We’ve now been quarantined for five months and counting. Not really sure what day it is, not really sure if life will ever get back to normal, and not really sure how Netflix keeps making us binge shows we never thought we’d want to watch. We count ourselves lucky, considering how many people are currently suffering. Those who are forced to risk their health to go into work, those who have been laid off from their jobs, and those who have loved ones battling COVID have a lot of additional stressors. However you’ve been impacted, one thing is for certain: none of it is sexy.
Sex might be the furthest thing from your mind. Or maybe you’re revved up, but your partner just never seems to be in the mood. In times like this, especially if you’re quarantined together in a tiny apartment, it’s easy to go from being lovers to being roommates. Neither of you are in your normal routine, and while there seems to be lots of time, it never feels like the right time for sex.
“That intimacy, that connectedness, it takes work,” says relationship coach Irene Abbou. “Sex gets put on the backburner and before you know it, weeks or months go by and you become roommates at that point.”
If you feel like the spark is going out, don’t fear: with a little energy, intention, and creativity, you can reverse course. Here, Abbou shares some tips for how you can bring some sexy back into your life.
Get some exercise
Getting winded walking from your couch to the refrigerator? Doesn’t bode well for stamina in the bedroom. With gyms closed and no commuting, many of us aren’t getting our usual level of exercise. “There is a proven link between exercise and a more fulfilling sex life,” says Abbou. “Moving your body not only increases self-confidence, it actually increases the arousal hormone testosterone and prepares your body for sensual activities by making you more sensitive to touch.”
Set time on your calendar to go for regular walks, ride your bike, or try one of the many digital fitness classes that have sprung up since the pandemic hit. Do it alone if you need “me” time or get your partner to join you. Sweating together might just lead to sex.
Have the sex talk
If you and your partner aren’t having as much sex as you want, you’ll need to communicate that…delicately. “Find a time when your partner is in a calm, relaxed state, otherwise, they won’t be open to what you have to say,” Abbou advises. “Be as vulnerable as you can. For example, you can say, ‘Babe, you know, I really miss feeling connected to you, I miss being affectionate and more playful, how can we reconnect?’ The more simple, the more honest, the more vulnerable we are with our partners, the more they’re going to want to hear what we have to say.”
There’s no shame in scheduling sex
“I used to think scheduling sex was awful, that it just took away all the spontaneity,” says Abbou. “But now, I actually think it’s great, particularly if you’re at a point in your relationship where it’s not happening as naturally or as consistently as it was before.” Send a calendar invite for a time you know will work for both of you. This will allow your partner to be present, physically and emotionally, and to also do what they need to do to feel sexy. (Some of us let our grooming habits fall to the wayside because, well, there have been bigger problems to deal with). Add a little sexy banter in the invite to excite your partner and get them thinking about the fun to come.
Set the mood with some candles and music
Make the bedroom (or kitchen or bathroom…whatever floats your boat) feel like a sensual oasis. Light candles or purchase some mood lighting and create a sexy music playlist. Do this before your scheduled sexy time so you can surprise your partner. This will help you both get in the zone and focus on each other, rather than getting distracted by everything else going on in the world.
Get dressed up
If you’re like me, you’ve been in pajamas for the last five months, topped off with a blazer during Zoom calls. While it’s comfy, it doesn’t exactly scream “do me!” Getting dressed up every now and then can help your partner remember you at your best, or bring back memories of special nights you had together. Ultimately, whatever makes you look and feel confident will also get your partner excited.
Do something new together
Learning a new skill or doing new activities together can actually help arouse passion, studies show. While activities like traveling to new places or doing in-person classes are harder to do right now, there are still plenty of ways to learn while at home. Go through cookbooks you have and find a new recipe that you can cook together. Take an online dance class. Learn a new language together. Any of that can help you and your partner see each other in a fresh way, helping to ignite your passion for each other.