Goodbye 2020 – and good riddance for most of us.
I doubt you’d find a person in the world whose life hasn’t been touched by Covid-19. It’s affected our jobs, our friendships, our interactions – and most of all our relationships and our sex lives.
Some have struggled, some have thrived. But after a year of Zoom sex, online dates and ‘Are you sure it’s OK to do it doggie-style, darling? You were on the tube today’, surely there’s good news for our sex lives for the year ahead?
That depends on your particular predilection, but I think we’ll all be happy to know…
Sexpert Tracey Cox has revealed the sex trends she think will boom in the coming year (stock image)
We’ll have more adventurous sex
In the beginning of lockdown, couples rejoiced in having time to rediscover each other’s bodies. As the months wore on, weariness set in. Too much time – more specifically, too much time together – meant lust took a nose dive and Covid bed death became a ‘thing’.
But not for all.
Research by UK sex toy retailer Lovehoney found 52 per cent of couples had more adventurous sex during the crisis, using the isolation to try new things like role play, car sex, sex games and erotic fantasies.
More importantly, 71 per cent said they’ll continue with their new sex routines once the crisis ends.
Tracey (pictured) has predicted that we will have more adventurous sex including ‘power play’
More people will experiment with their sexuality
AdultFriendFinder (AFF), a casual sex dating site, saw a dramatic increase in users who identify as bisexual on their site this year, particularly among its male users.
The 2020 health crisis made all of us aware that time is short. Some people finally decided to call time on lacklustre or toxic relationships, others decided it went deeper than just being with the wrong partner and reflected on their sexual identities.
Once hooking up is safe and legal again, AFF predict more people may want to test out being with different people. This can come in all different shapes and sizes, girl on girl, guy on guy, a little bit of both, and beyond.
Experimenting is a strong theme for 2021…
‘Pegging’ and power play will be more popular
Searches for ‘What is BDSM’ are up by 70 per cent. (That’s bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, in case you were one of the people typing it. All are forms of power play).
The BDSM dating app KinkD asked almost 3,500 users to reveal their top kink during lockdown, and cyber play or virtual domination – online role play of BDSM scenes – won by a long shot.
Pegging – stereotypically when a female wears a strap-on dildo to penetrate her male partner – was the hottest sex trend of 2020.
Sales of strap-ons were up by nearly 200 per cent in 2020. Ten percent of 1,000 women in a UK poll admitted to pegging their partner and one in ten said they’d like to try it.
There was even a pegging scene in the hit superhero movie Deadpool.
Contrary to those who think it means the guy must be secretly gay, pegging’s popularity is more down to the buzz of reversing sexual roles and stimulation of the male G-spot, the prostate gland.
Long-distance and virtual relationships will rise
If lockdown taught us anything, it’s made us realise you don’t need to physically be in the room with someone to enjoy their company. (Hands up, who had a Zoom family Christmas?)
This has made us more open to virtual and long-distance relationships.
Dating app Plenty of Fish found half of all its users set their location preferences to ‘anywhere’: more than ever before.
There were other positive relationship knock-ons.
Sixty-six per cent said they valued deeper conversation more than they did pre-Covid. Seven in ten said they’d be happy to go on a virtual date even when restrictions are lifted and 33 per cent would now be open to a long distance relationship.
Badoo says video dating is so common now, a virtual date will become the normal first step before meeting in the flesh.
Sex toy sales will continue to soar
Sex toy retailers the world over were one of the few winners of 2020.
Forty two per cent of people used sex toys more frequently during the crisis, according to Lovehoney, and 33 per cent bought new sex toys during lockdown. Not surprisingly, especially for singles stranded solo, 44 per cent said they masturbated more.
The most popular Covid sex toys? Vibrators were number one. Dildos, couple’s toys, male ‘strokers’ (silicone sleeves that fit over the penis), butt plugs and love rings for couples followed.
Once you’ve tried one sex toy, you nearly always buy more and sales are continuing to spike. Traditionally something people used in private, couple toy sales also exploded this year and the trend is expected to continue in 2021.
We’ll consider getting back with an ex
If you reached out to or heard from an ex during lockdown, you’re not alone. I heard from three exes I haven’t had contact with in almost a decade!
Lockdown had the same effect as the breakdown of a long-term relationship: if we’re suddenly lonely, we think about other people in our lives who made us happy. We then air-brush the relationship, as well as try to dust it off, and decide our ex was the true love of our lives and we should try to reconnect.
One study found one in five had personally reached out to one or more exes since the pandemic; one in four had heard from an ex and most replied.
It’s not just because people were sex-starved, bored or wanting to rekindle old flames. Lots of people simply wanted to make sure the person they loved (or still love) was safe.
We’ll move our obsession with orgasms to sexual mindfulness
If you were lucky enough to get furloughed and didn’t have children to home school, chances are you indulged in some kind of ‘mindfulness’.
A housebound population suddenly appreciated trees and fresh air, others the cathartic appeal of cooking, yoga or meditation.
This translated well in the bedroom.
Being not just in the room but in the moment, stops ‘spectatoring’. This is when you’re so anxiously imagining how you’re performing or looking during sex, you forget to actually enjoy it.
Mindfulness also involves shifting the focus from an orgasm each to simply appreciating giving or receiving pleasure.
A better sex year all round then! No matter what your age…
Older women will enjoy more sex and better sex
I spent most of 2020 talking to people over 50 about their sex lives for my book, Great Sex Starts at 50. So can confirm that a US study that found one in four women want a good sex life after menopause, is indeed true.
Advances in health care, changes in societal attitudes towards sex and ageing and a generation of more sexually liberated women all add up to people being far more sexually active – and satisfied – in midlife.
With ‘hot menopause’ being the topic of every second podcast, blog and book, it’s one trend that’s unlikely to cool.
We’ll be choosier
US social psychologist Justin Lehmiller found interesting results from a study he started mid-March (2020), following up with participants every 2-4 weeks afterwards.
When he asked what the future might hold relationship or sex wise, four in ten people expected at least some things to change post-pandemic.
Being choosier about who we sleep with is, not surprisingly, one of them.
Sixteen per cent said they will be more selective about their sexual partners and 13 per cent said they’ll spent a longer time getting to know people before having sex with them. Fifteen per cent said they’ll communicate more about sexual risks with partners.
…or will we?
‘The second we’re all vaccinated, it’s not just my mask that’s coming off. My clothes are as well,’ declares a single friend, who hasn’t had sex for a year.
Yes, she’s more mindful of the things humans can pass onto each other. Yes, she’s learned to appreciate her own company, knows how to sexually satisfy herself and will of course practise safe sex in all senses.
She will also make sure the first man she sleeps with is as hot as she is.
But make no mistake about it, she will be out there.
Lots of relationships became more serious during the pandemic.
It will be interesting to see how many remain so once the vaccine is rolled out and the R-number falls.
Anecdotal evidence suggests singles are longing for the comfort of physical contact and joy of sex and cannot wait to get back out there.
You’ll find Tracey’s new book, Great Sex Starts at 50, wherever good books are sold. Traceycox.com has more information about sex and love and Tracey’s two product ranges.