Covid-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives, including our interpersonal relationships with people. Most people are obeying the government restrictions to keep themselves and their families safe and happy, but is it possible we’re taking it too far?
One study reported that young people were having sex less frequently in a demographic that typically has a heightened level of sexual activity.1 While there were other reasons cited, Covid-19 is one probable reason. And since younger adults often engage in random or short-term relationships, they may have fewer opportunities to do so during the pandemic. One woman recorded in The New York Times that there has come an end to frivolous sex.2
And it’s not just singles who aren’t having sex either, but also couples and married couples. For others who are in committed relationships, they may not feel comfortable engaging in such behavior. And the reason? Because they’re scared of being infected with Covid and passing it along to their loved ones.
But a study done by The Journal of Sexual Medicines suggests that there are sexual benefits for the human mind and body and that we could be missing out if we abstain from sex.
Sexual activity is defined as inducing sexual arousal (in the brain and genitals) either by yourself or with a male or female partner. It’s not as simple as feeling happy having your back massaged. There must be sexual arousal involved, which may or may not lead to orgasm.
Sexual activity may involve physical or mental aspects. For example, physically, you may stroke your partner, or it may include penetration. At the same time, mentally, you may fantasize about sex or even watch a video or read a book or magazine.
If you’ve been abstaining, it may be hard to remember the benefits. But after a blissful evening with your partner, you feel warm, happy, and loved. It’s no surprise that sexual activity can give a positive psychological response to your mind. If you were stressed out before you went to bed, you’d shortly feel better during the after-glow of sex. This is because sexual activity releases endorphin within your brain4, also known as “love hormones."
This endorphin release is also what encourages us to repeat the sexual activity again and again. However, if you’ve been abstaining in the past year, you may have forgotten how wonderful it made you feel.
Besides that positive psychological response, you’ll also improve the relationship you have with your partner or spouse. This is why many “one-night-stands” turn into relationships when we least expect it. Soon, there’s engagement and marriage as one of their benefits is “regular sex."
It’s no surprise that feeling mentally unwell can lead to physical ailments. Stress triggers cortisol, which helps you survive in a short “life or death” situation. But unfortunately, if stress doesn’t go away, your body is continuously subjected to cortisol release and effect.8 A high level of cortisol can lead to severe health conditions such as an increased risk of high blood pressure and inflammation in the body; as a result, it can lead to death. Sexual activity can decrease cortisol levels in your brain so that it will no longer impact your health.
Finally, a sexual activity also helps to improve your overall sexual health. There’s that saying, “use it or lose it." If you’ve abstained for a while, it may take a few tries before you have a full erection or have that orgasm again.
Decreased sexual activity may have occurred in your life and likely tapered off without you even knowing it. Covid has impacted all aspects of our life, but our mental well-being has taken a big hit.5 Even if we’re working at home and taking the proper precautions with a mask and hand sanitizer. We may still feel scared and paranoid about our loved ones, or we will get sick.
This feeling has led to depression and anxiety for a more significant portion of the population. Right now, many businesses are thriving, selling their chocolates, liquor, and streaming services. While those are fun to enjoy on occasion, being sedentary and eating the wrong things isn’t the answer.
Sexual activity is not only normal; it’s also healthy for all adults. Covid has affected our sexual behavior. If you’re concerned, it’s possible to turn that around and be healthy and happy once again.
Like you’ll slowly start a new diet or exercise routine, we recommend easing back into healthy sex life. Set aside one hour every couple of days to spend with your partner.
It doesn’t even need to be full-on sex initially; you can role-play or give each other massages. Within a short period, you’ll be back to enjoying your normal sexual activities.
If you’re single and don’t have a regular partner, you’ll need to be extra cautious. Canada’s Provincial Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says you need to wear a face mask and condom during sex.6 And now might be the time to commit to a relationship.7
The Covid-19 lockdown has affected every single adult on this planet, and most in negative ways. Sex is a natural and fun activity that most adults enjoyed before the pandemic. The only way we’ll heal is by resuming normal but safe activities, such as sex. Sexual activity can benefit both body and mind by reducing your anxiety and depression levels.