Condom sales slump – how to get over your lockdown ‘sex fright’
Top tips for getting your sex life back on track
By Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director of Kegel8
Lockdown has meant months of either forced proximity or forced separation for couples. Combined with the stresses of health worries, job insecurity and being stuck in our homes, relationships and intimacy have (unsurprisingly) suffered.
Whether you’ve been with each other 24/7 or are reconnecting after months apart, Stephanie Taylor, intimate health expert and Managing Director of pelvic healthcare company Kegel8, gives her top tips for getting your sex life back on track…
There’s no shame in feeling a little out of practice if you haven’t been intimate with your partner in a while. Or if you’ve spent lockdown together you may have fallen into a sexual routine that is boring or unsatisfying.
If you want to reignite that spark in your relationship, be honest about how you feel and what you want. Laying everything out on the table will mean there’s no awkwardly side-stepping an issue which can lead to tension.
This is the perfect time to explore, reconnect and find new things you both like.
Low self-esteem is one of the biggest libido killers and during lockdown, with no important social plans, you may have let yourself go. Who hasn’t!?
Looking good is all about feeling good, so take time out to focus on you. Take a long relaxing bath rather than a shower, invest in some at-home beauty treatments while the salons are still closed, and slip into your favourite lingerie set.
Sweat it out
Exercise is one of the best libido boosters. A regular fitness routine can give you the benefit of higher energy levels and increased stamina, making you more physically engaged in sex.
Aerobic exercise, like running, cycling and swimming, can also improve blood circulation around the body, including to your intimate area. Better blood flow can increase your chances of reaching climax and when you do, it will feel more intense.
Exercise can also give your mental wellbeing a real boost. When you work out, your body releases endorphins and lowers your levels of cortisol. Cortisol is also known as “the stress hormone” and this is a real libido killer. Now that’s a reason to get moving!
Sex isn’t all about being performative and pleasing the other person, it’s also for yourself.
If you’ve been locked down alone or have gone through a dry patch in 2020, it can help to get back to basics. Masturbation can help you re-familiarise yourself with all the things you personally like and give you your sexual confidence back.
Experimenting with self-pleasure can also increase your stamina in the bedroom, giving both you and your partner more time to enjoy sex.
Cut it out
Having an unhealthy lifestyle can be seriously damaging to your libido.
It’s easy to turn to vices in stressful times but eating a diet high in saturated fat and refined sugar, smoking and heavy drinking can all affect your sex drive.
Libido-boosting foods are commonly called aphrodisiacs, after Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love. If you’re not into oysters, a diet rich in grains, pulses, avocados, leafy greens, fresh fruit and nuts should do the trick. Opt for low alcohol alternatives to your favourite tipple too.
Don’t suffer in silence
Sexual dysfunction is more common than you might think. For millions of women, pain or discomfort during sex is a reality. In fact, researchers estimate at least 1 in 13 British women experience it.
There’s a long list of things which can cause sex to be painful or uncomfortable for both partners, from Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Vaginal Atrophy (dryness), to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and STIs.
Don’t suffer in silence, your GP or gynecologist can discuss this with you and provide the right recommendations and treatments.