As a season, there’s no denying the sluttiness of summer. These warmer months were practically made for singles as the unrelenting Aussie sun demands the removal of clothing. To frequent a beach is to see flesh on full display, with the aromatic scent of coconut body oil lingering in the air. Summer is for flirting shamelessly around the BBQ, it’s for aperol spritz and making out on pub balconies, it’s kicking off the sheets and sleeping in the buff. Winter might be for couples, we all know that to get warmer, you need to move closer to somebody else. But in summer the fling mentality thrives.
But just when we were all gearing up for a slutty summer post-lockdown, it seems the opposite might be in fact true. According to a study published by Match, 81 per cent of single men said sex is now less important for them than it was in pre-pandemic times. By all accounts, the pandemic seems to be the ultimate cock-block and libido crusher.
As the New York Post wrote, “We’ve gone from a slutty summer to a flaccid fall,” relating to the staggering statistic that shows just how lacklustre our libidos are post-lockdown. As the publication suggests, this could be put down to the perfect storm of biological and societal reasons brought on by Covid. According to Match’s chief scientific advisers and sex researchers Helen Fisher, Ph.D., and Justin Garcia, Ph.D., “You can’t shut a planet and expect people’s physiology to remain the same.”
As Fisher explained, “We all suffered, dopamine plummeted, testosterone plummeted, sex is less more sex you have, the more you want. The less sex you have, the less you want. These singles were having less sex and were under extreme stress, the two together dampened the importance of sex in their lives.”
But while men turned off sex might be cause for alarm bells, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The study authors stress that it’s not that interest in sex has dissipated completely, but that it’s rather taken a back seat to newfound priorities in both relationships and love and as Garcia suggests, this is actually a good thing. “It’s most striking in men that they’re taking a moment to value relationships and relationship context of intimate encounters more. We see the rates of casual sex are down, only 11 per cent of singles want to date casually,” he explained. “More people are back to the ‘three date rule’ and want to go on multiple dates before first making out or having intercourse.”
Researchers suggest this is a result of post-traumatic growth experienced in men following Covid-19, something that has seen them prioritise wellbeing as their emotional maturity grows considerably. The study found that 72 per cent of Gen Z and 69 per cent of millennials began taking up new hobbies during the pandemic, with Gen Z also making significant strides in their career. When it comes to intellectual growth, men are finding avenues outside of sex for validation and stimulation. “Singles are growing up, they’re looking for long-term stability in a partnership, they’re going to take their time to find it and men are leading the way.”
So, it might not be the slutty summer one may have imagined, but it’s one that might just inspire more meaningful and lasting connections. Certainly, the sexperts remain hopeful. “What we’re seeing is a global situation here,” said Fisher. “It may well lead to a few decades of relative family stability and happy marriages.”