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7 simple ways to boost your libido, if your sex life has gone awry

Freed from desire? This advice might help

midsection of woman sitting on bed
Ol'ga Efimova / EyeEmGetty Images

If your sex life went much the way of your social one, over the acute phase of the pandemic, then you're in abundant company. From 2020-21, the Natsal-Covid study shone a revealing light on the state of the nation's noctural escapades. In short, not many people were having any.

Seventy-eight per cent of those who lived with a romantic partner reported a negative change in their bedroom antics, with one in 10 stating that they had sexual difficulties that began, or got worse, in lockdown.

Of course, now the days of endless lockdowns seem to be over. But if your libido hasn't caught up with your social life quite yet, don't fret: because WH has enlisted the help of Psychosexual & Relationship psychotherapist, Silva Neves, to help you navigate any lingering lack of libido.

Why did our sex lives dwindle during the pandemic?

'Most of our sex lives went downhill during the various lockdowns. People felt worn out, there's not much to look forward to, energy is low: this all creates low sexual desire and so, less sex. Plus, when we don't go out, we don't put on nice outfits and might see our partners in their pyjamas, most of the time,' says Neves.

'It was especially stressful for people juggling work and homeschooling children. In this circumstance, people are exhausted and the last thing they have the energy to do is to have sex – for many of my clients, their sex life is basically extinct.' It's also true that living in a constant state of threat is not conducive to getting the mind ready for sex. 'Sexual desire and arousal come from the psychological system,' explains Neves. 'We need to feel safe and rested for these to kick in.'

The good news is, this is not forever. 'Some of my clients come to me and say that they are worried that this lack of sex will last. But it's situational – and this situation will change.' So, what if you're keen to make the effort? 'A few small changes can make a big difference,' advises Neves.

These don't need to be wild. 'Start where you are comfortable. In our world, we can hear about what everyone else is doing and think we should be trying it all. But too much pressure can end up ruining things. If you do something you're not comfortable with, then a memory of a negative sexual encounter is created. This can prevent you from exploring other new things.'

So, where to begin? 'You could literally start by saying "I want to try something new, but I feel a bit anxious and don't know it would be," says Neves. 'Then you can discuss ideas.' Of course, there's always a new sex position to try. Scroll on for more ideas on how to crank things back into gear.


1. Stop and connect

'Sometimes, the best place to start is simply stopping, looking your partner in the eye and asking "how are you?",' says Neves. 'A lot of people forget to check-in, and it's important.' To this end, make sure you get some quality time together: even taking a walk together a couple of times a week.

Have kids who are too young to be left alone? Create a policy that they have to knock before entering your bedroom, so that you can get some time together alone, within the house. More connection will ultimately lead to more sexual desire.

2. Send a text

Inserting some sort of newness in your life, however simple, can create more feelings of desire. 'Say you're both working from home, but are in separate rooms. You could send a text about a time when you had really great sex. Even just making the effort to wear something that makes you feel nice, rather than your standard WFH leggings, can jolt something.'

3. Share a hot memory

If you are feeling too depleted for getting physical, Neves suggests you try creating a sexual space, in another way. 'You can stay fully clothed, but lay on the bed and talk about a sexual memory you both share, or a fantasy.'

Nothing come to mind? You could read some erotica out loud – there's plenty online, have a search – or play a story from an audio erotica app, like Dipsea.

4. Try dirty talk

Another way Neves advises you switch things up is dirty talk. During foreplay and sex, experiment with compliments, asking how the other person feels as you touch them or vocalising how you feel during sexual activity, verbalising sexual requests (eg: 'a simple 'fuck me').

If you aren’t sure what to say and feel flustered at the mere thought of composing a suitably sexy sentence, just keep it really simple. Talking dirty doesn’t actually have to be dirty. You could ask 'how does that feel?' or stick to effortless – yet, effective – single word sentences, like 'harder', 'faster,' 'more'... you get the idea.

5. Or role play

There are the classics like doctor and patient. Or, Neves says, you could pretend that you're both strangers and are meeting for the first time. For some couples, it can be hot for one of you to pretend to be a stranger and that the other is cheating on the real you with this 'stranger.' Not for everyone, but it's worth exploring what works for you.

6. Or even power play

Another way to inject something fresh is to play with power dynamics. IRL, the vast majority of us are all about 100% equality. But, in the bedroom, subverting that in some way can spice things up. 'You could try asking your partner to touch you a certain way in an assertive tone, to get started,' says Neves.

7. Try porn (if you like)

Sure, it's not for everyone. But if you do fancy giving it a go, it can be a real turn on to watch porn with your partner. 'It can open up your sex lives. You could put some porn on and try mutual masturbation, which you might have more energy to try,' says Neves. Want to make sure that yours is designed to get women off, too? Try Lust Cinema, by female director Erika Lust.

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