sex

'I’m a newlywed, and this is not the sex life I imagined having.'

To anyone out there who is married or in a committed relationship — are you having a hell of a lot more sex right now, being in self-isolation with your significant other?

I’ve seen so many memes and Twitter threads about ‘iso sex’, it feels like I can’t escape them. And as silly as it sounds, I’m six months into my marriage and I just don’t get it.

The world is literally upside down in a global state of emergency with thousands of worries and concerns constantly floating around in the atmosphere… and people are finding the time and energy to have sex!?

WATCH: Here’s what different horoscopes are like in the bedroom, is yours accurate? Post continues below. 

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As I scrolled through my social media feeds and read people talking about all the sex they’re having, the anxious thoughts started creeping into my mind:

“We’re newlyweds, what’s wrong with us? Is it weird we’re not having sex?”

“Am I not making enough of an effort right now? Am I a bad wife?”

“Even though I feel like I’m barely holding it together each and every day — should sex be a top priority for me right now, along with the millions of others?”

I am endlessly impressed (and horrified) by the number of details we’re guilt-tripping ourselves with, but in the defence of couples who are not having loads of sex right now (in fact, are having less) : There’s nothing sexy about job-loss. You know what doesn’t make a person feel hot and heavy? A sudden and crippling loss of income.

That is the reality my husband and I are now readjusting to since my biggest client let me go for their own financial security earlier this week. 75 per cent of my income gone in the blink of an eye. Safe to say that sex has not been on my mind recently.

Instead, my head is filled with emergency procedures and crisis planning for finding a supplemental income in an economy that has nothing further to offer a self-employed person like me. Every prospective client of mine is haemorrhaging, I’m in damage-control mode. I’m too busy trying to figure out how to ensure we don’t lose our house to fantasise about riding my husband all night long.

LISTEN: We discuss what COVID-19 is doing to relationships in this episode of the Mamamia Out Loud podcast below. Post continues after audio.

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Many of us have written or read articles about how self-isolation has been surprisingly exhausting. The mental and psychological toll related to stress, anxiety and uncertainty in this time of pandemic weighs a hell of a lot on our minds and bodies. We’re not as productive, we’re unmotivated, and we’re going to bed much earlier than usual. Even so, I just don’t have extra energy to give to sex. I need a solid 10 hours of sleep these days just to feel even remotely normal.

My PTSD and anxiety are through the roof — more so than usual. It’s a full-time job right now just to keep my f*cking sh*t together, and imagining having sex every day just because we’re both home is a prospect that exhausts me even further. I’ve never had an on-and-off switch when it comes to sex. With a history of being sexually assaulted, I require an extremely secure environment before I can let myself be sexually vulnerable. Nothing about current days is anywhere near secure or safe enough for me to make that conscious mental shift to get my rocks off.

A lot of people online are saying how self-isolation has helped them appreciate the little things in life. Really get a clear picture of what’s important in life. For me, this experience is helping to pull apart sex and intimacy, enough to realise they’re not synonymous. Intimacy can exist without the expectation of sex directly afterwards (despite what previous relationships have taught me).

Intimacy in a relationship isn’t just about intercourse and orgasms — it also includes physical touch, cuddling, holding one another, words of kindness and love. I am more grateful these days for being able to just hold my husband, and be near him when I fall asleep at night. Our hugs are longer and tighter — the relief of one another’s touch alone reaches our souls more directly.

To anyone wondering if they’re failing because they’re not having more sex in isolation, you’re not alone. Sex is not on my mind right now.

Many can argue that, as a married woman, it should be a top concern. I can appreciate that perspective, but frankly, I choose not to give myself yet another thing to feel guilty about in these unprecedented times. I’m already beating myself up for a number of things, when really I need to be practising more grace and kindness with myself.

Pandemics are not sexy. Struggling to keep one’s mental health in check every moment of every day is not sexy. Questioning your self-worth because you’ve lost your job security is not sexy.

So while every other couple in the world seems to be banging like bunnies right now, I am not. I remain unaroused by the circumstances of my life right now. And I’m cutting myself some slack by not making hanky-panky time with my husband mandatory for our overall survival right now.

Feature Image: Getty.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. For more from Gillian Sisley, you can find her on Twitter. The image used is a stock photo.

Are you having more or less sex in isolation? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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