According to various researches done earlier, it is well understood that there is a direct relationship between sexual activity and physical health. Apart from These health benefits, sex is also helping to protect older adults against cardiovascular events. Frequent sexual activity has also been associated with various mental health benefits and improved cognitive function.
But during a recent study organized in UK, it was found that researchers expected very high level of sexual activity during lock down but interestingly we found a very low level. This low level of sexual activity could be explained by people currently feeling anxious and stressed owing to the pandemic and not being in the mood to engage in the act. Moreover, those who are not married or cohabiting may not currently be able to meet up with their sexual partners and similarly those who use online apps to facilitate casual sex will currently not be able to do this.
According to Dr. Priyank Salecha, Urologist & Andrologist/ Urology, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kondapur “The major reason being that the Pandemics is known to cause distress and an increase in poor mental health. Prolonged isolation resulting from lockdown’s anti-contagion measures may lead to anxiety, depression, anger, boredom, frustration, and PTSD for some people. “
However, research has found that the hormone endorphin that releases during sexual intercourse is known to alleviate stress and anxiety. In fact, people who have intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations, found a research from the University of the West of Scotland. So sex could be the distraction that you need amidst this unpredictable crisis. Although that is easier said than done, Desire is not a switch that you can flip using logic. Co-habiting with a family, having a small child to care for, the list of chores that need to be done each day, and the added stress from following corona virus updates could be a buzz kill.
But on the other hand of this spectrum are couples, who are indeed experiencing a better sexual life amidst social distancing. Proximity is one factor that is working for such couples, especially those who had busy schedules and little time for each other in the pre-social distancing era. Another is the fact their desires are in sync. If you and your partner both want the same thing, that does anything else really matter?
But what if your desires are not in sync? What if one partner sees sex as a much-needed release in this situation, but the other cannot wrap their head around this logic? Could this mismatch of wavelengths be the reason for the rise in the subscriptions of Gleeden in India? Or is it just that a significant number of couples are now stuck together under lockdown, despite being in dysfunctional marriages? Perhaps the answers vary for every couple.
Agreeing that Gender Differences Impact during the pandemic, Dr. Priyank Salecha, Urologist & Andrologist/ Urology, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kondapur says “that it is well documented that men are more disproportionately affected by COVID-19 than women. There are theories that it may relate to occupational risk, smoking or lifestyle, but recently, research is focusing more on the biological differences between the sexes, specifically our chromosomal and hormonal makeup.”
Despite all the above, Harvard Medical School and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), have come up with some safe sex guidelines which can help you cope with disease anxiety, stay safe and still enjoy the pleasure of sex once the restrictions are eased in your area.
But Dr. Priyank Salecha, Urologist & Andrologist/ Urology, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kondapur says “in spite of all above, Sexual intimacy or sexual activity is an important part of life, but with government guidance instructing us to keep our distance from others; it’s time to get creative about how we manage our sex lives”.
The following are some of the tips given by experts that you can use to have safe sex.
- You are your safest sex partner, as the ASHA puts it. Masturbation is not likely to spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands with soap and water or disinfect your hands and all sex toys before and after use.
- The next safest sex partner is your spouse or partner who you live with. This is not the time to be going out or experimenting with a stranger.
- Make sure both sex partners are completely healthy. If you or your partner shows any signs of COVID-19 or any health issue after sex, call a doctor immediately and pause sexual activity.
- Avoid rimming and other any other sexual activity that involves contact of the mouth and anus.
- Use condoms and/or contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- When it comes to having sex with someone you don’t live with, it’s best to avoid it for the time being. Social distancing is still essential to breaking the chain of COVID-19, lockdown or not.
Article is prepared by Dr. Priyank Salecha, Urologist & Andrologist/ Urology, Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Kondapur