We're living in a slow-moving horror movie and the world as we know it is crumbling around us. People are dying, the economy is fucked, and we're essentially in full cockblock-down. The coronavirus pandemic is putting pressure on every aspect of our lives and yet we've never been hornier.
There are condom shortages in Singapore, China and Hong Kong. People have been panic buying dildos and buttplugs, with sex toy sales tripling in New Zealand. Sales of the famed Womanizer toy have skyrocketed, rising by 135 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic. Coronavirus porn, featuring people shagging each other senseless in gloves, masks and hazmat suits, has gone viral. Horny Reddit communities have popped up like r/QuarantineGoneWild. And people are fetishising the plague doctor. Instagram has become a thirst-trap of coronavirus-themed posts, and finally – and most disturbingly – people are texting their exes like there’s no tomorrow (well, is there?). Despite our daily dystopia, we’ve never been hornier, proving that even amid a worldwide pandemic, humans have the ability to fetishise anything.
So why is COVID-19 making us so insatiably frisky? Is our rampant arousal a result of boredom from staying inside all day or is existential dread acting as some kind of mental lubrication for our libidos? Or is something else at play?
Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute says, “There are several things going on here. But yes, you have a lot of people at home who have more time on their hands than usual and are lacking their normal social outlets.
“With this combination of more leisure time but fewer outlets for socialising, it makes perfect sense that you’re going to see a lot of bored and horny people sitting around — they’re not stressed from a long day at the office and they don’t have anywhere to go.”
Psychologists have found that fear of death can prompt more sexual desire as a coping mechanism, with studies showing that when people were forced to think about their own mortality, they expressed more interest in having casual sex.
“Fear and other strong emotions definitely have the potential to make us horny,” Lehmiller says.
Researchers found that when we’re in a heightened state of physiological arousal — when heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure rise — sexual arousal is amplified. It’s called “excitation transfer,” and this is the same reason why people often say that “make-up sex” is the best sex. Those strong emotions they’re feeling from, say, a big fight or argument with their partner are carrying over into the bedroom and amplifying the sexual response.”
Then, of course, you have the fact that orgasms are the ultimate stress-reliever, offering a huge blast of happy-making dopamine, serotonin and endorphins with every climax. Canadian sex and relationships researcher Dr Kristen Mark says, “For some people, heightened stress will heighten their arousal response. In times of uncertainty, it can be helpful to experience the calming effect that sexual arousal and orgasm has.”
As quarantine and social-distancing measures continue, it’s time to recruit technology as your wingman. There are myriad ways to sexually connect with others while still practising social distancing. Think sexting, phone sex, iso-dating, Zoom orgies, sex toys and subscribing to as many OnlyFans accounts as you can possibly afford. Now is the time to get creative... and we've got plenty of it.