Sex and Mental Health: The Correlation

There had never been a worse time to be single.

When the UK went into lockdown in March, we were all forced to make sacrifices. Gone were trips to the pub, any plans for an Easter getaway and, if you weren’t planning to isolate with a partner, virtually any chance of sex. Indeed, ‘keep your distance’ became a rallying cry, as we were all urged to avoid unnecessary contact with others. Sex with people you didn’t live with inevitably had to go; you can hardly social distance and get laid at the same time, after all.

Of course, during a global pandemic, complaining about your government-enforced dry spell might seem silly, trivial and selfish. And it’s true – there are certainly worse fates than having to spend three months without sex – but, if you find yourself frustrated, annoyed and moody as a result, you might find yourself justifying these trivial complaints.

Physical touch is crucial to the wellbeing of all people; a lack of it can lead to depression and increased feelings of isolation. If babies aren’t held frequently enough, the consequences to their development can be serious and irreversible. For adults, touch starvation can lead to increased levels of aggressive behaviour and, ironically, sexual dysfunction in some cases. Having regular sex even been linked to a decreased risk of depression. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend trying to use these facts as a pick up line once you can finally head out to the clubs again, you might be able to use them to justify slumming around in your pyjamas, comfort eating and whinging to anyone who’ll listen about how much you wish you had found a lockdown buddy. If you’re really brave, I’d like to see you try and use the negative impact a lack of sex has had on as an extenuating circumstance – at least you’ll give your poor lecturers a laugh.

As the lockdown begins to wind down (fingers crossed for those air bridges if you’re hoping for a summer of loving), some of you will have been over-eager to return to your long-distance girlfriends and boyfriends, desperate to show them exactly how much you’ve missed them. A couple of my friends have even ventured out for a nice socially distanced date, having taken full advantage of the boom in online dating the lockdown caused.  

If you haven’t managed to bubble up with someone yet, there are always other ways to try and counter your bad mood. A hug with a household member can soothe at least a little of the touch deprivation you may be suffering, even if it’s unlikely to help with your other, um, *frustrations*, whilst window shopping on Tinder might give you some hope for the future. With the App’s new verification ticks now in full swing, the cute girl or boy you’re chatting to might even resemble their photos in real life, so here’s hoping if you do decide to take things further. Other than that, I’m pretty sure there’s a good reason why ‘365 DNI’, a police romance film that very much warrants its’ 18+ classification, has remained in the top ten on Netflix for weeks now.

Featured image by Neil Gaudet, available on Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0 license



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