Brits are 'having less sex', but is it a bad thing?
When was the last time you had sex? Last night, last week, last month, last year? According to findings published in the British Medical Journal, a third of men and womxn have not had sex in the past month. Welcome to my life.
The thing is, I don't know if I find it that unusual. I've been 'not having sex' on and off for the past 28 years, tbh. The study shows that over 25s and couples who live together or are married account for the biggest fall in sexual activity. I can't talk for those in a relationship, but no wonder us over-25s aren't having as much sex when we're battling with thousands of other potential prospects in swipe-happy apps. We live in an age where there are too many options, and everything is becoming diluted: intimacy, desire, sex and romance especially.
It's not all bad though, honest. As someone who regularly returns to former flames to validate her insecurities and leaves the next morning with paralysing self-doubt and obsessive tendencies, I can vouch for 'not having sex' being a very helpful, if not necessary, pastime.
Of course I'm (half) joking. Making space and time to have sex is important. But what I do believe is that we need to stop being so reactive to the absence of it, and really work out what is going on behind the scenes.
Perhaps you're in a relationship, and the problem might not be that you lack intimacy with your partner, or that you don't find them attractive, it could be about finding the time to be intimate. Or maybe you need to take a look at how you DEFINE sex - it doesn't have to be penetration, it could be as simple as eye gazing, breast play, touch or even kissing. Sure, a quickie once in a while might mean you're 'having sex', but really it's quality over quantity, right?
If you're single or dating, maybe you're seeking it for the wrong reasons. My personal experience is that I use sex to deflect intimacy because I'm terrified of rejection. What has been so helpful for me is to take a step back from sex, look at my behaviour, assess my patterns, and start doing the work to adapt so that I can get to a place where sex fits into my life without undermining my self-worth. Now, I don't think I think of sex in the same way as I used to. I used to think that sex was the only route to intimacy, but now I think not having it might be an even more powerful way to connect.
We could see ‘not having sex’ as a failure, or we could reframe it and use it as an opportunity to get in touch with ourselves and discover more about our pleasure.
Ultimately, sex is all about connection and communication. It's our non-verbal way of telling our partners (and ourselves) how we feel about them. You might just need to redefine what sex and pleasure means to you, how it fits into your life, and what you need to feel seen, heard and desired.