Why You Don't Want To Be Intimate During Quarantine

You've probably never spent more time with your partner than you have in recent months if you've both been in quarantine lockdown. It's been a chance for you to work on your relationship. You've gotten to know each other better — maybe he finally came to appreciate what a work rockstar you are when he overheard your Zoom sales pitch, and you were touched by how carefully he applied hair dye to your roots to make sure you'd still feel like a blonde bombshell, even without access to a salon. 

With family and friends off-limits because of fear of coronavirus transmission, you are now each others' everything: workout partners, sounding boards, board game competitors, personal chefs, and Netflix binge buddies. So whyyyyyyyy would you rather have a thousand COVID-19 swabs inserted into your nasal cavity than be intimate right now?

Low libido is plaguing many couples in quarantine, experts say, and there's a good reason for it. "Not being interested in sex during a global crisis is completely normal," sociologist and clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon, Ph.D., told Healthline.

It's hard to feel sexy when you're in survival mode

As the number of infections skyrocket and businesses shutter, many of us are genuinely concerned about our physical and financial survival, creating something called "survival stress," Melancon said. And, it's not sexy. "Survival stress sends the body into a state of fight or flight, so the only thing that matters is survival, not procreating," she explained. If getting pregnant was never a goal anyway, your libido still will take a nosedive because your hormones are affected by this type of stress. "[W]hen your hormones change, so can your libido," Melancon explained.

Maybe in the past when you've been stressed or upset, some time in the bedroom was comforting or re-energizing — like make-up sex after a fight, or a quickie before a job interview. But this situation is totally different, pointed out licensed marriage and family therapist Diane Gleim. "A person's sex drive needs just enough anxiety/tension/uncertainty to get activated but not too much anxiety/tension/uncertainty or else the person can get overwhelmed, flooded, and then sex drive goes underground," she wrote in Psychology Today.

The catch, here, is that while you might not want sex, intimacy and touch are more important now than they ever were. "Incorporating skin-on-skin contact can help regulate your nervous systems and make you feel safer and calmer," Melancon said. So treat each other to some massages and hand-holding. Who knows? This might even put you in the mood again, finally.