Sexual Happiness Study into the Cost of Living Crisis


People are having more sex to de-stress: the effects of the cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis is one that’s affecting pretty much our entire nation – a ground-breaking 95% of us to be exact. At Lovehoney, as the world’s leading brand in sexual happiness, we continue to champion the importance of enjoying a healthy sexual appetite and stay committed in doing our research into what turns us on (and off) in the bedroom.

Our latest people-centric survey reveals that while rising living costs have challenged us financially, they’ve also challenged us to re-think how we connect with our partners, giving us more reason to experiment with our sexual preferences and find more time for self-pleasure too. ​


Breaking it Down

With buying power shrinking, budgets and purse-strings pulled tight and the growing financial demands of inflation all weighing heavily on our shoulders, our lives are becoming impacted in more ways than one. Our mental and physical health states are compromised, while over two-thirds of us admit to feeling the pinch through elevated stress-levels, and over half of us are being kept awake by cost-of-living related anxieties.

With approximately 57% of us feeling an impact on our mental wellbeing, how exactly does the Cost of Living crisis challenge and change the sexual landscape? At Lovehoney, we’ve been investigating into how financial pressures can impact our sexual pleasure too, and the findings might just surprise you. (Spoiler alert – it's not all bad news!). ​


More Pleasure, Less Pressure

While constant budget-biting is certainly no aphrodisiac to any of us, the good news is that sex and intimacy are not entirely off the cards. Better still, enjoying intimate moments within our relationships and indeed, through solo play too, can significantly improve our well-being. Here’s to having more pleasure and less pressure.

Sex is a known stress-buster, and we’ve got the stats to back up the facts. While financial woes can put unprecedented pressure on our romantic relationships, standing strong at 63%, nearly two-thirds of us agree that sex is a good way to maintain intimacy and communication during stressful times. ​

“Communication, exploration and experimentation is the triangle of pleasure for partnered experiences. Through touch and non-verbal communication, you can show love and appreciation for your partner, bringing you both closer together. Being open to regular intimacy can help you feel more connected to the person you’re sharing life with.” - Annabelle Knight

Masturbation is at peak popularity too – we’re doing it more now than we ever have, according to the 26% of us that believe we’re masturbating more since the start of the cost-of-living crisis. Overall, 61% of us find sparing a little time to be sexually self-indulgent helps promote better sleep, and a further 57% of us believe masturbation helps us to unwind and relieve tension.

It doesn’t just end there though, with sex toys being used to take masturbation and sex to the next level; of regular sex toy users, a massive 78% say using them enhances their or their partner’s pleasure.


61% believe that being sexually self-indulgent promotes better sleep


Annabelle Knight, Lovehoney’s Sex & Relationship expert, tells us that “masturbation is a natural and proven stress-reliever, so it makes sense that people are doing it more often to give some form of relief during this period of anxiety.

“Masturbation – and sexual activity in general – releases a number of hormones, including dopamine and serotonin, that make us feel more relaxed, particularly when it results in orgasm. Masturbation and sex can also have a sedating effect on us, as are bodies naturally prepare to recover from the physical effort, which in turn helps us get to sleep.”


The Situation of our Date State

It’s not just about how often we want and have sex. In fact, the cost-of-living crisis is impacting our social preferences too. As finances continue to dominate our choices, date nights are beginning to look quite a bit different. Ditching the little black dress for bedroom boudoir, 1 in 3 of us confess to having more at-home date nights due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Restaurant reservations are at an all-time low, with 65% of us choosing to shy away from the pubs and eateries in favour of dining and dating at home. Holidays are taking a back burner too, as more than half of us (51%) are spending less on trips away.


1 in 3 of us are having more at-home date nights due to the crisis


But is dating at home really a compromise? For those on a budget, spending quality time together in the confines of your own home comforts can be one of the best and most intimate ways to reconnect.

This Valentine’s, a trip away has become a less popular choice than it has been by tradition. Instead, having sex or intercourse has taken top spot for how we want to celebrate the occasion with our loved ones – and that’s exactly how 38% of us plan to spend the evening this year.

Annabelle Knight adds that “it’s no surprise less people are going out and instead spending time at home – having dates or just having sex – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing; there are plenty of ways to make it a special night without spending, and sex is just one of these.

“At-home dates don’t need to be any less fun than going out, and introducing sex toys, sexy lingerie, or even adult board games to the bedroom is a great way to keep things spicy.”

Of sex toy users surveyed, a dominating 53% agreed that browsing for toys online was a great way to spend time alone or with a partner, resulting in 48% of us enjoying feeling more connected with our special other once the toys are delivered, tried and tested. ​


Spending More on Sexual Happiness

With less of our budget put away for expensive dates, we’re choosing to invest more of our time – and finances, elsewhere. Our latest survey has uncovered our growing desire to reserve our hard-earned cash for sex toys instead.

8 of 10 us enjoy using pleasure products, whether we’re playing alone or with a partner, and as our best-seller's list at Lovehoney continues to shape in accordance with the nation’s favourite sex toys, we’re seeing big changes in sex toy buying trends across the country. From cock-rings, to bullet vibrators and the classic rabbit vibrator, sex toys are going the extra mile in keeping our minds pre-occupied on the more pleasurable things in life. ​


Frost-Bites and Love-Bites

With our survey suggesting we’re spending much more time together at home, it seems being energy-efficient is also at the forefront of our sexual endeavours.

Yes, you heard us right – we’ve uncovered the startling fact that as many as one in five people in the UK (20%) have either considered or have had sex in lieu of turning the heating on, trading in frost-bite for love bites.


1 in 5 are choosing or considering sex over turning on the heating

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