Covid turned the world upside down, and no part of our lives was left untouched by its impact – including our sex lives.
According to a recent study, one in 10 of us experienced sexual difficulties, such as low libido, that started or worsened when the pandemic hit.
According to a recent study, one in 10 of us experienced sexual difficulties, such as low libido, that started or worsened when the pandemic hit For those not in a relationship, hook-ups became near impossible, with just one in 30 women meeting a new sexual partner during that period.*
For those not in a relationship, hook-ups became near impossible, with just one in 30 women meeting a new sexual partner during that period.*
Times are a-changing though, and as normality returns, we’ve teamed up with dating website Illicit Encounters to find out just what’s happening between the nation’s sheets.
Our survey reveals that a staggering two-thirds of singles and 32% of couples are having more sex now that restrictions have eased – with 15% of those in a relationship doing it more than four times a week.
We’re getting more daring, too, with 15% of those in a couple trying new positions, and 34% of singletons enjoying more post-pandemic one-night stands.
Read more on sex
I’ve been body-shamed during sex – one man said the position made me look fat
Dear Deidre reveals most common relationship issues & secret men keep from wives
Our survey also reveals that married couples are no longer simply zoning out in front of Netflix, with 28% watching porn together for the first time.
Some 2% of those in a relationship have tried group sex post-pandemic, and the shift to WFH and hybrid working has also had a knock-on effect on our sex lives, with 38% of those in a couple and 25% of singles regularly doing it during the day.
Sex and relationships expert Jessica Leoni agrees we’re in the midst of a sexual revival.
“Covid taught us all what was really important – and sex has gone straight to the top of the list,” she says. “During the pandemic, single people lost connections and felt isolated.
Most read in Fabulous
I’m a size XL & my pal's a S – we tried on the same Amazon dresses
DRESS TO IMPRESS
I found the best maxi dress – & you can pick it up with your weekly shop
Fashion fan loves £15 set that gives you a snatched waist & 'juicy' bum
I'm a size 16 with 34GG boobs & wanted a new bikini – Ann Summers came out top
I’m a fashion fan – here's the bottoms you should wear to cover your belly pouch
I’m a bra fitter – common mistake women make that wear underwear out faster
“It became illegal to date and meet strangers for sex and fun for months. Clearly many are trying to make up for lost time now.
“Those in relationships were stuck at home together 24/7. This caused a lot of tension and sex was off the cards.
“Now, we’re free again and it’s a natural human response to seek out one another for sex, having been kept apart in the way we were,” she adds.
Sex toys are big business, too, with 45% of singles and 42% of those with a partner more likely to experiment with them now.
Forget about vanilla sex – the post-Covid horn means we’re more adventurous than ever, with 17% of couples getting jiggy outdoors and 2% giving a threesome a whirl.
And we’re at it all over the house, with 28% of couples doing it in the bathroom, 27% in the garden and 5% having sex on the stairs!
According to Jessica, this thrill-seeking is a positive hangover from the pandemic.
She says: “Before Covid, our sexual routines were dominated by work patterns. People were squeezing in a quickie last thing at night when they were exhausted.
“Working from home changed all that and experimentation was rife. People weren’t just using Zoom for work calls but for making DIY porn while they were apart.
“If they found those things fun, why stop now? It’s actually made a lot of us more daring.”
The downside of our national randiness, however, is that cheating is on the rise – and both women and men are playing the field. Of those with a partner, 12% have cheated for the first time post-pandemic.
“Many adulterers have been stuck with their partner for two years. Over that time, they respected the rules, but now they want to have some fun. They may be ready to move on from a stale relationship,” explains Jessica.
After a difficult few years, when it comes to sexual satisfaction, we’re a happy bunch, with 68% of those with a partner and 74% of single people reporting they’re satisfied with their current sex life.
“The current sexual landscape is a bright one,” says Jessica. “Plentiful and good sex brings health benefits, including better sleep, and can be a boost for our mental health, relieving stress and releasing endorphins. This boom is great news all round.”
‘WE GOT STUCK IN A SEXLESS RUT – NOW WE’RE DOING IT NIGHTLY!’
Charlotte Brooke, 32, is an events manager and lives in Thanet, Kent, with her boyfriend George, 37, a care manager, and her six-year-old son Jacob-Clarke.
I was a single mum when we went into lockdown in March 2020. My previous relationship had ended four years earlier, and my love life became non-existent once dating was off the cards.
Charlotte Brooke, 32, is an events manager and lives in Thanet, Kent, with her boyfriend George, 37, a care manager, and her six-year-old son Jacob-Clarke
In the summer of 2020, I got chatting to George at a local beach and we hit it off. I liked his sense of humour and we saw each other again the following week.
At first we met outdoors, going to the park and the beach. Then, as restrictions were relaxed, we met inside and first slept together that August.
I was really attracted to him and the sex was great. We carried on dating and sleeping together regularly.
Everything was going well until the third lockdown hit in January 2021. We both had family support bubbles, so unless we moved in with each other, we couldn’t see each other indoors at all.
We decided to do lockdown together, splitting our time between one another’s homes, my son staying with us.
In some ways, our relationship flourished. We got to know one another really well and I was sure I’d found The One. But at the same time, after a few weeks of sitting around in joggers, the intimacy between us waned.
Living together 24/7, stuck at home and unable to go on romantic dates, with the responsibility of caring for my son, all led to the honeymoon period ending abruptly.
Eleven months into our relationship, I felt like we were an old married couple.
