SARAH BUITENDACH: Has Covid-19 destroyed sex too?
Apparently the ‘We’re at home all the time, so are doing it a lot’ shtick is a ruse, a dastardly lie foisted upon us by the liberal media and our own bragging mates
Trust the Australians to suggest that having sex with a person outside your bubble is safest when you observe the rule about being 1.5m apart. The mind runs wild. How would you even manage such a thing? Long arms? Toes? Didgeridoos?
Perhaps they’re making like John Dillermand, the claymation character in an inexplicable new Danish kid’s show billed as having the world’s longest penis?
As The Guardian explains, “John Dillermand has an extraordinary penis. So extraordinary, in fact, that it can perform rescue operations, etch murals, hoist a flag and even steal ice cream from children.”
OK, I’m joking – I know that creative clay and exceptional extremities are not what the people over at the New South Wales government’s Playsafe website were on about when they posted the idea.
Indeed, they were referring to mutual masturbation being the safest of sex options right now.
While that might be a reasonable suggestion, one does wonder why a state outfit feels the need to be weighing in on such matters, in such squeamish detail.
A tweet of “casual sex and sex-related stuff is dangerous right now” would have sufficed, don’t you think? The website is about sexual health generally – but it’s the Covid bits, including the “if you must” offering of “wear a three-layer mask to cover your nose and mouth if you can”, that have caused fits of giggles.
And, inevitably, it has triggered grumbling by both Aussie politicians and citizens, who reckon the advisory site is a big waste of taxpayer money.
Can you imagine the guidance that would emerge were SA to have its own Cosmopolitan magazine-meets-government-mashup website? Would we see headlines like “Sex on the beach: cocktail recipe or ultimate Covid danger?”, or “How the booze ban saved you from bad sex”, or even “56,787 sex positions to try — one for each day we wait for the vaccine”.
Maybe, on second thoughts, they should look into it – I’d read those.
Not so fast …
Though probably they needn’t bother. It seems that loads of people aren’t having sex anyway. Apparently the “We’re at home all the time, so are doing it a lot” shtick is a ruse, a dastardly lie foisted upon us by the liberal media and our own bragging mates.
The UK, in fact, is mired in what’s called a “sexual recession”. In a survey of 2,000 Brits conducted by sex toy brand MysteryVibe, a third said they had less sex in 2020 than in 2019.
As Refinery29 explains: “A quarter of Brits said they hadn’t had sex at all in 2020 – not too surprising given the ways in which Covid-19 has changed dating, though people in relationships said their sex lives had been affected too.”
There were different reasons for it, however. “Nearly 40% of Brits said they had less sex in 2020 because their libido had decreased, while 25% attributed their lack of sexual activity to greater anxiety as the pandemic took hold.”
Over in the US, it’s the same story. As the MDlinx website points out, “a recent study by researchers at Indiana University (IU) found that nearly half (49.2%) of a nationally representative sample of 1,010 American adults reported some kind of change — most commonly, a decrease — in their sexual behaviour during the Covid-19 outbreak”.
The piece goes on: “Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sex counsellor, told Health magazine: ‘If you’re home all day and you’re not changing out of your pyjamas or applying as much self-care or going to the gym, your sexual self-esteem can start to go down. You may stop seeing your partner as sexy too and think of them as just someone familiar.’”
SA can’t be too dissimilar from either of those cases. Financial stress, home-schooling, diminished dating, sickness and bereavement probably aren’t fanning our home fires either.
We’d all do well to remember that this isn’t Bridgerton. In the hit Netflix series, the Regency-styled leads are constantly at it — in the library, on the lawn, on the staircase, in the bathroom, on the ceiling. And so on. Ask the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, and she’ll tell you it’s a total fantasy, where the 1.5m rule definitely doesn’t apply.
Either way, perhaps it’s a fantasy we all need to watch again for a little much-needed, erm, inspiration.
*Buitendach is editor of the FM’s Life section
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