After over a year of lockdown, singles in the UK and elsewhere are gearing up for a new hedonistic ‘roaring twenties’.
The phrase “vaxxed and waxed” is gaining popularity as frustrated singletons around the world look forward to a “hot vax summer”, many decorating their Tinder profiles with a syringe emoji to indicate that they’ve had both Covid vaccinations.
Advertising, too, is picking up on the this new pandemic of desire.
US menswear brand Suitsupply’s new ad shows a young couple getting very intimate in a totally non Covid-safe way, and becoming a massive social media hit in the process.
Suitsupply boss Fokke de Jong says “post-pandemic life is on the horizon," adding that the company’s racy ads are “simply a positive outlook on our future where people can get back to gathering and getting close.”
Other advertisers, such as Diesel and Urban Outfitters, are also picking up on the new, frankly horny, mood.
According to artificial intelligence ad company Pattern89, ads featuring sexually suggestive images have become increasingly effective in the first four months of 2021, with their effectiveness growing by 165%.
But alongside the expected sexual explosion, some experts predict an epidemic of STIs to follow the coronavirus pandemic.
Ina Park, an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, said that while many people will be wanting to “make up for lost time” and she expects “a period of unfettered sexual expression,” there will be a downside too.
“In the STI field,” she told Buzzfeed, “I think we’re going to be overwhelmed with the amount of infections we’re going to see in 2021.”
Not everyone is suddenly going to plunge into risky behaviour, as some of us are taking sensible precautions.
In the US, condom sales surged 23% in April, compared to the same period in 2020.
But it's undeniable the sudden spike in the death rate has left many people especially eager to embrace life.
Ashley Thompson, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota who has a specialist interest in the psychology of sex, told the BBC: “When we're faced with our own mortality, we have a tendency to be riskier… we want to make the most of our lives.”
She adds that the world’s recent brush with death could lead to “more casual sexual behaviour, to sort of combat those negative feelings of one’s own mortality.”
Alongside the raw animal desire, many of us will just be happy to just spend time with people again says Justin Garcia, executive director of the world’s leading sex research organisation – Indiana University's Kinsey Institute.
“I think people are looking for someone to hang out with on a porch for a few hours,” he says.
“The human animal is craving human emotional connection. And I think that doesn't necessarily mean just sex.”