WITH bad news dominating the headlines, thousands of us are experiencing sexual burnout.
Topics including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Covid pandemic and the rising cost of living have taken a huge toll on the nation — with many of us too overwhelmed to even think about getting steamy between the sheets.
COLLECTToday, Holly admits her sex life with fiancé Danny has dwindled ever since the pandemic took hold in March 2020[/caption] COLLECTShe says ‘sex is unfortunately at the bottom of that list’[/caption]
In a study by sex therapy platform Blueheart, 74 per cent of its users between April 2021 and January 2022 confessed that stress was impacting on their sex life.
Psychologist Emma Kenny says: “Sexual burnout occurs when an individual suddenly stops enjoying what they once considered a satisfying sex life.
“Emotional fatigue outside of the relationship can impact on sexual function and interest.”
She adds: “The public have spent years being exposed to some truly dreadful news that informed us every day of a threat to ourselves and our families. This has likely caused many people a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, leading to a lowered libido.”
Twenty-two per cent of us have experienced sexual burnout in relation to our job. But charity Mental Health UK identifies nine areas of our lives — including physical health, finances, news and relationships — that can also contribute to this feeling.
These factors have caused nearly half of us to report a decline in the frequency of sexual behaviour throughout the pandemic, according to the Kinsey Institute of Indiana University.
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Full-time mum Holly England, 28, who has kids Logan, six, and Archie, five, with her fiancé Danny Mcgahey, 27, a warehouse worker, admits their sex life has dwindled ever since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
Holly, from Harrow, North West London, says: “Danny and I used to have a really healthy sex life, probably up to a couple of times a week. But since the pandemic, we have both noticed an obvious decline in how often we have sex.
‘Another weight on our shoulders’
“Now, we are lucky if we do it once a month, or dare I say even once every two months. I am a full-time carer for Archie because he has special needs and we are in and out of hospital a lot.
“Danny lost his job as a tyre fitter during the pandemic and then felt depressed. We have both of our children to look after so it was all very stressful and it badly affected our sex life.
“We also lost money as we rearranged our wedding twice due to the pandemic. We are due to get married next year, so hopefully it will be third time lucky. But until then it’s another weight on our shoulders.
“With inflation, and the war in Ukraine, it’s hard to think ahead into the future. We have loads to think about and sex is unfortunately at the bottom of that list.”
The cost of living hit a 30-year high last month as energy, fuel and food prices continued to soar and retailers reined in seasonal discounts. Like so many others, Holly is riddled with anxiety over money and trying to provide for her children. She says: “Prices of everything have gone through the roof.
“Danny is working again, so that is one less stress to worry about. But who knows what’s happening next in the world and how the UK is going to be affected?
“There is still so much love between me and Danny. We are such a strong unit. But as adults with children to provide for, realistically we don’t have time to have sex.”
We are such a strong unit. But as adults with children to provide for, realistically we don’t have time to have sex.
Emma says having a digital detox and showing more affection is crucial for couples who are failing to connect in the bedroom.
She says: “Take time to switch off the negativity on social media and switch on to your intimate relationship.
“You will reduce your stress levels and give your relationship the attention that it deserves. Make a conscious effort to kiss and cuddle one another when you have the opportunity to do so.
“These actions lead to the release of hormones oxytocin and serotonin, which help to reduce stress while simultaneously increasing positive emotions with each other.”
She adds: “Quickies may not sound very romantic, but they can be the remedy required to get back on track sexually as well. Where sex is concerned, the more you have it, the more you’ll tend to want it.”
Turn the page to take our sex test on whether your love life needs a boost . . .
COLLECTHolly adds ‘Now, we are lucky if we do it once a month, or dare I say even once every two months’[/caption]
NOW TAKE OUR QUIZ
HOW’S your sex life? Relationship expert Rebecca Dakin asks the questions and gives her verdicts below.
- You get a rare opportunity for a quickie. Do you . . .
A: Jump on it knowing it will make you both feel good and release any built-up tension.
B: Have sex, but your mind wanders to the peeling wallpaper and you add it to your mental to-do list. You’re not fully present, enjoying the moment.
C: Freak out and dismiss the idea – you have far too much on. Spare time should be spent productively.
- Your partner suggests having a romantic weekend away together. Do you . . .
A: Start Googling for ideas, looking at dates and planning childcare.
B: Focus on all the potential obstacles: Will you even have a weekend free? Who will have the kids? Can you afford it?
C: Just brush off the suggestion, knowing that sex and intimacy will be on the cards – and you don’t want the pressure.
- Your partner starts to get touchy feely as you’re watching a film. Do you . . .
A: Go with it, you love a smooch – and you never know where it might lead.
B: Start worrying that they are going to want sex. After all, the dishes haven’t been washed and you need to change the sheets and have a shower.
C: Feel irritated, abruptly get up and ask them if they want a cuppa, breaking the physical connection as quickly as possible, and reminding them how stressed you are.
- Your partner gets home tipsy from a night out and feeling frisky. Do you . . .
A: Enjoy some clumsy, fumbling sex. You were awake anyway thinking about work, so it’s an excellent distraction.
B: Pretend to be asleep, your mind is far too busy worrying about tomorrow and how not getting enough sleep will make you grumpy.
C: Feel irritated at the disruption, even though you weren’t asleep, because they clearly don’t understand exactly how much you have on your mind right now.
- What’s the last communication before you go to bed?
A: An “I love you”, kiss and cuddle.
B: There isn’t any, you’re both on your phones scrolling social media or one of you is downstairs watching TV.
C: A moan about stresses with work/home/kids. You say, “Don’t forget to do X”, or, “Remind me to do Y”
MOSTLY A. You understand the important role intimacy plays in your mental health. However, there are always steps you can take to make your sex life better. Invest time in longer foreplay to help your partner wind down and relax. Discuss fantasies and how you can try new things to avoid sex becoming predictable and boring.
MOSTLY B. You are on the verge of letting your stress levels ruin your sex life. Instead of making excuses to avoid it, look for the reasons to say yes! Emotional connection is often a good first step to encouraging more physical connection. You can do this by committing to spending quality time with your partner, focusing on your relationship and being fully present.
MOSTLY C. You are too stressed for sex and it’s negatively impacting your relationship. An intervention could be needed – bring in some playful flirting to lighten you both up. Schedule and limit time for discussing life’s frustrations to 30 minutes a day. Remember that sex is a stress reliever and orgasms cure headaches.