Life

Are You Getting Any? Lockdown Changed How My Boyfriend and I Have Sex

Twenty-year-old university student Bel worried that she'd never want to have sex again.
Nana Baah
London, GB
August 25, 2020, 8:00am
Bel Are You Getting Any
Screengrab of a FaceTime call between Bel and the author. 
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Welcome to 'Are You Getting Any?', a column that asks a generation rumoured not to fuck if they in fact fuck.

BEL, 20

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Are You Getting Any? interviews are conducted via video call.

Quality of sex overall: 7/10
Frequency of sex: 7/10
Intimacy levels: 8/10
How do you feel generally about the people you fuck: 8/10
How happy are you with the amount of time you have for sex: 9/10

VICE: Hi Bel! When was the last time you had sex?
Bel: Last night with my boyfriend.

Oh how nice. That’s caught me off guard. I was so used to everyone in lockdown complaining about still not having sex. 
I was pretty lucky! It hasn’t been all good though, my sex life really changed since the start of lockdown to where we are now.

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Did the time apart strengthen your relationship?
It’s definitely made us stronger now doing it. There were points where we were like, “Maybe we can’t and we’re not as compatible as we thought.” The environment you’re in is really important to how you connect with someone. You can have a great relationship but if you have a really bad environment, where you don’t have enough space to be apart or to do your own thing, all the little things piss you off more than they normally would.

Bel Are You Getting Any

Bel moved in with her boyfriend at the start of lockdown.

You mentioned that the beginning of lockdown messed with your sex life. What happened?
Yeah, it definitely did because we weren’t really having sex during lockdown.

It’s kind of funny, I was reading a lot of articles even in VICE of people saying that they were so horny during lockdown and that they couldn’t wait to get out and have sex again. I was like, “I never want to have sex again!” It was a chunk of things. I wasn’t feeling myself, I wasn’t confident in myself because I hadn’t been going out and started gaining a bit of weight. I lost who I was for a little bit. He was really supportive through it all and he understood why I wasn’t in the mood when he was. It did put a bit of a strain on our relationship, I think we went two months without having sex. I think that’s a lot of time, my friends were really shocked about that.

Now that lockdown is easing and you’re living apart from your boyfriend, is your sex life back to normal? 
Yes. That’s definitely improved our sex life. We’re having a lot more sex now.

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What about your general confidence? 
I’m quite extroverted and before this, I liked going out quite a lot. Not necessarily clubbing but just going out to see people and going to pubs. When I didn’t have that, I stopped putting effort into my self-care. Going a few days without looking after myself and that affected my self-esteem because I was getting bad skin, and I just felt like I looked gross all the time. I’m excited to go back to uni, though.

Generally, is sex important to you?
For me personally, no. Sex was never a big deal for me. I think it’s because of my past relationship. Sex was sort of an expectation and I wasn’t really ready. After that I was like, “Everyone talks about sex too much. It’s too much pressure and everyone is hyping it up too much.” But when I met someone who I really connected with and who respected my boundaries and didn’t try to guilt trip or manipulate me into doing something I didn’t want to do, that’s when sex because enjoyable again. I was like, “I see why people talk about it all the time. I see why there’s songs about it! It can be fun!”

For a lot of people, starting uni means there’s the freedom to shag about. You started uni with a boyfriend, how was that for you?
It was weird because I spoke to some of my friends who have been in long-term relationships and going to uni, a lot of people are having sex quite a lot. There’s a big pressure to get some because, you know, freedom and no parents or whatever. With my relationship, we’ve talked about maybe being open in the future because I want to experience more with women because I haven’t had the opportunity to do so.

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Are those conversations going well? 
My boyfriend is quite understanding about it. We’d have to have a lot of conversations about our boundaries and things that would upset him or things that wouldn’t. We’re not there yet though. I’ve had relationships in the past where they’re just like, “No!” I completely understand it, not everyone is that easy going. While we’re young and in our twenties, we don’t have to just follow the traditional rules so if we want to experiment –that’s our lives. We’re allowed to make those decisions.

How did you meet your boyfriend?
We met on Tinder, actually. It’s weird because I hate Tinder. I had been single for less than a month, so it was quite a quick unexpected thing. I just went on Tinder because I was ready to move on and see other people and hook up. He was the second person I ever spoke to on the app, and then we went on a date. I was having a Halloween party the next day, so I invited him and he came and met all of my friends. We’ve been together ever since. I’m very fortunate because I know Tinder is not easy to meet people on and actually keep a conversation going.

So, what do you think of the British Medical Journal research? Is social media to blame for us all shagging less?
As a generational thing, I’m not too sure. You know, there are nudes and OnlyFans is really popular at the moment. Everyone’s making money selling sex online. If people are selling sex online, they aren’t having more sex in their own personal lives. I can see that affecting it because if you can’t get with someone you can just buy someone’s OnlyFans and feel like you have a connection with someone when you don’t.

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If not social media, what other reasons are there? 
Well, I was on antidepressants when my boyfriend and I started going out in 2017. I came off them in November 2019 and I definitely think SSRIs completely knocked my libido. It’s so much better now. Reflecting back on it now, I can see the sex wasn’t as good and I wasn’t as happy with it. I definitely think it could be medication and lack of security with things like, especially with university students.

Are you seeing the research reflected in your real life too?
With my few single friends, I can definitely say they’re having less sex because they’re being more cautious about who they want to let into their house. This pandemic has really opened people’s eyes to the fact that anyone can carry anything, and you don’t know at the time. You’ve got to be really careful with who you interact with.

Yeah, I guess hooking up with someone you’ve only just met is off limits for most people. 
Before it was like, “Oh oops,” but now, if my friend is like, “I brought this guy back that I don’t know,” I’d be like, “What are you doing? Are you trying to get sick?” It’s so irresponsible now. It’s crazy to me how much society has changed from the beginning of this year to now with our attitudes towards things. We used to go to festivals and concerts and interact with people all the time. Friends have had sex with randoms at a festival with someone they just met. You can’t imagine that now.

Yeah, even someone brushing up against you when you’re at Tesco is like, “ugh”. Have you seen the sex “guidelines” they released? No kissing and you have to wear a mask.
Who is doing that though? Before that it was like, “Hold on, let me get a condom.” Now it’s like, “Let me get the condoms, the masks and the hand sanitiser and this.” It’s too much work. I wouldn’t be in the mood after all of that if I was single.

@nanasbaah

If you’re 18-30 years old and want to be featured in the Are You Getting Any? series, send an email to nana.baah@vice.com with the subject Are You Getting Any?