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Sex life research from our friends at sexual wellness brand LELO UK reveals over one in eight (12%) Brits haven’t had an intimate sexual experience, including anything from a kiss to sex, for more than three years. The top ten reasons Brits are having less sex come down to tiredness (35.7%), mental health (33.6%), negative body image (25%), low libido (19.4%), ageing (18.3%), work pressures (16.1%), menopause (14.5%), medication (12.6%), performance anxiety (9.4%) and children (11%).

LELO UK reports anxiety and poor mental health had a negative impact on the sex lives for 30-35% of people. Those reporting the biggest impact of anxiety were the 18-24s (42.5%), significantly more than just 12.7% of the over 65s.

Anticipation is the best natural aphrodisiac we have and building it up can be a real positive for desire.

The country is finally emerging from pandemic seclusion, which has changed a lot of us in ways great and small – including our relationships. 

If the decades of the 1960s and 70s were the era of sexual liberation, LELO’s UK research shows that for many million British adults under 65, the 2020’s are becoming one of sexual suppression. 

Relationship reset.

LELO UK believes that this newfound freedom is the perfect opportunity for a relationship reset – to learn from the time spent hunkering down together and look forward to the future. 

LELO UK sex expert Kate Moyle has shared her advice on reconnecting with your partner in the bedroom:

  1. Make a list of Yes/No/Maybe. This will allow you to gauge where each other are at in terms of things that you might like to try. You can download lists of ‘sex menus’ online, or you can make your own, or even make it into a game. It can be a conversation starter for new things that you might like to try. 
  2. Improve sexual currency. Sexual currency is basically anything that’s not sex but is something that you would only like to do with a partner. For example, a lengthy kiss, or sensual touch. This creates opportunity within which responsive desire can be triggered but also rebuilds a sensual connection and feeling comfortable with approaching each other regularly. 
  3. Flirt. Flirting is something that is often alive at the start of a relationship and tends to fade as we get more comfortable. Send your partner a flirty text during the day. Anticipation is the best natural aphrodisiac we have and building it up can be a real positive for desire. 
  4. Play with the senses. Changing your context is helpful for mixing things up in your sex life, but often we think these need to be huge things. Changing something in your environment like texture, smell, temperature, music, and lighting, can shift your mood and help to break up routine. Every time you have sex, try to change one thing. This will break up routine and is a very achievable and non-intimidating way of doing it. 

LELO UK sex expert , Kate Moyle comments: “Like anything else in life, our relationships go through phases and stages, highs and lows and normalising this is an important part of us not jumping to conclusions when our relationship is in a slump. One problem that many people have is that as soon as things aren’t working or going perfectly, instead of considering the bigger picture or accepting the fluctuation we jump to the assumption that something must be wrong and internalise, rather than thinking a bit more critically about the situation.” 

Quality time.

For those who are looking to reignite the spark outside of the bedroom and strengthen their connection, Kate shares advice: 

  1. Don’t assume. Don’t just assume and go with the narrative or story about what you think is going on in your head as often this can be a narrow version of the story and based on worries or insecurities rather than reality. 
  2. Talk it out. Communication is key in all relationships but becomes critically important if we are struggling. Be clear and try to focus on what you can change in the immediate time – avoid using phrases like ‘always’ and ‘never’ and talk about what you can change today or this week. Use ‘I’ statements owning your feelings, rather than accusing or blaming which will shut the conversation down. 
  3. Make time. Often couples struggle with communication when they are feeling distant and that can compound the problem. Try not to avoid (which is often our most natural instinct) and try to approach. Book some quality time in even if it’s for something small like a walk, a coffee, or eating dinner together. 
  4. Stop comparing. Things like social media trap up into comparison cycles of constantly looking at what everyone else is doing and thinking it’s in some way better than where we are at. In fact, one of the biggest factors at play here is perspective. Try and focus on how you feel, not how things appear or look, and then you can lean into and prioritise the things that are making you feel good. 
  5. Try something new together. A couple’s sex life can often get stuck in a rut with assuming that they know everything about each other which stunts curiosity. Getting to know each other in a different way or doing something new creates the chance to surprise each other. 

Marcella Zanchi, LELO UK Marketing Manager, says: “We have all learnt so much about ourselves during lockdown and the same goes for those who lived with their partners. We have seen people reporting a real shift in their sex lives both during lockdown and since coming out the other side of it, which for many couples exacerbates the struggles that they may already be having. We hope this advice will help reignite passion and allow couples to hit the reset button that their relationships might be in desperate need of.” 

Don’t tell Batman but Robin just came out as bisexual.

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Fifi Goldberg

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