Eighty per cent of American men say sex is less important to them now than it was before the pandemic. What’s going on?
The Guardian-Testosterone plummeted in lockdown. Photograph: Paulina Grska/Getty Images/EyeEm
Name: Flaccid fall.
Age: It is a relatively new thing, since the pandemic.
That’s fall as in …? The season. You might call it abstinent autumn if you were desperately trying to maintain alliteration in a British translation.
And flaccid as in …? Yeah, flaccid.
So we are talking about sex? Well, less sex. The phrase was a line in a New York Post article: we’ve gone from “slutty summer” to “flaccid fall”.
Meaning? So, in a survey …
Here we go, another dodgy survey of about 11 people. Actually, it’s a survey of 5,000 single Americans, by Match, the dating service.
And what has this survey found? That single men are not so bothered about sex these days – 81% said it was less important to them than before Covid.
I thought everyone went straight from locking down to hooking up? That was slutty summer – keep up. No pun intended.
What else emerged in the survey? Physical attraction is no longer the be-all and end-all, and emotional maturity is much more important.
This all sounds like quite good news, grownup even. And it’s down to the pandemic, you say? So Helen Fisher says.
Who’s she? A biological anthropologist and one of Match’s chief scientific advisers. “You can’t shut a planet and expect people’s physiology to remain the same,” she told the Post. “We all suffered, dopamine plummeted, testosterone plummeted, sex is less important.”
So what are we doing, or thinking about doing, now that we’re not doing, or thinking about doing, sex? Justin Garcia said: “It’s most striking in men that they are taking a moment to value relationships and the relationship context of intimate encounters more.” And he pointed out that casual sex was down, with only 11% of singles now wanting to date casually.
Justin Garcia? The executive director of the Kinsey Institute and Match’s other chief scientific adviser.
This is the US. Presumably Britain is bonking on regardless through Sextember, Morevember, Di … Stop it! No, it’s much more complex than that, even in the UK. The 2020-21 Natsal-Covid study, which replaced the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, painted a complicated picture. Basically, Brits are doing it less too – the pandemic has changed sex if not for ever, at least for now.
Do say: “Yeah, no hurry. We’ve only known each other a few months, after all.”
Don’t say: “What if I keep the mask on – would that help?”