Did you get lockdown and dirty? Daily Mirror agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s sex survey reveals impact of coronavirus lockdown on love lives of couples isolating together
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Thanks to the nearly 10,000 of you who took part in my Big Love & Sex in Lockdown Survey, taking the time to tell me how love has been for you amid the pandemic.
And judging by your responses, the majority of you coped unbelievably well with this hugely challenging time for intimate relationships.
How hard was it being cooped up together 24/7 with only the odd trip to Tesco to relieve the stress and boredom?
And there was so much other pressure – fears over the virus, worries about loved ones, stress around money and jobs and, of course childcare issues and the homeschooling hell.
The majority of you (70%) didn’t argue more – wow! And the 30% of you who admitted to more rows mostly argued over minor domestic stuff like taking the bins out, which doesn’t surprise me.
It’s often the little things that over time become major issues – if your partner’s leaving dirty pans in the sink every night or ignoring the bins until they overflow, you’ll to lose it at some point! When I was married, bins and bathrooms were the things that drove me nuts.
I was thrilled to see 59% of couples living together felt this had brought them closer. Your lives were probably in sync for the first time in years, so you had the opportunity to share more with each other and have more meaningful conversations – which is great as communication is vital in sustaining any relationship.
If you’ve been together a while, it’s easy to fall into the rut of treating your other half like a comfy old slipper. But lockdown made many of you appreciate your partner, feel grateful for what you have and even remember why you fell in love.
I was delighted to see that more than a third of lovers improved their sex lives in lockdown, and I was particularly impressed by the 33% who spiced things up in the bedroom and moved the fun into other parts of the house, too. I’m guessing you lot don’t have kids!
But I’m not surprised a healthy number enjoyed a sex bonanza – a key factor in getting sex back on track is having the opportunity to actually do it, which lockdown provided. Life is so busy, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of giving sex a miss.
I’m a sucker for romance, so well done to the 34% who pulled out the stops to keep romance alive. It was small things that made the biggest difference with 65% doing little things for each other regularly – making a cuppa, trading massages, sending nice messages.
Coleen Nolan is the Daily Mirror’s agony aunt – subscribe to her weekly newsletter for a round-up of problem page letters and her take on the week
As an agony aunt, I’m always banging on about the importance of building romance outside the bedroom, because it pays off – 58% of you who made the effort said your sex lives had improved as a result.
My daughter Ciara’s boyfriend, Max, was isolating with us and I watched him bring her a cuppa every morning. He’s just a young lad but he did it because he wanted to and, while big romantic gestures are lovely sometimes, it’s this day-to-day stuff that sustains a relationship and makes you feel loved and appreciated. What I find encouraging about the results of the survey is that a lot of good things have come out of a bad situation.
For more than two-thirds of you living with a partner, lockdown hasn’t changed what you want from your relationship and for the 35% who do want to make changes, they’re positive ones – being kinder to each other, being more open to the other’s point of view and doing more together. Here, the 84% of couples surveyed who spent lockdown together reveal their experiences…
Have you argued more with your other half during lockdown?
(Image: Getty Images)
Yes: 30% No: 70%
Of the 30% having more rows:
How serious would you describe your rows?
We argue over domestic chores, like who takes the bins out.
I’ve started to question the relationship and I’m thinking of leaving.
Boiling point: 18%
We’re not getting on being cooped up 24/7.
Has spending every day together brought you closer?
(Image: Getty Images)
Yes: 59% No: 41%
Of those who said they have grown closer during lockdown:
50% said they’d loved the chance to spend lots of time together without many distractions.
48% said they’d had more meaningful conversations, including about our relationship and our future plans.
40% said they’d discovered more things together – such as cooking, walking, cycling and binge-watching Netflix.
Has lockdown changed what you want from your relationship?
Yes: 35% No: 65%
Of those who said their future plans had changed:
46% were planning to be kinder to each other and more open to the other’s point of view.
44% are determined to do more things together when lockdown is over.
23% have made a huge decision – e.g., moving house, travelling, getting engaged or starting a family.
Has lockdown given your sex life a boost?
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Yes: 31% No: 69%
For those enjoying a sex boost:
56% said hitting the pause button on busy lives has given them more opportunity to get intimate.
43% said they were less stressed, so their sex drives were on fire!
33% said they’d tried new things in the bedroom – and in other parts of the house – to keep things interesting!
49% of couples who feel lockdown has brought them closer together said their sex life was better, compared with 10% who haven’t been feeling closer.
Has sex gone off the boil since lockdown or slipped off the agenda altogether?
Yes: 41% No: 59%
For those whose sex lives had suffered:
50% said sex was patchy and boring before lockdown and this has finished it off!
48% said all the changes in their lives mean they had more to worry about than sex, plus they were always too tired at bedtime.
9% said seeing their partner in sweatpants 24/7 and putting up with their horrible habits is a total turn-off!
Have you made an effort to keep romance alive, e.g. date nights at home or spicier sex?
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Yes: 34% No: 66%
Of those who said yes:
23% said at least once a week they dress up nicely for each other, cook a special meal and have a proper conversation, just the two of them.
33% said they’d become more adventurous during sex – e.g. fantasy, role play, sex toys and lingerie. But it’s the little things that really count
65% said they’ve been doing small things for each other – e.g. making a cuppa, sending sexy or romantic texts when we’re working, trading massages and snuggling up together more.
58% of those who have made an effort said their sex lives had improved compared with 21% who hadn’t.
Has coping with kids in lockdown affected your relationship?
(Image: Getty Images)
Yes: 28% No: 72%
59% said the kids are always around, so there’s no time or space for them, except when the kids are in bed and then they were too exhausted for sex!
57% of people who said coping with
kids had affected their relationship also said their sex life had gone off the boil.
26% said their parenting styles were very different, which has led to rows.
17% said their partner has taken on less of the childcare, leaving them seething with resentment.
Has lockdown changed your view of your relationship?
Yes: 39% No: 61%
Of those who said it had:
42% said on the whole, they have a good, supportive relationship but there are areas they needed to work on.
30% said they’d realised how lucky they are to have their partner and won’t take them for granted when this is over.
28% had realised they are incompatible in lots of ways and either need to get help or get out!
Has lockdown put lots of extra stress on your relationship?
Yes: 33% No: 67%
Of these with extra stress:
38% said they’ve tried to ignore it and hope that when lockdown is over things will get better.
37% said they’ve been able to talk about it together and realise they need to be more patient with each other.
20% said they’ve talked it over with friends and taken lots of long walks, which usually makes them feel better.
5% said they had reached out to a professional organisation for advice and support.
68% also said their sex life had gone off the boil.
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