
If you share your house with family (particularly if you have kids) and spontaneous sex is off the cards during the day then maybe you could text each other your plans for later. Sexting is a very good way to build some sexual tension and preview what you will do when you finally make it behind closed doors together.
Routine has been thrown out of the window at the moment so being spontaneous should be easier as we have less obligations taking up our time.
Spontaneity can help create a fresh energy in a relationship and (pleasant) surprises intensify our feelings of delight and (in the case of sexual one) our arousal.
It doesn’t have to be a huge thing and leaping out of the laundry room wearing just a thong might not get you the response you wanted but maybe you could do something romantic or exciting on the spur of the moment. Inviting your partner to join you in the shower, cooking a nice meal or putting on some music and having a dance might all be good ways to inject some spontaneity.
Slow Things Down
Just as a spontaneous quickie can be very rewarding, taking some time over sex can be equally as pleasurable.
Tantric sex is all about a slow form of sex which builds and strengthens intimacy as well as (reportedly) resulting in powerful orgasms. This ancient Hindu method involves putting in time and effort with a slow pace. It takes a lot of practice to increase stamina and to delay the orgasm but many couples swear by the results.
You don’t have to turn to Eastern sexual practices to benefit from a slow sex session and just exploring each other without any pressure of penetration should reap rewards for both of you.
Turn The Clocks
Again, trying to use spontaneity here to spark some fresh new moves, try and change your routines up when it comes to sex. A lot of couples who have cohabited for a long time tend to think only about sex at bedtime. Why not surprise your partner with some morning moves and waking them up with a spot of oral?
With lockdown offering a new way to use your time, be creative with when you decide to get steamy.
As Nike would say, Just Do It.
Sometimes we don’t feel in the mood but after a few minutes of some good foreplay or a bit of persuasive dirty talk, we can find that sex actually does seem like a good idea. Again, this is another way to break up bad habits and those routines that we can all get into. After a long day home schooling the kids and worrying about global economics, sex will help you relax and you’ll sleep a lot better afterwards (see above).
Switch Things Up
There’s nothing wrong with the missionary position or the bed for having sex in but your relationship might benefit from a change when it comes to how and where you do it.
The Kama Sutra isn’t half as scary as many people think and, approached in the right way, can be a lot of fun as well as pleasurable. If you don’t share your home with others, you could also try switching up where you have sex too.
Some couples turn this into a game where sex is allowed anywhere but the bedroom. Which means if you start foreplay in the bedroom, you can’t have sex until later somewhere else around the house…..or move quickly to another room!
This approach seems to work for delaying gratification and heightening the expectation. It may also remind us of a time when we used to sneak around our parent’s house trying to find somewhere to fool around.
Go Internet Shopping
Nothing adds a bit of spice to your sex life like a new toy to play with and the lockdown still means that you can go internet shopping for adult accessories.
From vibrators to dildos, butt plugs to cock rings there’s a variety of products designed to increase pleasure and can be a lot of fun to try out. Go shopping together online so you can decide on what to buy that is suitable for both of you.
Host a Sexy Game Night
We recently ran a feature on the Best Sex Apps For Couples to enjoy which showcases the best digital downloads you can access to inject some fun into your love life.
For those who prefer a more traditional approach to games, we also covered adult card and board games in a separate article. From original and novelty themes to fetishes and kinks, there’s everything from sex dominoes and Kama Sutra playing cards to XXXopoly and Glow in the Dark Sex. Most of these will still be available to order from online retailers.
Intended to inject a bit of fun into sex, all of these games can be played with just your partner during lockdown.
Have a Blue Movie Night
We suspect that the TV is becoming the focal point for a lot of people during the quarantine and suggesting a movie night is probably pointless because you’re already doing this 24/7. So, why not watch some porn together instead?
There’s no need to feel guilty about it, porn viewing figures have been rocketing during the lockdown. Across Europe, porn internet hosting giants Pornhub have been giving away free premium access for the worst affected countries and traffic has risen by as much as 24.5%.
Find a genre of porn that you can both enjoy together; there’s plenty of free websites that offer female-friendly porn as well as some great premium studios.
Start As You Mean to Go On
And finally, when the lockdown comes to an end, we’d urge you to carry on injecting some of these new ideas and routines into your sex life. After all, we shouldn’t need to wait until a global health pandemic before appreciating the restorative and pleasurable powers of sex.
Enjoy each other and stay safe.
Featured image via PxHere.