My sex life was ruined by the pandemic – I’m now lucky if we do it once every two months but I’m not alone 0 106

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.

Holly

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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”

YOUR RESULTS

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.

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My bitter ex told lies to my friends about my ‘small manhood’ after I dumped her 0 40

DEAR DEIDRE: MY ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger.

She never complained when we were together, but last week she told the girls in our group that being with me was “like kissing a soggy lettuce leaf” and that she “literally didn’t feel a thing when we were having sex” because I’m so small.

My ex is so bitter about being dumped that she is spreading nasty rumours around our friendship group – saying I’m rubbish in bed and have a small todger

I’m 25 and she’s 24. I think part of it is jealousy.

She knows a couple of the other girls fancy me and I think she’s trying to sabotage any chance I have with them.

Not that I’m even planning anything.

She’s so insecure and has a vicious tongue on her.

I’m tempted to let each of her so-called friends know what she really says about them in private.

Even her best friend gets a nasty critique every time she posts anything on Instagram.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Her top is either too short, or her hair looks like wire, or her laugh is fake . . . it goes on and on.

I don’t regret splitting up with her but this last trick has really infuriated me.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Don’t let yourself stoop to her level.

You can make it clear she is lying without playing her game, which would only escalate tensions and reflect badly on you.

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You could maybe reply with: “Let’s just say she never complained when we were together and nor have any of my other exes.”

Your friends will soon see her behaviour for what it is – jealous insecurity.

My partner said he was on a work trip – but he was actually getting married and on his honeymoon 0 28

DEAR DEIDRE: MY partner said he was on a work trip two months ago, but he had actually got married and been on honeymoon.

Our relationship had become a bit predictable, but we still had regular sex and nice days out with our two young sons.

My partner lied about his work trip – he was really on his HONEYMOON

I’m 32 and he’s 37. Our sons are four and two.

When he returned from his “work trip” he blamed me for his cheating, saying I had let myself go and didn’t pay him enough attention.

He then told me he’d “traded up” for a better model. It didn’t stop there.

He said that his wife, who is 27, is absolutely stunning and makes him feel special.

Apparently this woman was a barmaid he’d met on a golf trip and they had been seeing each other for six months.

He told me all this, then marched upstairs and packed his games console and his clothes and drove off out of my life.

The thing is, we always talked about getting married but when we had kids there always seemed something better to spend our money on.

Mutual friends have told me he has moved into a new-build home on the other side of our small town and his wife has plenty of family money.

My sons are really missing him and I don’t even know how I feel.

Sometimes when he comes to visit the boys I beg him to come home.

But other times I’m so angry with him, I refuse to let him in.

Now he is accusing me of stopping him from seeing his children.

Get in touch with Deidre

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

Send an email to deardeidre@the-sun.co.uk

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Surely he can’t just show up when he likes?

I’m a mess and need to start getting a grip for the kids’ sake.

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I caught my husband snogging my sister – how am I meant to trust him again?

DEIDRE SAYS: I’m so sorry your partner ended your relationship in such a cruel way.

This man sounds selfish and immature, and quite frankly the way he has treated you is emotionally abusive.

It won’t feel like it now, but you really are better off without him.

He is behaving like he still lives in your home, by just turning up unannounced.

Tell him firmly that you would encourage a good relationship between him and your sons but he can only collect them with prior arrangement.

Start to put down your boundaries.

I’m sending you my support pack When Parents Fall Out, which you could pass to him to help explain why you need to co-operate for the future wellbeing of your children.

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Give yourself time and be kind to yourself. He put you down constantly, now you can start to build up your confidence.

I’d recommend seeing a counsellor to help you with this betrayal and am sending you my Counselling support pack.

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