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How Our Sex Life Changed During the Pandemic, According to 14 Parents

Some spoke of serious sexual dry spells or deeper issues, others of Zoom sex and (safe) hotel rendezvous. All candidly discussed the reality of relationships in our current times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed the world; it’s not a shock, then, that it has had a great effect on how we have sex. According to a recent study published in Leisure Sciences, 44-percent of Americans surveyed have experienced a marked decrease in sexual activity with their partner. Even though 20-percent of the participants reported trying at least one new sexual activity during the past six months — new positions, sexting, watching porn, etc. — sexual behavior as a whole has definitely declined.

For parents in particular, finding the time and energy for sex is a Herculean challenge, one complicated by the constant presence of kids, unpredictable workday schedules, and the general responsibilities of maintaining a household. But how severely has sex changed during the pandemic? We asked 14 parents — both moms and dads — to tell us. Some spoke of serious sexual dry spells or deeper issues, others of Zoom sex and (safe) hotel rendezvous. All candidly discussed the reality of relationships in our current times. Here’s what they had to say.

Our Sex Life Took a Dive

“Our sex life was pretty healthy going into the pandemic, and lockdown. But about two months in, we went from having sex at least once a week, to not having sex for weeks at a time. That applied to kissing, touching, and any sort of sexual-type interaction. We’ve both been working from home — together, with the kids — for almost half a year, and it’s made me realize how important it is to miss your partner when you’re out of the house. I used to hate going into work, but now I see that it’s an important part of creating manageable and healthy distance when it comes to sex and attraction.” – Lee, 38, Arizona

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We Haven’t Had Sex Since March

“The last time we had sex was in March. We’ve talked about it. We’ve even scheduled it. But, it just hasn’t happened. The weird, and possibly sad part is that neither of us seem to mind. Or care. Physical touch has never been one of our ‘love languages’, but it’s definitely been messing with my confidence. I imagine a lot of people feel more unattractive than they ever have, because of the pandemic, masks, and just being at home constantly. And while my husband does make me feel loved and appreciated, I’m wondering if we’ve lost our lust for each other?” – Kim, 41, Connecticut

Things Were Slow. But Then We Had Sex Every Day for Two Weeks

“Most of the pandemic has been sexually uneventful. But our son went to a socially-distanced summer camp last month, and about halfway through, we randomly had sex on a Monday. He went to camp for the next four days, and we had sex again each day. Then we snuck it in on the weekend, and did the same thing for the next week. It usually happened during a lunch break, or right before we had to go pick him up. I’ll admit, there were a few days we showed up late because of the sex. We broke the streak when my husband twisted his ankle pulling a branch off of the garage. School starting up should give us a chance to try and beat our record.” – Lynn, 38, Vermont

I Began Taking Viagra

“I have major depressive disorder, which is depression. One of the side effects of my antidepressant medication has been ED, and a lack of sexual libido. The pandemic definitely exacerbated my depression, so I had to up my medication back in April. I’m not surprised it’s affected me sexually. I told my doctor, and she suggested Viagra. Boy, did it work. I’m not Ron Jeremy, but I’m more easily aroused, and better able to stay aroused, which has dramatically improved our sex life. I don’t want this to sound like a pitch for Viagra, but it really did help get things back on track in the bedroom.” – Andy, 41, New York

We Started Sexting Again

“We used to sext each other when we were dating but stopped when we got married. Not consciously; it just kind of faded away. One day, after we hadn’t had sex for almost a month, my husband sent me a ‘What are you wearing?’ He was at his office, and I was at home with the kids. That was always our go-to firestarter when we were dating, so I snuck into the bathroom and took a picture of my cleavage. From there, it was off to the races. We had sex that night and have stayed on a pretty consistent schedule since. It’s been great.” – Brittany, 36, Tennessee

I Bought My Wife a Vibrator

“My goal during sex is to make my wife orgasm. Even if I can’t do it myself. I’ve never really been insecure about that sort of thing. It’s just sort of a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality. So, when our sex life became pretty stagnant about six weeks into the pandemic, I bought her a vibrator. Just something small and, from what I read, effective. She was surprised – pleasantly – and used it that night. Then she used it again when we were together. Then we sort of just incorporated it into the bedroom. I don’t know if it ‘spiced things up’, or whatever, but it definitely got things going again.” – J.C., 35, Pennsylvania

