October 15, 2020

SEX ON THURSDAY | Lackluster Libido

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Ever since the start of the pandemic, I feel like I have no libido. I have very little interest in sex. My partner is starting to take my lack of sex drive personally, but I don’t know how to tell them that it’s not their fault! Is there something wrong with me? 


Hi LackLuster,

If there’s a “No Sex Drive During a Pandemic Club,” then you and I are both members. And so are millions of people across the world. Not being interested in sex during a global crisis is completely normal. There is nothing wrong with you; the culprit is likely stress and anxiety.

And congrats! You are not just feeling the normal stresses of everyday life. The pandemic has elicited a more extreme version of stress: “Survival stress.” The unknown nature of our finances, health and government has pushed our bodies into fight or flight. A sustained state of fight or flight has hormonal impacts on the body … which kills the libido.

That’s not all! The “Why COVID-19 Has Ruined My Sex Drive” list is long. Grab your popcorn!

First, perhaps you and your partner are spending significantly more time together. You know the old adage: Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Well, the opposite is true, proximity makes the libido go squander! (I tried.) What used to be cute quirks is now an annoying habit and the exciting rush of reuniting with your partner is a distant memory. To mitigate this, make sure to treat yourself to plenty of “Me Time” and set clear boundaries for moments apart.

Secondly, your lifestyle may have changed. If you’re anything like me, you may be eating and drinking more, while working out less. My weakness is staying up until 3 a.m. with a bottle of wine watching Game Of Thrones. Any time you change your eating, exercise, drinking or sleeping patterns, it will affect what’s going in your body. When your hormones change, so can your libido. I’m not saying you should add the Keto diet and Orange Theory to your never-ending To-Do list. Be gentle with yourself during this stressful time. Perhaps taking a few small steps to improve your health routine could improve your sex life.

Third, if you’re having less sex, you’ll stop craving sex. It’s a tricky spiral. More sex equals more libido. Less sex equals less libido. If you’re feeling up to it, perhaps you need to jumpstart your system. It could be helpful to create a routine that regularly incorporates sex or masturbation into your week, even if you’re feeling a bit turned off.

Variations in sexual desire are normal, but if this is a persistent concern you may want to consult a healthcare provider. You can schedule an appointment with Sexual Health Care at Cornell Health. If you are content with the pause in your sex life, keep doing what works to get through these #unprecedentedtimes.

Best of luck!



Cornelia is a student at Cornell University. Email [email protected] with questions you wish to submit to the author. Sex on Thursday runs every Thursday this semester.