Americans are kinkier and couples are more committed according to the Summer of Love survey conducted by Lovehoney – the global sexual happiness experts – in partnership with the Kinsey Institute.

The survey, conducted by Lovehoney Scientific Advisor Dr. Justin Lehmiller, uncovers the impact the COVID pandemic and related restrictions have had on the sex lives and attitudes of American singles and couples, and surprisingly finding that nearly a third (32%) of Americans report more satisfying sex lives. In fact, many Americans are having more sex (30%), masturbating more frequently (36%) and using sex toys more often (25%) than they did before the pandemic.

Hot Kink Summer 

A majority of Americans (51%) report that their sexual interests shifted during the pandemic, most of whom say they have gotten more experimental. In fact, 73% of those who experienced a shift say they are now more interested in bringing kink into the bedroom. Couples were more likely than singles to report a shift toward kink.

Dr. Lehmiller believes the rise of kink has a logical explanation. “During periods of heightened stress and anxiety–like what we experienced during the pandemic–it is often harder to become and stay aroused,” he says. “One way that people might cope with this is by trying new and immersive sexual activities that allow you to be in the moment and free your mind of distracting thoughts. Trying new things is also a way that people can ‘feel alive’ during periods of stress and boredom.”

Couple are Thriving

While COVID life strained many relationships and led some couples to breakup or divorce, the couples who stayed together are emerging stronger than ever, with the majority feeling more passionate about, satisfied with, and invested in their relationships. Couples are closer, perhaps because they built more skills for dealing with intimate problems.

In fact, 44% of couples cited communicating more with their partner as the tried-and-true solution for dealing with sexual and relationship problems that emerged during the pandemic. This increased communication has resulted in greater emotional intimacy and a better sex life. Over half of couples (51%) say their partner meets their sexual ideals now more than before.

According to board-certified sex therapist Shadeen Francis, the pandemic may have played an important role in creating the opportunity for growth. “While we often think of challenges as negative, it may actually serve to our benefit. Couples often avoid important relationship conversations because it is stressful; most people do not want to create or intensify conflict. However, conflict is growth waiting to happen.

The Future of Sex and Relationships: 

So what does all of this mean for the future? According to Dr. Lehmiller, “This pandemic seems to have fundamentally shifted how a lot of people think about both sex and relationships, which highlights our flexibility, adaptability, and resilience in the face of challenging circumstances.”

“At the same time, we’ve also seen that, despite all of the doom and gloom predictions at the outset of the pandemic, the couples who stuck it out are really thriving for the most part,” he says. “People appear to have built more intimacy and improved their communication skills in ways that may ultimately pave the path to healthier sex lives and relationships in the future.”

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