Sex During Coronavirus Pandemic

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

Man and woman in light blue shirts wearing masks kissing in front of a red background covered with pink stars

Should I Have Sex During Coronavirus Pandemic?

Dear Cay: I don't usually write to advice columnists but I thought that perhaps other people could relate to what I feel. We are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, my husband may be laid off soon, every time I turn on the television I hear about how everyone’s life is disrupted - things just look rather dark right now. I don't feel like having sex during coronavirus pandemic, or doing many of the things I usually enjoy, even shopping online. I'm afraid to go out or spend money. Luckily, my husband feels the same way. I just wonder how to get through this difficult time. Any advice?

Stormy weather

How To Get In the Mood During Coronavirus Pandemic

Dear Stormy weather:

I think you are right in believing that many people could relate to your experience. Everyone is scared about the pandemic and the social and economic ripple effects it is having across the globe. Whenever there is trauma in someone's life; whether it is the death of a loved one, a job change or a move, the best thing to do is keep the rest of your life as regular as possible. One disruption at a time is enough. Try to maintain a regular schedule even if you are working from home. Remember that consistent exercise is great stress relief and also keeps anxiety and depression at bay. Your lack of interest in lovemaking is not surprising. In a rather direct way, the pandemic and your husband's possible job loss threatens the survival of your family. Stress of that type creates a survival mode in your mind and body. The sympathetic nervous system kicks in; that is the fight or flight reflex. You may feel keyed up, worried, or sleepless. It is common to lose interest in sex. The fight or flight response is also a biological imperative that keeps mammals like us from reproducing when resources or conditions are not favorable to supporting offspring.

So how does someone live with fear and uncertainty every day? This is the time to reach out to other people, tell them your fears and allow them to comfort you. In turn, you may be of great comfort to them. Hopefully, you have a support system of family and friends in place - use them. I work with so many distressed people who resist asking others for help. Your friends and family are in your life because they care about you. Increase your contact with your support system. Make a phone call! Or use an online platform where you can be virtually face to face. Just today, I participated in a Zoom call with 10 singers from my choir. While we could not actually sing together because of the latency of that many connections, we still rehearsed songs, visited, and checked in with each other. It was wonderful!

A big part of dealing with fear is the knowledge that you are not alone. Also, do not repress your emotions, cry when you feel like it, rage, write that angry letter that you will never send, let those feelings out in one way or another. Fear is not something to push through or get over. I hear so many people say, "If only I had done this or that." The truth is that there are things in life that you cannot control. We are not omnipotent. We cannot know the future. There will always be moments of uncertainty and fear. Those are the moments that teach us, that humble us, that bring us back to reality and show us just how precious and tenuous life really is.

Buddhist thought says that when there is something frightening happening that captures our attention, there is always something wonderful outside of our vision taking form.


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