For certain couples, the pandemic may have boosted their sex life, especially if their pre-pandemic work and life schedules were always too busy to find time at home. Being forced to stay at home gave some partners the chance to slow down and find more time to connect and be intimate — sort of like you do on vacation.
But for many couples, research in the U.S. shows that partnered sex and intimacy plunged during the lockdown. A big part of that was likely because Americans were (and are) completely stressed out. Not only did people have unparalleled anxiety when it came to health-related issues, but there were also financial concerns that stemmed from job loss (2020’s unemployment rate was the worst since 1939), unprecedented childcare issues, pandemic weight gain, and burnout. And if you happened to live in a small studio apartment with your partner — and no other in-person social contact — yeah, any mystery that was left disappeared pretty quickly.
While the future still looks uncertain in terms of the pandemic, it doesn’t mean that you indefinitely have to settle for less-than-stellar sex life. Sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, MA, shares some tips on how you can start your days with better habits that improve your libido.
Stop reaching for your phone first thing in the morning.
During a period where we’re all starved for connection after quarantine, it may seem unimaginable to ditch your smartphone. But a study shows that one in three people who use their phones in bed has seen a decline in their sex lives. If you’re scrolling through social media, checking your work emails, or catching up on news on your phone in bed instead of snuggling with your partner, you’re not creating opportunities for intimacy.
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Start the day with masturbation.
“The better you know your body, the better you can relay that information to a potential sexual partner. Finding different positions that work for your body and communicating it to your partner are keys to having a healthy and happy sex life,” says Stewart. “You should masturbate whenever it feels right for you. I encourage folks to masturbate in the morning to get their good hormones in and help that lead them in their day.
However, some of us also use masturbation to fall asleep at night, and this is just as valid of a time to masturbate. I also suggest going to sex workshops and classes to find out more about what you like and don’t like and learn new skills that would be helpful for a future lover. Taking the time to take care of yourself and make sure you understand your sexual desires, boundaries, values, and needs will make you a better lover for yourself and someone else,” she says.
Get sweaty — outside of the sheets.
Exercise releases endorphins, a.k.a. “feel-good hormones,” that can help you start your day on a positive note. We all know that exercise has a positive effect on us mentally and physically, but research shows it can also benefit your libido. Cardio exercises increase blood flow that could mean faster arousal, and strength training has shown to increase libido, according to the article. “Exercising directly improves your sex life and your sexual health because when you exercise, you can develop the muscles and stamina you need to endure sex. Additionally, exercising helps with your breathing — the same breathwork for sex to achieve better pleasure and orgasms,” says Stewart.
Plus, working out may make you feel more confident in the way your body looks. You don’t want to over-exercise, as this may create more stress on your body — just pick an activity that you enjoy.
Use your morning shower to multitask.
Especially if you have kids, your mornings can be strapped for time. Shower sex might be the one opportunity in the day where you won’t have kids barging in on you. There’s also a sense of urgency during a shower, which can be arousing — and the hot water can make you feel relaxed. Just remember a silicone-based lubricant as the water in the shower can create friction.
Eat a smarter breakfast.
Start your day off with a balanced meal that not only helps you better push through your day so you’re not too tired or #hangry for sex but can serve as libido boosters as well. Popular breakfast ingredients like avocados and bananas are considered aphrodisiacs for the high levels of vitamin B. One study showed that apple consumption is related to better sex lives in women. If you rely on a morning cup of coffee every day, consider green tea instead: This antioxidant-rich tea helps improve blood circulation to your genitals.
Make your morning sex routine more fun.
Sometimes you just need a little bit of an assist with the help of these vibrators:
- We-Vibe Silver Delights: “This gift is the gift that keeps on giving: It’s perfect for you whether you have a front-facing or back-facing vulva,” says Stewart.
- We-Vibe Moxie Panty Vibrator: “This is an excellent gift for couples because this can be used privately, as well as publicly, without anyone having to know what you’re doing. Having one person put the panty vibrator in their pants and going on a date while the other person controls the remote can be thrilling all the way around, which makes it great for foreplay,” she says.
- CalExotics Impulse E-Stim Dual Vibrator: “Use this e-stim dual vibrator will help to tone your pelvic floor muscles, as well as get you off. Who could ask for anything more,” she says.
- Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System: “You don’t have to be a rope bondage connoisseur to enjoy this system. If you’ve been thinking about ways to get a little kinkier, you can pull these out (after talking about it first with your lover and getting consent) and engaging in a power exchange,” she says.
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- Lovers Joy Stick Thruster: “This is definitely one of my favorites as the vibration of the thrust not only gets your G-spot, but the pulse gives the clitoris some pleasure, too. Hands-free thrusters like this one are certainly on-trend,” she says.
- Evolved Thrust and Go Travel Vibrator: “This thruster has two different attachments; one if you want to feel full and one with a G-Spot stimulation curve. And the best part is that the bottom is a secure suction, so all you need is a flat surface, and you’re good to go,” she says.
“Remember, all of our bodies are different, so you may need to try a few things before finding the toys you need that fit well for your body. Also, make sure you use a lubricant. I also recommend cleaning your toys using a sex toy cleaner, antibacterial soap, and water, or sterilizing with boiling water is your best bet to ensure your toys remain clean,” says Stewart.
With additional reporting by Christa Lee.
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