NEW YORK, July 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are kinkier according to the Summer of Love survey conducted by Lovehoney – the global sexual happiness experts – in partnership with the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. The survey, led by Kinsey Institute Research Fellow and Lovehoney Scientific Advisor Dr. Justin Lehmiller, offers a comprehensive look at sex, dating, and relationships in a representative US sample in the era of widespread vaccine availability*. The results uncover the impact the COVID pandemic and related restrictions have had on the sex lives and attitudes of American singles and couples, surprisingly finding many adults reporting more satisfying sex lives and increased sexual activity since before the pandemic.
30% of Americans are having more sex than before the pandemic
Nearly a third (32%) report more satisfying sex lives, jumping to (46%) of couples
Dr. Lehmiller believes the rise of kink has a logical explanation. "During periods of heightened stress and anxiety--like what we experienced during the pandemic--it is often harder to become and stay aroused," he says. "One way that people might cope with this is by trying new and immersive sexual activities that allow you to be in the moment and free your mind of distracting thoughts. Trying new things is also a way that people can 'feel alive' during periods of stress and boredom."
According to Dr. Lehmiller, when we try new things and have positive experiences, this can shift the trajectory of future sexual behavior by expanding our sexual repertoire. Our repertoires were indeed expanded during the pandemic:
A majority of Americans (52%) said they tried at least one new sexual activity such as sharing sexual fantasies or using sex toys
Couples (59%) were more likely than singles (43%) to experiment
Couples are Thriving
Couples who stayed together are emerging stronger than ever, with the majority feeling more passionate about, satisfied with, and invested in their relationships. Couples are closer, perhaps because they built more skills for dealing with intimate problems.
42% say they now have an easier time telling their partner what they want sexually
52% are now more satisfied with their relationship
44% of couples cited communicating more with their partner as the tried-and-true solution for dealing with sexual and relationship problems that emerged during the pandemic
Over half of couples (51%) say their partner meets their sexual ideals now more than before
56% of people in relationships now feel more committed to their partner
51% now feel more passionate about their partner and say their partner meets their sexual ideals more now than before
55% now feel more emotional intimacy with their partner and say their partner better understands their sexual needs
59% now feel more invested in their relationship
According to marriage and family therapist and board-certified sex therapist Shadeen Francis, the pandemic may have played an important role in creating the opportunity for growth. "Couples often avoid important relationship conversations because it is stressful. However, conflict is growth waiting to happen. For relationships where the level of chaos created by the pandemic was within their window of tolerance, they may have had added motivation to focus on building a relationship that could withstand external stressors and help bring pleasure through a difficult time."
Debunking the Hot Vax Summer - First Date Sex is a Deal Breaker
The world has been abuzz with talk of the "hot vax summer"; however:
The majority of singles are less interested in casual sex (52%); more than one-third (36%) say that first date sex is a deal breaker
Singles are seeking more intimate connections and the vast majority of them (71%) say they are more interested in long-term relationships
5X as many singles said that committing quickly is more of a dating deal breaker than taking things slow
Morethan half (52%) of singles and daters say they are more likely to use online dating services and go on virtual dates in the future.
And the "three-date rule" still bears some weight with most people saying they'd like to have at least three dates with a partner before having sex. Gender matters, though. While most men say the third date is the appropriate time to start having sex, most women say it's the fourth.
The pandemic has resulted in many Americans reexamining their approach to personal and sexual health, but interestingly enough, this relates to the COVID vaccination status of the individual.
Among fully vaccinated singles:
More than half (52%) say they will be more likely to communicate with partners about safer-sex practices in the future
42% say they are more likely to use condoms and contraceptives
By contrast, among singles who are unvaccinated and do not plan to receive the COVID vaccine
30% say they are more likely to communicate about safe sex
28% are more likely to practice safe sex
"Vaccination doesn't seem to be creating an overall sense of perceived invincibility," Dr. Lehmiller says. "Rather, vaccinated people are actually planning to approach sex more cautiously than those who are unvaccinated. Those who have gotten the vaccine may have more concern for their health overall, which may extend to taking more safety precautions both in and out of the bedroom."
"While not everyone is on the same page about what safety looks like, or even whether or not there are significant concerns to consider regarding viral transmissions, we have normalized talking about health, protection, and our responsibility to one another's well-being on a global scale," adds Shadeen Francis.
The Future of Sex and Relationships:
So, what does all of this mean for the future? According to Dr. Lehmiller, "This pandemic seems to have fundamentally shifted how a lot of people think about both sex and relationships, which highlights our flexibility, adaptability, and resilience in the face of challenging circumstances."
"At the same time, we've also seen that, despite all of the doom and gloom predictions at the outset of the pandemic, the couples who stuck it out are really thriving for the most part," he says. "People appear to have built more intimacy and improved their communication skills in ways that may ultimately pave the path to healthier sex lives and relationships in the future."
About Lovehoney: Established in 2002 in Bath, Lovehoney Group Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes its own branded and third-party pleasure products globally with over 150 products developed in house each year. It is the UK's biggest online adult retailer with 8 other websites globally including France, Germany, Spain, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Its 300 strong team is based across the UK, USA and Australia and serves its 2.2m global customer base. Over the last six years overseas sales have grown from £12m to £56m, an overall growth of 365%. In addition, the percentage of sales exported has risen from 27% to 45%. The company's top five overseas markets are USA, Australia, EU, Canada, and New Zealand. The company won the Queen's Award for International Trade for Outstanding Continuous Growth in overseas sales over the last six years. visit www.lovehoney.com for more information
* Methodological Notes: The Lovehoney Summer of Love Survey was conducted by Prodege (www.Prodege.com) among a demographically representative sample of 2,000 U.S. Adults age 18-45, with an oversample of 200 respondents who identify as LGBTQ, via an online survey, from May 27, 2021 to June 5, 2021. The sample was balanced to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population on age, gender, household income, region, and ethnicity. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2 percentage points for the main sample, and more than 6.9 percentage points for the LGBTQ sample, from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.