We both lost interest in sex as the weeks passed, instead watching TV in the evenings and then just going to sleep. We didn’t argue about it, but we got stuck in a sexless rut.
Thankfully, however, as life returned to normal and we were able to go out again, things started to improve naturally.
I’ve made a conscious effort to embrace my sexy side, investing in nice lingerie, getting my nails done and glamming up both for work and when I’m at home. George finds it a real turn-on when I get dressed up and I love having that effect on him.
He’s making more of an effort, too, and I find him really sexy. He takes real pride in his appearance to go on nights out together – I really like that in a man.
All this means we’re having a lot more sex – we can’t keep our hands off each other and we now do it every night.
Meeting in lockdown meant we hit fast-forward and missed the sexy, honeymoon stage of our relationship, but we’re definitely making up for lost time.”
‘DRESSING UP HAS REVIVED OUR SEX LIFE IN OUR 60S’
Caroline Parsons, 62, is a teaching assistant and lives in Cardiff with her partner Dean Jones, 64, a retired police officer.
After tying the apron of my saucy French maid’s costume, I applied some lippy and felt a thrill of anticipation. Downstairs, my partner Dean was waiting for me and I was excited to see his reaction.
Caroline Parsons, 62, is a teaching assistant and lives in Cardiff with her partner Dean Jones, 64, a retired police officer
Dean and I met in 2016 through a bereavement support service, after we were both widowed. Before Covid hit, sex was an important and frequent part of our relationship. We did it daily, often more than once – we couldn’t keep our hands off one another.
In March 2020, we caught Covid. Dean had a fever and a cough, and we were both left exhausted. Needless to say, our sex life stalled, as we were feeling wiped out. Several months passed without us sleeping together.
In July 2020, we talked about how our sex life had been hit hard by Covid. We both missed it and we agreed we didn’t want to be an older couple who slipped into a happy but non-sexual relationship.
In the past, we’d tried dressing up in sexy clothes, and Dean had loved it, so we agreed to give that another go.
I ordered a £7.99 French maid’s outfit online, and the first night I put it on, Dean was thrilled. The sex was out of this world, just like the pre-Covid days, if not better.
I named myself ‘Angelique Crumpete’ and we began to role play, with me the sexy maid who comes to clean the house in skimpy outfits and Dean the excited homeowner. It worked a treat and immediately our sex life was revived – we felt young and sexy again.
Now, we’re back to having sex several times a day. Sometimes I dress up, sometimes I don’t – we like to keep it varied. We do it all over the house, on the stairs and in the kitchen. Doing it outside the bedroom makes us feel naughty.
We’re very open about our active sex life, though my grown-up daughter’s made it clear she doesn’t want to know! My friends also get embarrassed if I bring it up. Most of them have been married a long time and don’t have the same sex life as Dean and me.
My advice to older couples who think their best sex is behind them is, it’s not! It’s never too late to spice things up between the sheets. Just because we’re in our 60s, why should we not enjoy our lives and our bodies? Talk openly about what you want and have fun with it. You won’t regret it.
‘SHIFTING MY LOCKDOWN TUMMY MADE ME FEEL SEXY AGAIN’
Kimberley Yardley, 39, is a restaurant manager and lives in Burton, Staffordshire, with her partner Adam Turner, 40, a retail manager, and her four children, aged 17, 14, eight and seven.
Crawling into bed after another exhausting, monotonous day in lockdown, working from home, worrying about money and caring for four children, sex was the furthest thing from my mind.
Kimberley Yardley, 39, is a restaurant manager and lives in Burton, Staffordshire, with her partner Adam Turner, 40, a retail manager, and her four children, aged 17, 14, eight and seven
I’d gained weight, was living in baggy clothes and felt like I never had a moment to myself, let alone time for my relationship. I felt frumpy, tired and sexless.
Adam and I met in June 2018, after my previous relationship ended in divorce, and we moved in together in July 2019. Our love life was great, but once the pandemic hit, that changed dramatically.
With all of us at home all the time, we had no privacy or opportunity for quality adult time. I took on an NHS admin role working 12-hour shifts from home, while supervising the kids’ school work, and I put on 11/2st due to constantly grazing from the fridge and no chance to work out at the gym like I normally did.
When I looked in the mirror, I felt so unattractive. The last thing I wanted to do was take my clothes off and be intimate. If Adam tried it on, I’d usually knock him back and our love life stalled.
Even long after restrictions eased, our sex life still hadn’t got back to normal. I’d lost my confidence and felt like I’d slid from a sexy, fit woman to a frump.
That low self-esteem continued to hammer my libido. Adam was so understanding, but I felt I was letting him down.
By last summer, I was fed up with feeling that way. With my 40th birthday on the horizon, I resolved to change the way I felt about myself, and in turn, boost my sex drive. I wanted my love life and my confidence back – in and out of the bedroom.
In August, I returned to my career as a hospitality manager, which meant I had more disposable income to spend on nails and lashes.
I also bought gym equipment for our garage to help me get back in shape. So far I’ve lost 11/2st and gone from a size 12 to an 8. My mum tum is more toned and my body’s stronger.
I’ve thrown out all my baggy lockdown clothes and been shopping for flattering skirts and dresses that show off my body, plus some sexy new undies. I feel much more body-confident and this carries into the bedroom.
Read More on The Sun
My baby bump is so big people think it’s fake – giving birth terrifies me
My son’s terrified to go to school after travellers pitched up outside the gates
We’re making up for lost time with weekends away. The spark’s returned – we’re back at it several times a week, and I think my 40s will be my hottest decade yet!