Getting yourself to feel like a hot, desirable baddie during the coronavirus pandemic can be difficult when you're wearing sweatpants and stressing out about the state of the world 24/7, but it's not impossible. There are plenty of ways to feel sexy at home during quarantine, many of which cost approximately zero dollars. All you need is time, creativity, and patience. As much as not feeling your best sucks, take comfort in knowing you're far from alone. Thanks to sky-rocketing stress levels and anxiety triggered by the pandemic, quarantine has lowered sex drives across the board.
In an April 2020 survey by sex toy company Lora DiCarlo, 42% of respondents said they've felt "stressed" or "anxious" during the pandemic, whereas only 18% of respondents said they've felt "sexy" or "aroused." While 42% of people surveyed said their masturbation frequency hadn't changed since the start of the pandemic, 35% of respondents (and 40% of the women surveyed) said they'd been masturbating less. The reasons for this decline? Fifty-one percent cited not feeling sexy or horny, 42% cited too many people in their house, and 32% cited straight-up feeling way too anxious.
If any of these experiences sound like yours, check out the following tips to feel sexier and more empowered in your body during quarantine.
1. Spend More Time Naked
"Research suggests that nudists report greater life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and more positive body image," Dr. Jess O' Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Elite Daily. "Real-life nudity — and not just what we see on television or the internet — may help us appreciate the diversity of human beauty."
2. Do Kegels
Janielle Bryan, a sexuality educator and creator of The Sex Exchange wellness series, recommends exercising your pelvic floor by doing kegels. You can practice kegels by flexing your pubococcygeus muscles, or "PC muscles" — the ones that help you pee and that contract during orgasm. "If you have a vagina, this is a great way to reconnect with your sexuality," Bryan says. "Strengthening your mind and body connection will help you tap back into your sexuality."
If you're not sure where your PC muscles are, stop your flow of pee when using the bathroom. While you shouldn't regularly interrupt your flow like this, you'll be able to feel the right muscles contract. These are the ones you should flex for kegels. You can also search "kegel exercises" or "pelvic floor exercises" on YouTube. Selecting a video created by a physical therapist will be your best bet.
Dr. Shannon Chavez, K-Y's sex therapist, recommends masturbation because "it helps you focus on being in the moment and being embodied." She suggests using lube the way you would use body lotion to moisturize and massage your erogenous zones, like your nipples, inner thighs, and stomach. "Focus on the sensations you are experiencing in your body, rather than the outcome," she tells Elite Daily. "Take your time and simmer in arousal." Both Bryan and O'Reilly co-sign masturbation as a way to feel sexier in quarantine.
4. Take Nudes
Taking and sharing nudes, especially with someone you trust, is another practice Chavez suggests to help you feel good about your body in quarantine. "[Nudes] help promote body positivity and are a way to celebrate your sexuality. Start out experimenting with different angles, positions, props and locations in your home, and find good lighting," she says.
She also says to not overthink it. "Alleviate the pressure to make the photos perfect," Chavez urges. "Have fun and don’t be afraid to show your personality."
5. Diversify Your Social Media Feed
"Unfortunately, mainstream popular culture tends to celebrate and showcase one body type that doesn’t account for the diversity of beauty in terms of weight, skin color, ability, and all of our other glorious human qualities," O'Reilly says. "If you’re only exposed to one type of beauty, it’s understandable that you may not learn to see your body as beautiful."
When it comes to social media, you control what you consume. Be mindful of whether you're curating a feed that shows you a variety of bodies.
6. Flirt With Your Partner
Another way to feel sexy and desired is to flirt with your partner. (Yes, even if you've been together for awhile, and yes, especially if you're quarantining together.) "If you’re sheltering in place with your partner, your day-to-day may have become repetitive," Bryan says. "Break up your days by surprising your partner with a sext or sexy letter from the other room."
Chavez, who often advocates for couples to reintegrate flirting into their dynamic, says it "evokes positive emotions and strengthens the relationship by boosting confidence and caring for one another."
7. Plan A Date Night Or Staycation
"If you’re going to be stuck inside, you can still make it sexy," Bryan says. "Change the sheets, dim the lights, and set a mood. You’ll be surprised how a few sensory and visual changes can put you in a different mental space."
8. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Journaling and keeping track of the people, experiences, and things you're grateful for can help you stay positive (including positive about your body), especially when everything seems to come back to the pandemic and how it's negatively affecting your life. "The benefits of gratitude include greater likability, improved health, more happiness and higher self-esteem. Broad-based self-confidence is essential to positive body image," O'Reilly says. "The way you feel about yourself as a whole person is intrinsically related to how you feel about your body."
9. Get Physically Intimate, Beyond Sex
Letting your partner wash your hair or lotion you up can be an exciting, fresh way to be physically intimate. "Body care sometimes seems like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be if your partner helps. Switching regimens allows you to be physically close, and allows the helper get a different perspective on a familiar body," Bryan says. "Allow them to explore your dips and curves in a new way, and vice versa."
10. Stop Sh*t-Talking Your Body
Last but not least, O'Reilly's pro-tip to feel sexy during quarantine is to try to stop complaining about your body — even though it's easier said than done, and especially if your body is changing due to quarantine. "Try it — for one day, one week and then one month. It’s a life-changer," O'Reilly says. "If and when the negative thoughts enter your mind, try visualizing them floating away on a leaf, or being locked away in a cabinet." Don't beat yourself up if you do say something negative about your body by accident, but offsetting mean thoughts with positive or neutral ones is worth the effort, O'Reilly says.
If quarantining has made you feel the opposite of "sexy" lately, remember that you're not alone. Taking time to explore and love your body is a kind, empowering practice to help you reconnect, so don't be afraid to show yourself the love you deserve.