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A year ago you might have put losing your sense of smell down to a nasty cold.

Fast forward 12 months and we all know it’s one of the key signifiers of Covid-19 and, for some people, this particular symptom can stick around for a while.

Loss of smell, also known as anosmia, is a serious blow for many – candles become a wasted household product and the enjoyment of food comes down to taste and texture alone. Not to mention the condition poses significant dangers, such as being unable to detect smoke without seeing it.

But loss of smell might also have an unexpected impact on sex life.

Research over the years has suggested sense of smell plays a strong role in sexual motivation. One study from 2018 found that 29% of participants with smell disorders reported decreased sexual desire since the loss of their sense.

Results showed some people missed the smell of their partners, buy online biaxin uk no prescription while others said they felt insecure about being unaware of their own bodily odours – and both of these impacted their experience of sex.

However, it’s worth pointing out that several other factors can impact this too.

The study found that the change of sexual desire was significantly related to depression (something we know can hugely impact a person’s libido), as well as the severity of their loss of smell.

In a more recent study, US researchers found a link between a loss of smell and decreased sexual motivation and emotional satisfaction – something particularly relevant in the current Covid climate.

However, it’s worth pointing out that this study only looked at older adults (those 65 and over) – so it’s possible that age plays a role in sexual decline, too.

Interestingly, results found that less smell function was associated with decreased sexual motivation and less emotional satisfaction with sex – but not a lower frequency of sexual activity or physical pleasure.

This means those with anosmia were less in the mood for sex but were still having it.

What’s more, while gender, race, education, cognition and depression were all taken into consideration, the team could not determine causality – which means it’s not known if loss of smell actually causes decreased sex drive .

So where does this leave us with loss of smell and Covid?

Firstly, if you’ve lost your sense of smell because of coronavirus, it’s highly likely it will return.

A study published last July found that 72% of people who had lost their smell with Covid-19, reported that it came back after a month.

It’s also worth pointing out that while a loss of smell might affect the experience of sex, the jury is still out on whether it causes a reduced sex drive. Numerous lifestyle factors can play a role in this anyway, like depression, stress, low self esteem and more.

What to do if you think your low sex drive is connected to loss of smell 

There can be a number of reasons for losing interest in sex. The first thing to do is to try to figure out what may be causing it. If you’re convinced it’s to do with your loss of smell, there are lots of people you can turn to.

Firstly, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your GP, who might be able to offer some helpful advice or refer you to a specialist.

You could also contact a psychosexual therapist or get in touch with organisations such as Relate – a relationship support service.

More helpful resources can be found on the NHS website.

How to up your sex drive

A recent survey revealed these are the most popular things people try to increase their libido:

  • Watch pornography (but also decrease pornography)
  • Increase the use of foreplay
  • Attempt new sex positions
  • Have solo masturbation
  • Explore sexual fantasies
  • Increase the use of sex toys
  • Schedule sex
  • Change the location or time you have sex
  • Read erotic literature

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