During lockdown it may have become normal to prefer to masturbate over having sex with a partner, but people are beginning to appreciate that they’re missing the touch they did have.

According to a recent article in Playboy by Grindr’s sex columnist Bobby Box, “some men prefer masturbation to sex, but will never admit it.”

Apparently, the reason for this is because “men look to ejaculation as a stress release and masturbation can deliver this outcome without having to worry about pleasuring another person and any of the emotional complications that sometimes accompany the act of sex.”

Some guys believe that their own hands know their penis better than any woman would. And, for many women, the feeling is mutual; why endure the fumbling of a partner when one can bring oneself to climax.

According to the results of a ‘self-pleasure’ survey by Sexual Wellness company Tenga, 27 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men said that sorting themselves out alone was actually more pleasurable than sex.

During the pandemic, social isolation has certainly meant sexual isolation for both individuals and couples hoping to explore physical intimacy.

It is no surprise, therefore, that online sexual encounters in the past year, things like virtual sex parties, educational Zoom workshops, remotely controlled sex toys and simply engaging in sex-positive communities, have proven to be both sexually fulfilling and antidotes to physical intimacy.

Being in quarantine, however, isn’t our normal, and there is no normal response to it; nothing can completely substitute for physical touch.

This is, in part, because of the cellular processes that take place when a person is touched. Even moderate pressure touch, such as stroking, stimulates pressure receptors under the skin that sets off a chain reaction and slows the nervous system; the heart rate slows down, blood pressure slows, and brainwaves change in the direction of theta, which is a relaxation state.

Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that kills immune cells, also decrease when we’re touched, while natural killer cells (which kill bacteria, viral and cancer cells) increase. It’s ironic, during this time when there’s a lot of touch deprivation going on, that we don’t have the protection of the natural killer cells killing the viral cells.

Of course, people living alone can still help stave off touch deprivation through self-touch, but, for most people, the pandemic has made us all realise how touch-deprived we were to begin with.

Before Covid-19, the rise of online platforms and social media were driving us physically apart; Coronavirus has simply exacerbated touch deprivation.

This is why erotic massage in London, as well as more niche adult services such as BDSM and transexual escorts, will likely boom during the post-lockdown months. Thousands of years of history of what happens post-pandemics and post-war show that people start getting intimate. It’s going to happen.

To read Bobby Box’s Playboy article click here.

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