From the beaches in Hawaii to the ice lakes in Alaska, it feels like Americans across the country all have one thing in common right now: They're very horny at home.
In March, Pornhub reported a 6.4% increase in visitors in the United States. Dipsea, a subscription-based audio erotica app shares, witnessed a 50% increase in users in a single day. The sex tech industry is exploding, with some online retailers reporting an 185% increase in sales since this time last year. Google searches for subscription-based cam sites, like OnlyFans, are spiking and sign-ups on CamSoda and ManyVids are up 37% and 69%, respectively. But while our online behavior paints one picture, our lives inside of lockdown can tell an entirely different story.
Some long-distance couples haven't seen each other in months. Among couples who are living together, many are reporting a lack of sex with their partners due to coronavirus anxiety. And while the pandemic is driving some singles to make sure all of their exes are accounted for, it's uncharted territory for those looking to move forward.
Below, five women and femmes share what's really going on behind their quarantine doors.
Gabrielle, 29, Is Fantasizing About Drooling On Someone's Chest
I've been in quarantine for two months. I was masturbating daily for the first few weeks. It was a nice way to take a break from endless emails and news alerts. But after the one-month mark, my libido plummeted. They say having sex begets more sex, and perhaps that's what it was. I had also fully exerted the possibilities of the three vibrators I have on-hand. Plus, the world is crumbling.
At first, my porn consumption was way up, too. But after I watched all of my favorite videos, like, 74 times, things really fizzled out. I think I can only be turned on by myself for so long before I need something unexpected to mix it up.
My ex and I spoke early on, but that's stopped. It was more about comfort than sex, though — someone to talk to who knows me and can tell when I'm feeling off. I've never been so desperate for someone to just hold me. All I want now is for someone to let me drool on their chest during a midday nap.
Initially, I took a step back from dating apps. I thought that removing the prospect of a rendezvous might take away some of the excitement. But then I started talking to the pigeons on the roof across from my apartment, and I realized it was a good time to tap back in.
For about two weeks, I had a "quarantine boyfriend," who I met on an app. We'd touch base during the day about our work schedules and the weather. It was nice to have someone who made me look forward to, well, looking at my phone. But then he asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the park, and actually, the thought wasn't as appealing to me. He had served his purpose. Now it's almost like I'm dating myself.
Alex, 25, Is With Her Long-Term Partner, But Is Too Anxious To Get Turned On
My partner and I have been quarantined together for three months. We normally live together, but I’m not used to seeing him so much. He usually works late, and I have an active social life, so we have to make time for each other. Now all we have is time.
At first, quarantine sex sounded exciting. We’ve been together for five years, and our sex life can get routine, if not bland, at times. Not that we care — we don’t feel the need to constantly be having sex. Being stuck together inspired us to shake that up. The first month, we were having sex several times a week (which is a lot for us), and switching up where we do it. But now, we’ve pretty much reverted to our old patterns. We haven’t had sex in a couple weeks, but I’m fine with that. We tried sometime last week and both sort of lost interest.
My sex drive changes from week to week. One week, I’m super horny and having sex dreams about Brad Pitt or whoever. The next week, you couldn’t turn me on to save my life. I’ve been almost too nervous to masturbate. Every time I lie down with my vibrator, I get anxious and my brain fills up with nonsense. It’s too hard for me to relax right now.
I think quarantine has been really great for our relationship. We cook for each other. We’ve started watching new Netflix shows together. We take breaks in the middle of the day and just cuddle. We’re talking about our future a lot more, too. He told me that he thinks he’s going to marry me for the first time last week. I had a delayed reaction because I was in shock.
There’s living together, and then there’s living together. Before social distancing, I think we shared a living space, but we didn’t really live together. Now, for the first time, I can tell the difference.
Shelby, 28, Went From Sexting A Lover To Exploring Solo Sex
I've been quarantined in the desert, which is very different from my home in the city. Before quarantine, I was dating casually and exploring alternative relationship designs, specifically open-relationships and polyamory. But 60 days in solitary has been surprisingly fabulous in terms of processing where I'm at emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually — and where I want to go. It's given me the opportunity to think about what I really want from my romantic life, while also giving me the space to let go of some old narratives that may have been holding me back. I feel much more confident now and excited for the future.
