Home Industry News “Nothing like the intercourse-crazy narrative” – Sex in the Time of Covid-19...

“Nothing like the intercourse-crazy narrative” – Sex in the Time of Covid-19 survey

“Nothing like the intercourse-crazy narrative” - Sex in the Time of Covid-19 survey

With so much anecdotal evidence indicating that sales of pleasure products have been booming during lockdown, has everyone been having the time of their sexual lives? Not necessarily, according to The Sound, which describes itself as ‘a global brand agency specialising in consumer exploration, brand strategy and innovation’.

It recently published the results of a study detailing the sex habits of singles and couples in Canada and the US during the pandemic and it concluded “Overall, the results looked nothing like the intercourse-crazy narrative painted by sex toy marketing blogs and sexual health influencers”.

Titled Sex in the Time of Covid-19, the study utilised a mixed-methods approach which included a data remine and a proprietary survey. The team also utilised a series of virtual conversations, speaking to real people to understand how their sexual behaviors and beliefs have been impacted since lockdowns took effect.

“We’re really seeing a sexual reset among people during this time and anticipate that the future will look quite different for most people coming out of this lockdown,” said Annie Pecoraro, director of creative analytics for The Sound.

Sex in the Time of Covid-19 divided study participants into three groups: single, living separate from partner, and live with partner. The responses received then formed three sexual mindsets as defined by The Sound’s research team: waning desire, desire but no flesh, and exploratory and experimental.

During the course of their surveys, participants were asked to give their sex lives – whether solo or coupled – a star rating from one to five. One to two stars were indicative of a sex life so non-existent and boring that it would “make Jesus proud,” and four to five stars relayed consistency, playfulness, romance and connection. On average, study participants rated their sex lives at around three stars.

Some singles reported waning desire due to lack of opportunities and regret at having lost the potential to seek a partner, while those with a distanced partner often reported that virtual sex and sexting, which was once a source of anticipated foreplay, now felt completely lacklustre.

Some couples also pointed to an increase in arguments and stress meltdowns due to the 24/7 proximity of quarantine; another big factor in reducing sexual activity for those with a partner.

On the bright side, whether living alone or with a partner, the lockdown allowed many people to slow down and explore. Singletons were able to play around with new types of sexual experimentation, like porn and sex toys, and for couples, the release from the 9-to-5 routine gave them more energy to spend on breaking out their pleasure accessory collection, or finding creative ways to stay intimate in between caring for the kids.

Pecoraro thinks the sex toy sector should bring the conversation about pleasure into the mainstream and The Sound anticipates sustainable growth beyond the pandemic: “According to our data, masturbation is something nearly everyone does, the vast majority of people watch free porn, two-thirds use sex toys on their own, and over half engage in sexy texting – and yet most people, even sex positive ones, aren’t talking about sex with others very often,” said Pecoraro. “This is where the pleasure industry can play a role – not just relying on tired tropes and innuendos to open the discussion, but speaking to the heart of why sexual health matters.”

Pecoraro outlined key questions she believes pleasure brands should be asking themselves to enhance connection with consumers: How have peoples’ lifestyle changes influenced our brand health? Are there new needs we should be meeting, such as openness to experimentation? What is going to ‘stick’ and what is not, and can we do anything about that? What is acceptable, potentially more entertaining and/or more effective in a virtual world vs. in-person? Are we a brand that meets people where they are – including those just starting on their sexual journey – or are we targeted to those with more experience in the pleasure industry?

Pecoraro concluded by saying that she hopes individuals can utilise The Sound’s findings as an opportunity to open a more honest dialogue with themselves and their current or future partner(s). Additionally, she hopes that pleasure industry brands can find new ways to reach their consumers and enhance their marketing approaches.

For more information or to read the study in full visit https://www.thesoundhq.com/sex-in-the-time-of-covid-19/