FEARS over the Covid-19 pandemic boosted people’s love lives, a study shows.
Couples most afraid of dying from the deadly virus saw their libido soar.
They had sex more often, experienced greater levels of desire and were more adventurous in the bedroom.
The findings, by psychologists at Lisbon University in Portugal, suggest some people faced with their own mortality have more sex to ensure survival of their genes.
Britain’s lockdown measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 are thought to have had a damaging effect on mental health.
One recent study found a sharp increase in anxiety and depression during the first national lockdown in March 2020.
Being confined to home also put many relationships under great strain.
But the latest study, in the Journal of Sex Research, suggests it also benefitted many, especially where couples were fearful for their lives because of the spread of the virus.
Researchers quizzed 303 men and women in close romantic relationships on how scared they were of catching and dying from Covid-19.
They also gathered data on libido and whether volunteers’ sex lives had got better or worse during the pandemic.
The results showed significant improvements in those most fearful of the global spread of the virus.
But there was little change in the sex lives of those who took the pandemic in their stride.
In a report on the findings researchers said: ‘Fear of Covid may actually have benefitted some relationships.
"Even though stress is usually negatively associated with sexual desire, negative experiences caused by the environment can, paradoxically, enhance it.
"This may be particularly evident when people are forced to adjust their lifestyles in response to a life-threatening context."
Previous studies have found one in five adults have tried new activities during sex as a result of lockdown, such as acting out fantasies or trying new locations.
Dr Abigael San, a London-based clinical psychologist, said in some people the prospect of dying from the virus triggers an evolutionary response to reproduce.
"The threat of our own mortality encourages us to try and pass on our genes.
"But many people in danger and fearful also look for closeness with their partners as a means of comfort.
"For some, lockdown and the pandemic has led to real improvements in their relationship with their partner.
"But for others it has had the opposite effect."
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