Since New York’s ‘stay home’ order went into effect, our wine consumption has gone way up, but the 21st Birthday 2020 The Year When Shit Got Real Quarantined Shirts but in fact I love this frequency that we’re having sex has gone way down, says Nicholas, 27, a publicist, who’s going on five years with his boyfriend. It’s a sentiment echoed by Nicky, a 38-year-old creative director, in her fifth year of marriage. I thought my husband and I were going to have a ton of sex with all the time we were spending together and being un- and underemployed, but we’ve probably had sex twice since this all started, she says. We’re definitely staying close and cuddling, but not a lot of action. So, what gives?
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One major turnoff is our collective mounting anxiety. My anxiety level is so intense and I never think sex will make me feel better, says Iris, a 40-year-old content strategist who has been married to her husband Hugh, 42, for 12 years and has two young children. It’s just hard to get in the 21st Birthday 2020 The Year When Shit Got Real Quarantined Shirts but in fact I love this mood. Nicholas and Nicky also namecheck anxiety as a primary reason for their plummeting libido. According to Solomon, the connection makes a lot of sense. She places sex drive into two broad categories: Spontaneous desire is just feeling horny, which some of us have lots of, and is really common early on in a relationship when there’s a lot of physiological draw, says Solomon. But as we settle into relationships our desire often becomes more responsive, and cued by internal or external cues. There are things that will trigger our desire or shut it down. Stress looms large on the libido-killer list. Chalk it up, in part, to evolution: We are the ancestors of people who stopped fucking inside their cave when a tiger appeared, so an evolutionary psychologist would say stress shutting you down sexually makes sense, Solomon explains. The people who were like, ‘forget the tiger, let’s finish this,’ got chomped. When there’s a threat, evolutionary psychologists say it’s adaptive to be vigilant and to attend to the danger.