In fact, not all of us are in our 40s having sex. Despite early predictions of a coronavirus-induced baby boom, it seems that during the lockdown, we were less eager to jump into bed than some had imagined.
Justin Garcia, a gender researcher at the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana, discovered in a study of global sexual habits from mid-March to mid-May that almost half of those surveyed reported having sex less frequently and enjoying it less during the pandemic. (although some have reported sexual experimentation).
He thinks there will be no baby boom to show during these two months of foreclosure: “People report fairly high rates of feeling stressed and worried, and these are not psychological states conducive to sexuality, “he told the Financial Times.
“Two gazelles do not mate in front of a lion and we do not stop to chat in the middle of a fire. For many people, their body and their brain react as if they were in the middle of a fire”, he added.
Couples interviewed indicated that their relationships had improved in other ways under the isolation regime, even if they had less sex. And some 20% said they had “expanded their sexual repertoire” during their forties.
But Garcia predicts that they may face a new challenge as the lock comes up: “If one partner goes to the store and doesn’t wear a mask and the other partner is very careful, the game of blame changes, “he says. This may mean that in terms of gender, “I feel like things won’t bounce back until people feel safe.”
So if we weren’t all busy procreating, what did we do with our quarantine instead? As much of the United States reopens, it’s worth thinking about some survey data that shows what we did with our love and money during the lockdown: will new sex and new spending endure in a world that now hopes to pass for normal?
Jamie Foster Campbell, who studies how technology is shaping acts of intimacy, says many Americans are spending a lot more time online with elderly parents now: “People in their mid-60s say pandemic has invigorated relationships with their adult children ”. Will family rituals, such as meals prepared and shared in sync on video chat, continue, or will we all start planning to call each month again, but only manage birthdays?
Online shopping took a long time, especially if it involved jockeying for scarce grocery delivery times or finding a pork chop once they became scarce due to closures induced by the pandemic of meat packing facilities.
According to data from Nielsen, the consumer research company, two of the fastest growing year-over-year growth categories in the United States in the week before May 23 were oat milk, which saw sales increase by 254%, and fresh meat substitutes, up. 178%. They may have benefited from the green spirit and general awareness of the health of the public under control, as obesity is a risk factor for Covid-19, according to consumer experts. However, it is not clear if all of this will persist.
Flea and tick shampoo sales increased by almost a quarter from the same week last year. Instead, it must be all of these pandemic puppies that we must accompany during the lockout. Sales of hair colors increased by 20% and those of nail polish by a third. It will be bad news for salon owners if consumers decide that they can now do all their grooming at home.
Lobster sales have increased by three-quarters and scented candles by almost two-thirds: is there finally romance in the air? The lockdown may have limited our ability and desire to have sex in a completely predictable manner and others that were surprising, experts say. EB Cotenord is a sex worker near Chicago: she has a 10 year old asthmatic child at home, so she stopped seeing clients several weeks ago and started working 60 to 70 hours a week to provide phone and video videos. She says she will not return to sex work in the real world “until there is a vaccine”, although it is much more lucrative. The danger for her child at risk would be too great.
The U.S. economy may be reopening, but gender and spending patterns may turn out to be late indicators. Go short on condoms, and long on sex toys: we may be having less, but more naughty sex for some time to come.