There's no denying that the last year has provided its share of challenges in all aspects of our lives—perhaps, even in the bedroom.
Narcity spoke with Toronto-based sexologist, author, and TV personality Dr. Jess, who said that not only is this a normal problem to have, but it's also very possible to overcome.
Dr. Jess has helped thousands of couples transform their relationship, both in and outside of the bedroom.
Here are her relationship tips for how to support yourself and your partner in improving sexual intimacy, even in these unsexy times.
What can I do if the pandemic has killed my sex drive?
First of all, don't worry, says Dr. Jess. It's normal and, in fact, a completely natural response.
"When your body's stress response is activated, it can impede sexual response, including desire," says the sex expert.
Dr. Jess recommends focusing on quality over quantity, and not putting pressure on yourself to "perform" on a regular basis.
"Getting hung up on numbers or counting the days, weeks or months between sexual encounters can make sex seem chore-like and further intensify resentment," she says.
"Remember that sexual desire may not be something that resides within you and appears spontaneously. Instead, desire may be something you have to cultivate," she says.
How can I help my partner get in the mood?
First and foremost, "respect their boundaries," says Dr. Jess.
Open communication is also key. "Talk about sex more to better understand one another’s needs," she says.
To get the conversation going, you can ask questions like "What do you find challenging about sex?" or "Why is sex important to you?"
"If you want sex more often than your lover, take care of yourself and consider novel ways to include them in the action. Perhaps they can watch, hold you close, or lend a hand to the cause," says Dr. Jess.
How can my partner and I improve our sex life when spending a lot of time at home together?
Intimacy doesn't always need to be sexual, advises Dr. Jess. There are tons of other ways to connect with your partner.
"Wake up with a moment of appreciation. Rest your head on their chest and listen to their heartbeat to boost connection and gratitude," she recommends.
If your sleepy brain misses the opportunity, you can always break up the day with a moment of affection.
"Even if you rub their shoulders for one minute while they’re on a work call, you’ll likely feel more connected (and attracted to one another) after a moment of physical connection," she says.
Plus, there's nothing wrong with adding some alone time into your schedule. It can actually be quite beneficial, says Dr. Jess.
"Scheduling sex is not boring; it’s about building anticipation and planting the seed of desire long before you connect in bed."