Are Sex Breaks the New Lunch Break?

In these WFH times, experts say a midday quickie can actually boost focus and productivity while lowering stress levels.

Sex quarantine home work
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It's no secret that working from home is taking its toll. We're feeling sluggish and overwhelmed, and, in many cases, trying not to lose our shit at our partners while trapped in a small space.

But some have found a new method of busting stress and boosting pleasure during these times: Workday sex breaks. After all, why reserve sex for nighttime when there’s no office to commute home from?

“I highly recommend skipping lunch and having sex instead,” says Kelly N., 25, from Bristol, England, who works in marketing. She says she's been enjoying sex one to two times a day with her live-in partner to break up the workday since COVID hit. “It really transforms your working day and helps you find some separation if you're cooped up and working from home,” she says.

Kelly is far from alone in squeezing sex in between Zoom calls.

Kate, 27, who lives in Indianapolis and runs a sex toy and advice website with her husband, has workday sex once a week with hubby and once a week by herself. “There’s something that I love about having just been on a conference call, then having sex with my husband, and going back to work with none of my coworkers knowing the secretive fun I just had on my lunch break. There’s something that feels sneaky about workday sex and it’s part of my sexuality to enjoy that,” she says.

Sex during the workday can also be a solution to end-of-the-day exhaustion that sucks some of the fun out of it. Fatima T., 31, from Florida, says that daily sex with her husband during the day is just easier. Shifting work schedules and kids make nighttime sex less plausible, plus, “I’ve noticed things go a lot smoother when I’ve had sex with my husband during the day. I’m more focused on tasks as well,” she says.

Workday sexcapades are not an anomaly. In fact, even before COVID-19 hit, roughly one out of every five work-from-homers were dipping into lunchbreak sex. And that number has likely skyrocketed: Pre-pandemic, just 4% of us worked from home; now, it’s about a third of Americans.

Michigan-based sex and relationships therapist Stefani Goerlich, LMSW, says an increase in daytime sex is an emerging trend with her clients and colleagues since COVID forced us home. “But this is taking many forms; it’s not just married couples having a midday quickie. I’m also hearing a lot more about masturbation happening during the workday — occasionally even during meetings, when one is listening in but muted/off-screen,” she says. (More later on why that's not the greatest idea.)

Goerlich is also seeing frustrations from people who had to sever their in-office affairs when work-from-home became the norm. “This pandemic has resulted both in significantly more sexual activity ‘in the workplace’ as well as a somewhat ironic decrease in office rendezvous as well,” she says.

But workday sex during COVID isn’t just a welcome distraction from the hum-drum of conference calls and a pandemic. It’s also a way to boost productivity and work performance, whether you're pushing numbers, words, or crafting code for a living.

“Orgasm can relax you, allow you to think clearer and boost your mood for the day,” says certified sexologist Shan Boodram.

Ro Sanchez, 45, an intimacy coach based in Ohio, engages in sexual activities during the workday daily virtually via chat, sexting, and videos. “I can honestly say that having sex during the workday enhances both my productivity and mental health,” she says. “After work sex, I am more assertive and confident which helps come across in my Zoom meetings, pitch presentations, and consults. It’s easier to focus on my goals for the day mainly because of the stress and anxiety relief as an instant result from the release of endorphins.”

The health benefits of having sex aren’t just happenstance; they are well documented. “Sex is a mood lifter. It relieves stress, boosts immunity, and helps foster a deeper sense of intimacy in relationships,” says ob-gyn Alyse Kelly-Jones, M.D., of Novant Health Women’s Sexual Health & Wellness in Charlotte, North Carolina.

If you are going to engage, just be sure to plan scheduled breaks. Embrace the old-school concept of the lunch hour quickie, rather than engaging in sexual activity while you are officially ‘on the clock’, says Goerlich. She also recommends some common-sense guidelines to live by if you are engaging in workday shenanigans to mitigate the potential risk of getting caught with your pants down.

First up: Don’t masturbate during meetings (that would still meet the definition of sexual harassment were you to be caught) and don’t send explicit messages/photos through company-owned technology. Bottom line: Better safe than sorry seems to be the mantra when it comes to safe workday sex practices.

Brooklyn-based columnist Zach Zane doesn’t care if his employees have sex on the clock. “I see no reason why it would be an issue as long as you're getting your work done and don't take that much time having workday sex. Your breaktime is your time. You can spend 20 minutes masturbating or you can spend 20 minutes scrolling through Instagram. There really is no difference. (Besides, I'd argue scrolling through Instagram is mental masturbation.),” he says.

Lanae St. John, a board-certified sexologist based in San Francisco who previously worked in HR, agrees that employers shouldn’t have any reason to go after employees who opt for coitus over coffee breaks. “Folks take smoke breaks and feel zero guilt for that. Sex is a much healthier habit than smoking. All the employer really cares about is that customers are taken care of professionally and tasks are done on time.” (Of course, you’re asking for trouble if you brag about your workday sexcapades to your coworkers on Slack. Just don’t do it.)

Sex during the workday may last as long as the pandemic does, or perhaps it’s an uptick in a new reflex that’s here to stay as more people work from home long-term. While not without some risks, it seems a slice of workday sex — either with a partner or yourself — could bring more good than harm.

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