It's no secret that the pandemic took its toll on the nation's sex drive. One survey, conducted back in 2021 found that of almost 900 British adults found that 60% of people weren't having sex or engaging in sexual activity – including masturbation – even once a week in lockdown.
But have things changed two years on? Maybe!
In April 2023, Lovehoney, a sex toy company, revealed details of its survey which asked 22,000 people from 15 countries across the world to rate their sex drive out of 10. And guess what the results said? The UK was named fourth horniest country in the whole of Europe, in fact. Our national average sex drive, according to the study, is 6.22 out of 10.
The results also revealed that men also have a higher sex drive — or that's what they say at least.
Annabelle Knight, LoveHoney sex and relationship expert, claimed societal norms could stop women from being honest about how horny they are.
She said: “It's likely that men are more willing to say they have a higher sex drive and vice versa for women, as outdated notions around female (and male) sexuality still exist, whether internally or externally.”
The data showed that while men worldwide confessed to a sex drive of 6.53, on average, it was 12 per cent lower for women — who scored just 5.76.
Though there are no other studies to compare the data with, various sex & relationship coaches and Google searches around increasing sex drive seem to suggest that, as a nation, we've still got a way to go in the bedroom.
“I still have a consistent stream of enquiries from people who are concerned about their lack of sex drive,” therapist and founder of TS Therapy, Tami Sobell tells GLAMOUR. “Even though we are no longer in a lockdown, couples are still spending much more time together than has ever been deemed ‘normal' pre-pandemic and this impacts our sex lives in several ways.”
“First of all, it blurs the line between work and play. There doesn't seem to be any separation between a working day and a weekend day, and so our interactions with our partners have merged too. Many of us no longer have the opportunity to miss our partners or to experience a build-up to seeing them,” Tami explains. “And even though we are spending constant time with one another, it's the time we spend connecting that counts when it comes to intimacy, which is actually something we got much more of when we had boundaries between work and home."
“When you aren't feeling yourself, or good about yourself, it's often hard to shift your mindset into wanting to be intimidate with other people.”
“When you don't feel connected to yourself, you can't feel connected to your partner, and this creates pressure, but becoming aware of how normal it is to be feeling a lack of sex drive can help to ease this,” she adds.
Why is my libido so low?
"There are many reasons why you may more generally be experiencing a low sex drive," says Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and online doctor for prescriptiondoctor.com. "You may feel isolated, unenergised or demotivated, and this in turn will affect sex drive. Your sex drive can vary depending on your environment and how you spend your time, and if you are stuck at home alone, chances are you'll experience low sex drive."
Dr Aragona also points out that some contraceptive methods, such as the pill and injection, have been known to lower libido in some women. If in doubt, always talk to your GP.
Of course, everyone's sex drives are different and there is no such thing as a 'normal' libido. But if you are looking to up your sexual appetite, here's what Dr Aragona suggests...
How to increase your libido and sex drive:
Factor in some time for exercise
An effective way to boost your sex drive naturally is to partake in exercise. Regular cardio and strength training will help to increase your stamina, lift your mood whilst also boosting your libido, and may also help with any confidence issues you may be facing.
Focus on your mental health
Try to destress as much as you can. This is tricky with the pandemic and a lot of uncertainty, but stress is one of the main factors behind low sex drive as you will feel agitated, anxious and in no way in the mood for sex. Try to pinpoint what is making you feel stressed, whether it's work, money or relationships and try to remedy this so you can engage in enjoyable sexual activity once again.
Talk to your partner
Communicate with your partner about how you feel and see if there is anything you can do together to help increase your sex drive. Whether that be engaging in mindful sex, trying out new things, purchasing sex toys or watching porn together, all these can make a huge difference and may help to shake things up a bit. Honesty is best policy and you will feel much better being honest with your partner.
Think about any lifestyle changes
Cut down on bad habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking and drug use, and focus on eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg. It's also super important to ensure you are drinking plenty of water as dehydration can also impact your libido and you may feel fatigued and loss of energy.
Try a sex schedule
Try and set aside time for intimacy with your partner. Scheduling sex into the diary can sometimes seem tedious and un-spontaneous but it is a great way of ensuring you and your partner are having that essential time together and this may kick start your libido. Try once a week, or once every two weeks if you feel once a week is too much to start with.
Re-think about your timing
According to a new study from CBD brand Naturecan, morning sex may be more satisfying than sex at any other time of day, something worth thinking about if you're struggling with a low libido by the end of the day. The findings, which were published in May 2023, revealed that 7.30am was the best time to have sex. The study saw 500 men and 500 women in the UK, mostly in long-term relationships, aged 18 to 65, recording the times at which they had sex over six weeks. Overall, two-thirds of people chose morning sex as the most satisfying, between 7am and 10.30am and just 33 per cent said they had the best sex at night. Because having sex releases endorphins, it has been suggested to be one way to start the day in a good mood.
This article was originally published on Glamour UK.