Anyway, How is Your Sex Life? Due to Pandemic, 'Collective Libido' Seems to Have Plummeted

CC0 / Pixabay / A couple in bed
A couple in bed - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.01.2022
After the coronavirus outbreak, humanity's drive for social interactions, travel, and meeting new people hit a brick wall made up of strict restrictions and health guidelines, along with pandemic-induced mental health issues. This has not left our sex life unaffected.
One of the world's largest condom-making companies, Karex, has revealed that the last two years have dramatically affected its sales, cutting them by as much as 40 percent. According to some observers, who refer not only to a single company's decline in sales but also to several studies on the matter, the issue could be about a decrease in the so-called "collective libido".
What some see as a logical outcome of the two years of the pandemic, which has affected the majority of "social" areas of human life, appears to have had its roots before the coronavirus outbreak. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior published in 2021, sexual activity decreased in the US and other countries between 2009 and 2018.
The matter appears to be more complex than simply assuming the coronavirus pandemic caused people to want less sex. According to Treena Orchard, an associate professor at the School of Health Studies at the Western University of Ontario, Canada, there is actually "tremendous variability" in terms of how COVID-19 has impacted our sex life.

"I wouldn't say it's 'dead' by any means, evidenced by the massive upswing in sales of sex toys, sexual webinars, and dating app use", Orchard notes, without denying that the pandemic has "dramatically affected our desire for sex and also the role of sex in our lives".

With the world metaphorically "burning", overcome by the coronavirus, "the pursuit of pleasure and intimacy can become secondary issues", Orchard acknowledged.
Still, the "collective libido" has not been impacted the same way for everyone, she believes.

"We've seen it rise and fall over the course of the last two years", Orchard explains. "These ebbs and flows are about much more than sexuality and desire, it's linked with opportunities for in-person interactions and the resurgence of ever-more varieties of the virus, which then spawns a new set of government-mandated restrictions. All of it impacts how and if we can spend time together and do 'dating' things like going for dinner, vacationing, hooking up, and so forth".

For some couples, the pandemic resulted in exactly what many predicted it would cause when the outbreak started: an increased amount of sex, sexual excitement, and deepening intimacy.
However, it appears that the pandemic is not the only thing impacting the trend of what some people have already dubbed a "sexual recession". During the period studied in the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, many new social media platforms emerged, posing rivalry to sexual activity.
Along with that, according to Orchard, there is a trend of Generation Z not wanting to align themselves with "the labels and ideologies of older generations".

"Many of [them] don't use the word relationship and don't want to be wedged into categories they deem to be old-fashioned and rigid in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation, both of which are incredibly diverse and fluid among this cohort", Orchard reveals. "Sex is glamorized and associated with fear, still, in our society, whether it's the fear of pregnancy, infections, violence, these complex associations with sex are everywhere".

She also lists misogynous and judgmental ideas about women and minority groups, toxic masculinity, and violent behaviour as factors that impact the new generation's view of sex and sexuality.
Still, despite numerous benefits that sexual activity has for both physical and mental health, the decline should not be alarming for scientists, especially in light of the pandemic, Orchard says, commenting on concerns about possible demographic decline such trends could cause around the world.

"These are natural responses to an unprecedented global event that has unleashed untold effects into each of our lives, and it will be years before we can really understand the long-term impact of the different sexual trends on our global society", she explains.

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