I Almost Had an Affair

“My husband works from home, and I’m in the office. We’ve been going through some problems, outside of our sex life, which have just been tested and tested by the pandemic. I’ve been confiding in a co-worker, a guy, and it got to a point where it was clear we were both sexually attracted to each other. It never actually got physical, but there were times when it was so, so, so close. Our masks kept reminding us what was at stake, though — both the physical health, and relationship implications. Like big warning signs, right on our faces. My husband and I are still working on things, and I feel like it’s a good sign I didn’t have sex with this guy. I love my husband very much. Maybe COVID is the universe’s way of testing our relationship?” – Kelly, 34, Virginia

I Got Scared to Touch My Husband

“He’s a nurse. So, every time he comes home from the hospital, I’m terrified to touch him until he showers, disinfects, sanitizes, and bags his scrubs from that day. Obviously, we do touch, but it’s almost become too meticulous and mechanical to be sexual. I never considered myself a germaphobe, but I think the hysteria of the whole thing has really gotten to me, and has kept me from wanting to touch him any more than necessary. And I hate that. I hate how it sounds. I’m really hoping this is over soon, because I miss touching him without worrying about getting the virus.” – Candace, 36, California

We’ve Had More Quickies

“Out of necessity, we’ve had to adapt to having a lot of quick sex, instead of less frequent, more intimate sex. It’s largely because the kids are home all the time, and we never have a minute to ourselves. Our son is 8, and our daughter is 10, so they’re old enough to be left alone for short periods of time. And that’s when we fit it in. We’ve done it in our bedroom, our bathroom, the basement, the garage – basically anywhere we can escape to for ten minutes. It’s definitely a quantity over quality thing at this point, but we’ll take what we can get.” – Cathy, 38, North Carolina

Sex Feels “Distracted”

“We still do it pretty frequently, but it always feels like there was something else weighing on our minds. It’s just the state of the country, and the world, you know? My wife and I both tend to internalize stress, which is something we’ve been working on through therapy for a while. But that makes sex seem more like a ‘To Do’ on a list, because we’re both constantly thinking of a million other things. Sometimes are better than others, but I think we both agree that sex has become kind of a chore amidst all this craziness.” – Brian, 35, Kentucky

We Go to Hotels

“Once, when we were dating, my wife and I agreed to meet at a hotel halfway between where we lived, and just go at it. It was awesome. When our sex life took a hit because of the pandemic, we got the idea to try it again. Hotels feel pretty clean and safe, so we felt like spending a night at one every few weeks wasn’t too risky. We’ve got a few people in our ‘bubble’ who we trust have been safe during the pandemic — my mother, her mother, and her sister — so they come watch the kids, and let us get away. The sex has been fantastic, because there’s not much else to do in a hotel room except have sex. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a change of scenery.” – Mark, 33, Michigan

We Had Zoom Sex

“I still have to travel for work, so my husband and I thought we’d try getting intimate over Zoom. It started kind of as a joke. Or like a dare. We were talking, and he asked me to take my shirt off. I did, just a quick flash, and it kind of escalated from there. Obviously, it’s not a substitute for the real thing, which we do about once a month, but it’s a great way to build anticipation and tide us over in the meantime. It’s a little harder for him because he’s at home with the kids, so he can’t do anything too crazy for fear of getting caught. But, I’m by myself in hotel rooms a lot, so I’ve got a little more freedom to get crazy.” – Amanda, 34, Nevada

I Bought Lots of Lingerie

“I’ve never been into lingerie before. But, when my husband and I were having trouble connecting sexually, I thought I’d give it a try. He definitely wasn’t expecting it, and he was very pleasantly surprised. It was so out of character for me that I think it helped us both over the hump of our struggling sex life. Now he’s started shopping for stuff with me, and surprising me with outfits. It’s been fun, and definitely something that helped me get out of a comfort zone, so I’m planning on keeping it going long after this is all over.” – Angie, 36, Missouri

Our Sex Life Has Been Better Than Ever

“It’s stress relief. It’s a distraction. It’s fun. Our sex life has honestly never been better, because it’s giving us so many of the things we need to make it through the days right now. It’s something to look forward to. It’s something we can always get better at. Sex before the pandemic was always good, but I don’t know that we appreciated it in the same way we do now. Sex has become more intimate because we’ve both learned to recognize it as something almost functional, in addition to being physical and emotional.” – Ed, 41, Ohio