I'm a big advocate of sexting. I was doing it with a trusted lover of mine at the beginning of quarantine. I've also been masturbating much less in quarantine and barely watching porn, if any. I get horny rushes every now and then, but I'm with family and have been super busy juggling my career and time with them, so it hasn't been a high priority.
I've always been a very sexual person. Over the past couple months. I'm starting to see a shift towards a deeper connection with myself and less about the act of getting off. I've been reading about tantra and building conscious relationships, with yourself and others. My sex drive is still very much present and it's been empowering to try on this new perspective.
When I'm horny, it's almost unbearable. At the beginning of isolation, I reached out to a past lover for some comfort, but it wasn't as fulfilling as I'd hoped. A romantic interest of mine reached out, which was a lovely surprise. It's been really nice taking it slow and getting to know them during this time. Some exes have reached out, too, but it's important for me to move forward, not backward.
Abigail, 24, Is Living With Her Long-Distance Partner & His Family, But Misses Her Vibrator
My partner and I are quarantined in the confines of our truly suburban hometown. We're normally long-distance, so our sex life is different now. For one, we're used to jumping each other's bones every other weekend. There's a mix of internal pressure when you live apart from your partner and then finally see them. We have to have sex because we don't even live in the same city, right? But at the same time, Wow, I miss sex.
I've felt a change in my overall sex drive since we've been here. We have the opportunity to have sex more often, but we're also living in his childhood home (with his parents!) and working out of the same "office." So, sex hasn't had the same appeal. Don't get me wrong — I think my partner is hot as hell, and quarantine has catalyzed my attraction. But the desirability of sex waxes and wanes.
I also take Lexapro, which has an impact on my libido. As a result, I've rarely masturbated. I miss it like crazy! My sweet little vibrator is in my apartment, all alone.
My partner and I have been together for six years, and we honestly thought we had mastered how to communicate. But there's a lot more to the micro-aspects of living together that we hadn't yet unearthed. For example, I like to listen to podcasts before bed, but he prefers silence or the sound of rain. I talk while I work, while he's a headphones-in, no funny business with my monitor type of human. I'm a contrarian and question a lot of what he does, and he's definitely not about it.
Most of the time when we bicker, we wake up feeling snuggly and apologetic. I think, through all of this, I've fallen in love with him again.
Frankie, 26, Is Making A Post-Quarantine Sex Bucket List
I've been quarantined away from my girlfriend for what must be 100 days now. We've been dating for less than a year, but I'm pretty sure she's the perfect woman. I know we're technically in the puppy love stage of our relationship, but I couldn't care less. She's all I think about, all the time.
My girlfriend is with her parents. She came out not too long ago, and her relationship with her family is a little strained, so we decided it would be best for us to quarantine apart. I live with roommates, but they've all left. So I'm living all alone in my apartment, daydreaming about when I can touch her again.
Before this all started, we had phone sex all the time. The rare nights that we weren't sleeping together, we'd call each other in the dark and masturbate to the sound of the other's voice. Now, we try to have FaceTime sex, so we can see each other's faces, but it hasn't been working. My girlfriend gets too embarrassed to talk dirty when she knows I can see her doing it. I think it's so sexy. We're working on it.
I think this is the horniest I've ever been in my life. Everything is turning me on. I can't scroll through Instagram or watch Netflix. I can't even take a shower without fantasizing about having shower sex with my girlfriend. I have the libido of a 13-year-old boy. But I think it's partially a defense mechanism. I'm scared of what's happening outside my door — of death, of loss. I cope the way I can, by thinking happy thoughts. Happy thoughts for me just happen to be of her.
I'm putting together a bucket list of all the places I want to have sex with my girlfriend when I finally see her again. In the park, on a blanket under a shady tree. In the theater bathroom, during intermission. This list is my version of watching porn.
Sometimes, I wonder if she thinks of me this much, too. I know she loves me, but does she love me like this? I guess I won't know for sure until 2021.
Diaries have been edited for length and clarity.