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Do you feel too shrubby to have sex? It’s not just you.

Watching Netflix with her husband one night, Nicole Katuris became nervous and asked him something horrifying. “Why don’t you want to have sex with me?”

I knew the teacher Katsuris Her body has changed During a pandemic. She gave birth to a baby just before it started and then spent months snacking while working at home. Countless nights cuddling with my family in front of the TV were eating chips and cookies. Now she was worried that her husband might not be turned on anymore.

A 34-year-old woman from Petaluma, California, said she was “big and soft.” “I didn’t feel sexy.”

She is not the only one.

Sexual desire, or interest in sex, is lower than at any point during the pandemic People who are stressedThe journal “Archives of Sexual Behavior” has been peer-reviewed, according to a new study led by researchers at the Kinsey Institute at Texas State University and Indiana University. Fear, anxiety, loneliness, and boring pandemic turmoil continue to sacrifice them. And the more people report suffering, the less sexual desire they feel for their partners.

Currently, therapists and sex researchers believe that there is another pandemic problem affecting the couple’s sexual life.

“They feel really chunky,” says Ronda Balzarini, an assistant professor of psychology at Texas State University and an affiliated member of the Kinsey Institute, the lead author of recent research. They are more chunky and generally empty. “It makes them feel unattractive and therefore less desirable,” she adds.

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Dr. Balzarini says he blames the fatigue caused by stress. Yes, gyms and salons are temporarily closed and many were worried when they reopened for safety reasons. However, research shows that many people are depressed or depressed. This robbed them of their energy. They didn’t work at home. They let go of the care. And they ate too much and tried to cheer themselves up, and In some cases, drink too much.. “It’s like a spillover effect of stress,” says Dr. Balzarini.

Studies show that when we feel sick about our body, our sexual desire and satisfaction decrease. This is true for men and women. Even if someone else thinks about how to evaluate our body negatively, we can reduce our own desires. And if you feel sick about our body during a sexual encounter, you can be less satisfied.

“Body image has a huge impact on our sexuality,” says Robin Milhausen, a professor of family relations and applied nutrition at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, who is studying this issue. “And we are our own toughest critics.”

In reporting this story, I found people dodging their partner’s overtures, hiding and hiding during sex, forging headaches and back pain.

“”“At this point in the pandemic, I’m out of breath while watching TV, lying on the couch.”


— Southern California writer

A Los Angeles business owner who earned £ 20 during a pandemic says he’s trying not to get naked in front of his boyfriend. He slept before going to bed, took a shower in another bathroom, and said, “I pray for him to get out of bed. First thing in the morning so I can dodge another bullet.”

A member of the National Association of Realtors in Pittsburgh suggested to her husband to start sleeping in separate bedrooms “like royalty.” That way he can avoid becoming intimate.

Philadelphia’s mother says she’s tired of her husband trying to get things done in the bedroom. “It’s like,’What’s wrong with him, I’m terrible!'” She says. A Southern California writer gave him a worksheet “Sensual Journey: Seven Exercises for Creative Intimacy” on how his couple therapist would liven up things in the bedroom. It is said that it attacked. “At this point in the pandemic, I’m lying on the couch while watching TV and I’m out of breath,” he says.

So how can you jump start your libido?

The expert is clear: start touching.

When you feel sloppy, you are stuck in your head. “I’m distracted by this idea that you’re not sexually sufficient,” says Barry McCarthy, a retired sex therapist, co-author of “Rekindling Desire,” and an emeritus professor at American University. Decades. The solution is to get away from your head and let your body take over. That’s where touch, or what psychologists call “sensitive sexual desire,” comes into play.

Think of a touch on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 is affectionate. 2-3 is sensual, says back love. 4-5 is playful and frivolous, like a teasing touch. 10 leads you to sex. Dr. McCarthy says too many couples have only affectionate or sexual touches. Still, it gives and receives a sensual and erotic touch, giving your body the opportunity to nullify your worried mind, actively rather than passively.

You also need to try to change what you say to yourself about your body. Try this instead of focusing on how it changes. It survived the pandemic. And I am grateful for that. “

“It’s not an objective truth that how our body looks affects sexual activity. It’s our skin sensations that affect our interests and desires,” said a psychologist at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. Says Alexandra Solomon. “It’s very likely that your partner doesn’t have the same critical story about your body as you do.”

When Katuris asked her husband if she was attractive, she confessed that she wasn’t in the best mood either.

The couple talked. She told him he thought he had stopped starting sex because he was no longer attracted to her. He said he thought she wasn’t interested. They reassured each other’s charm and had sex.

“I was very relieved that the conversation went so well,” says chef Kevin Katuris (35). “I wanted to talk to her, but it was really hard to pick up the topic without prompting.”

A few days later, Mr. Katuris returned home with a present for his wife. Comfortable pajamas, blue crop tops and shorts. I don’t think Katsulis is that sexy, but her husband says he does and feels good.

Now, pajamas are a kind of shorthand. Katsulis wears it when she wants to tell her husband that she feels sexy. From time to time he sends her a text from work: “Do you feel like wearing your fuzzy jam tonight?”

Katsulis still feels sloppy. But now she also feels desirable. “The act of having sex on its own raises my self-esteem,” she says. “Sex makes you feel sexy.”

Write in Follow her on Elizabeth Bernstein (elizabeth.bernstein@wsj.com) or Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (EBernsteinWSJ).

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Do you feel too shrubby to have sex? It’s not just you.

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