When the first lockdown was called, there was something a little bit sexy about the situation (bear with me). Almost like a bad, OTT porno plot.

*Authoritarian newsreader voice*: “There is a deadly disease out there folks, stay inside for now and don’t touch each other.”

Pandemic Dick: I Asked A Sex Therapist Why It’s So Hard To Get It Up During Lockdown

Overnight, people became forbidden fruit, and everyone and everything looked extra sweet and juicy. I recall feeling like I was on a super horny drug at the time. I wasn’t alone, this was validated by my friends, my DMs, and everyone on Twitter alike.

But what goes up must come down. It’s now been *checks calendar* seven whole months since lockdown began, and an especially long time for our friends in Melbourne. Are they still that horny? I thought I would check on some friends and strangers and see how their lockdown libidos were going.

Pandemic Dick: I Asked A Sex Therapist Why It’s So Hard To Get It Up During Lockdown

Me getting ready for another sexy article.

The consensus was overwhelmingly negative. 🙁

“My sex drive went to zero for the first time in my life and it has stayed that way for about two or three months,” Ricky said.

“It became such an issue that I thought it was a problem with [my partner and I’s] relationship. But we also have become more intimate than ever, more cuddly and in love but I don’t want sex.”

It’s not just couples who are experiencing a lack of sex drive; singles seem to have lost touch with their masturbation routines.

“I haven’t masturbated for over a week,” single dude Aidan said.

“This is highly, highly unusual for me. I have been whacking off one to three times a day in lockdown but there is no sign of life down there anymore.”

“I haven’t been interested in watching porn either,” he continued. “I’m worried about it.”

I spoke to sex therapist Kathryn Halcyon as to what is causing serious cases of what I am now referring to as ‘lockdown dick’. She says lockdown and the pandemic are directly attacking our sense of safety and comfort, which are essential ingredients for getting in the mood.

“Our arousal response (as a part of the Automatic Nervous System), requires a sense of safety and trust to let our bodies experience pleasure,” she said.

This pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works for almost everyone and we are stressed. Whether  it be about finances, job security, the health of our families, or relationship stress. Kathryn said that “right now, our bodies are prioritising basic survival over pleasure”.

In other words, 2020 is acting like a giant cockblock to our libidos.

Pandemic Dick: I Asked A Sex Therapist Why It’s So Hard To Get It Up During Lockdown

It seems our subconscious minds aren’t that keen on bringing new life into a world with such an uncertain future either – the whole point of getting horny is to reproduce, after all.

“Our bodies aren’t thinking long term for evolution or population growth (especially with a pandemic) – they only care about having their basic needs met,” Kathryn said.

“In this state of being, we’re also using most of our neurological energy on managing anxiety and physical stress, so developing physical arousal can be really challenging.”

Working from home, although convenient, isn’t helping our horny either.

“A lot of people are also stuck working indoors during this pandemic,” Kathryn continued. “They’re alone and stressing about work where they sleep and rest. It’s messing with our circadian rhythms which when balanced play an integral role in libido. It’s hard to be aroused in the bedroom when you’ve spent all day on your laptop in bed with your colleagues.”

No, how you are feeling won’t last forever. Kathryn says to look at your libido like a season.

“Just like the weather, we have seasons of celebration and socialisation, and then seasons of solitude and stillness. It’s very normal to experience long periods of being horny and then followed by an equal period of sexual introversion. Whichever you’re experiencing right now, try to embrace it as a temporary experience.”

So what can you do to start turning this around? Basically, give yourself a break and know you aren’t the only one.

“The first thing to stop doing is shaming yourself – self-judgment will only push your libido away further,” Kathryn said. “Globally we’re experiencing a lot of anxiety. It makes sense that people are reporting low libido. I’m seeing it in my coaching clients, throughout my research, and so on.”

Always remember to listen to your body: “This is a great time to practice personal boundaries. If you are in a relationship, I invite you to communicate with your partner openly, perhaps using the seasons analogy, so they have some hope and understanding.”

It’s important to remember sex doesn’t start and end in bed. Building sexual energy and tension slowly is just as important, and just as sexy.

“Sexual energy builds beyond the bedroom,” Kathryn said.
“We’re all so fixated on sex as this linear, momentary act that has a beginning and end. But it doesn’t. You can build sexual tension throughout the day. Find ways to be creative, playful, and flirty with yourself, life, and lover(s) to stir this sexual energy. There are endless ways to build playful energy beyond sex – go on an adventure together, do something creative together… and then sex will probably follow!”
Pandemic Dick: I Asked A Sex Therapist Why It’s So Hard To Get It Up During Lockdown
Want to know more? You can listen to Kathryn’s Podcast Soul & Sex on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or reach out to her on IG.