Couple in bed

How to maintain a healthy sex life with your partner while stuck at home

Of all things that have been affected by the pandemic, our sex lives often feel like the one subject that we’re supposed to keep under wraps. But whether we discuss it or not, dissatisfaction with it can seep into other parts of our life. So, before that happens, it’s best to look at the ways you can maintain a healthy sex life while you’re stuck in the house. We spoke to Miranda Christophers, a sex & relationship psychotherapist, to find out how both singles and couples can maintain a healthy sex life in this panoramic.

Everyone: Self Pleasure

“Self-pleasure is healthy, pleasurable and good for overall well-being. Set aside time for “me time.” Explore with different techniques, toys, body-safe oils, and apps such as Dipsea or Sunsette, or whatever takes your fancy.”

Couples: Create Desire

“A healthy life is often one about balance, and this goes for sex lives too,” says Christophers. “Think about creating the desire for sexual intimacy and the time to make it happen. Know what helps to create the desire for each other if in a couple — this way, if one of you is feeling it and the other isn’t, you know that it’s not personal and can approach kick-starting it together.”

Couples: Mix it up

“Lockdown has created a feeling of Groundhog Day, so think about injecting in variety. If sex is always spontaneous, then perhaps throw in a scheduled sex session which can be exciting to look forward to and create a little flirtation and sexual tension.

It doesn’t need to be anything complicated – plan date nights at home, go and meet up for walks or outside dates somewhere and take it back to the bedroom (or any room!). Try something different, whether it’s different positions, trying some toys or talking fantasies.”

Singles: How to overcome first date jitters

“Remind yourself what is great about you; the things you are proud of, what you like, your interests etc. If in doubt, ask a friend to tell you what they think – this can help you feel more confident. It can also help to think ahead of things you may like to talk about. This is a big concern for many people, as life has generally been much less eventful for everyone recently. 

Everyone is in the same boat with stilted social interactions during lockdown, so be conscious of this, and that [the person] who you are meeting may well be feeling nervous, too. This might help to reassure you that it’s perfectly normal.”

Singles: How to properly form a bubble with a prospective partner

“The logistics of this can prove tricky for some, but people shouldn’t be put off – there is almost always a way that it can work. Being in a bubble doesn’t mean you have to see someone all the time, nor [does it mean] you are committed any more than you want to be.

Talk about it, check out each other’s preferences and find out about the other’s commitments, household bubbles or any restrictions.”

Singles: Rekindling that old flame

“Lockdown has also made people think about past relationships, dates and encounters. It may be that you want to try rekindling with ones from the past. Ask yourself, if you really want to be honest about it. If you’re lonely but don’t actually really like the person, it may not be the best move – for you or them. Conversely, you may want to go for it; lockdown has given us all a bit of time to reflect!

Finally, if you are feeling stuck, think forward. Start looking forward to life on the other side of lockdown. How would you like your sex life to look? Think about starting to enjoy some of that now.”

Singles: Reset yourself as a sexual being

“Avoid developing narrowed sexual interests; you can help this by mixing things up. If you are self-pleasuring, mix up technique. Some find they become a bit programmed to a certain method, which can become a problem when a new partner has a different way.

Similarly, avoid depending solely on porn or focusing on one particular theme of it. It’s great to mix things up with some sensation-focused, mindful self-pleasure. When you do this, you consciously focus on the pleasurable sensations alone and keep the mind free of fantasy, porn or additional stimulation. This is a really helpful practice, as it provides a tool to get you focused on feeling rather than being in your head, which many people find helpful when they have anxieties about partnered sex.”