Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week on Ask Scary Mommy: What do you do when the pandemic has just totally depleted your sex drive, but your partner is still good to go? Email email@example.com.
Dear Scary Mommy,
Like most moms out there right now, I’m just completely depleted. Overworked, stressed out, touched out, and a ball of anxiety most days — all because of the pandemic and how it’s uprooted our family’s entire lives. That includes my sex life, because I pretty much never want to do it anymore. In the morning, I don’t have time and at night I’m ready to just collapse into bed without interruption until morning when it’s lather, rinse, repeat all over again. My partner is feeling the strain too of course, but their sex drive has not been affected one bit — or so it seems. They totally pull their weight around the house and they’re an equal partner in parenting, so it’s not resentment on my end or anything. I just…can’t get there. They’re being really understanding, but I know we can’t avoid sex forever. I’m hoping the end of the pandemic brings back my libido, but I don’t think it should have to wait that long. HELP.
Listen — lockdown is wreaking havoc on lots of libidos, I promise. If you’re not feeling frisky during a massive global health crisis, that’s okay. Please don’t be hard on yourself over it. Stress, anxiety, depression, and having to adapt to huge changes like working from home, schooling from home, and not having your usual social outlets are all big libido-killers because of course they are! We’re all just trying to survive here.
I’m glad your partner isn’t pressuring you or guilt-tripping you. For many couples during the last year, the power imbalance around the home has resulted in some serious resentment, and that’s not exactly conducive to foreplay. That’s not the case for you, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic has been easier for you than others who don’t have supportive partners.
Make sure you’re keeping the line of communication open with your partner. It could be their stress response is to cling to comfort and who they feel closest to — and that’s you. Your stress response is different, and that’s okay. As long as you’re open and honest with them about it, and they realize it’s not personal, that’s one very important step here.
Another step to consider, if you are financially able and emotionally willing, is therapy. Therapists are, as you can imagine, extra super busy these days, so you may have a bit of a wait to get in. But therapists are there to help you work through your feelings of stress and anxiety and guide you toward solutions that work well for you. You can work on different coping mechanisms with a therapist, which is extraordinarily helpful and relieves some of the burden of trying to navigate them yourself.
For reasons I don’t need to list here because I’m sure you’re already aware, yes, it might take awhile before we see the light at the end of this tunnel. Try to focus on the positives: we have a new administration ready to take charge, there are multiple vaccines available, the rollouts of said vaccines pretty much have to improve at this point, and numbers will eventually go down. As quickly as your libido disappeared when the pandemic’s toll began to take hold on you personally, it might reappear just as quickly when things begin to tangibly improve.
Try to find other ways to be intimate with your partner — talking to one another about things other than the kids and the state of the world, being affectionate, and watching TV together are all good ways to foster this. You’re not alone, and you’re doing the best you can during a time of global crisis. Be kind to yourself.