Do you have cabin fever because of COVID-19?
With most of us stuck inside during the coronavirus crisis, our regular routines and social interactions have been severely disrupted. Even our work lives have changed to remote-only, as businesses have closed their physical locations. For example, I've had to move from in-person sessions to Zoom meetings with clients, and it's a bit of an adjustment!
So, what if you're stuck inside indefinitely and bored out of your mind? Well, if you have a partner who is in isolation with you, you're supposed to have lots of sex, right?! Not so fast. The pressures of COVID-19 have put us all in unfamiliar situations, and it has been wreaking havoc on our sex lives and relationships.
Seeing Each Other Every Day
Just like how staring at the same walls day in and out can get tedious, we can get tired interacting with only one person. Even if your partner is your favorite person in the world, being in close quarters with them, seemingly indefinitely, can put a great deal of strain on the relationship. Any issues you may have had before the virus hit will likely be magnified now that you're spending more time together.
Being your sole point of human contact can be difficult for your partner, as they may resent the emotional labor that's "required" of them during this pandemic. This is especially true if one partner is unemployed and stressed, while the other is working from home and calm. A mismatched reaction to the crisis can lead to some significant friction between you, especially as you see each other all day, every day. This situation can also lead to difficulties with your sex lives.
Mismatched Sex Drives
For some, a great way to deal with the uncertainty of the current situation is through sex. It can give them a feeling of safety and security, as well as provide a physical outlet for their frustrations. Sex can help drop stress levels, making it a tremendously therapeutic way to manage anxiety about COVID-19 (or any other stresses in life).
On the other hand, some people's sex drive simply shuts down when they are under prolonged stress. Physical distancing and stay-at-home guidelines have started to take a heavy toll on people's mental health. This, in turn, can result in a complete lack of interest in sex.
Both responses, and anything in between them, are 100% legitimate. It's normal for sexual drives to go away during times of extreme stress. It's normal for sexual drives to increase during a crisis. The problem is when one person in the relationship is raring to go, and the other is not feeling the least bit sexual. Add to that the close quarters of being confined to the same space, and the differences in desire can result in an awful lot of friction, hurt feelings, and frustration.
Of course, mismatched desire isn't just something that affects us now that we are staying at home. I've helped countless couples over the years work through this exact issue. More than anything, communication is key. Sharing how you feel with each other can start clearing the air between you. Rather than put the pressure on yourself to have penetrative sex, try some less intensive sexual activities like mutual masturbation or oral sex. Taking the pressure off yourself to have sex may help your sex drive rebound if the reason is stress-related.
Fighting Cabin Fever
Here is the good news: even though many of us are unable to go to work or interact with our friends and family, we aren't literally locked indoors.
While it can be tempting to hunker down indefinitely throughout the crisis, I would suggest getting out of the house whenever you can. Go for a walk every single day. This has two benefits. One, exercise will make you feel better. And two, it will give both you and your partner some much-needed alone time.
If you need to be alone for a little while, but the weather outside isn't cooperating, maybe take a nice long shower or bath? Perhaps head to separate rooms for a little while. If you want some time apart, it's amazing how closing a door can give you a sense of privacy.
Right now, it's vital to remember that this is an unprecedented situation. There is no handbook for navigating the pressures and stresses of a relationship during a pandemic (Although I suspect there will be quite a few of them written very soon)!
Your best strategy for navigating this crisis is to keep open communication with your significant other at all times. If you're feeling smothered, don't hide it from them, as that can create feelings of resentment. If your sex drive is nil, don't quietly hope they don't notice. By talking with each other freely about how the COVID-19 situation is affecting you, you can create strategies that will help you get through the next few weeks, and maybe even come out of the pandemic stronger than ever!
And if you need some help adapting, I can help with virtual relationship counseling and sex therapy. Call me today at 800-769-0342, and we can book a session for confidential online therapy!