Aurélie Dagonet, 38, hypnotherapist and sex therapist. The tantra specialist helps couples experience their emotional and sexual intimacy in the most fulfilling way. According to her, “the various confinements have caused a sharp drop in desire and libido in many couples”.
What is the profile of your patients since the various confinements and successive curfews?
The profile hasn’t changed that much, either before or after confinement. I usually receive couples who have been together for more than five years. But I was surprised to also receive young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who were wondering about their sexuality and their romantic relationship. This is something quite new.
In general, were these forced lock-ups well experienced by your patients?
Overall, the confinements were experienced as real trials to be overcome. Their biggest problem was knowing how to manage their child (ren) on a daily basis since they found themselves having to take care of them fully while preserving their relationship. This strong proximity also caused a sharp drop in desire and libido. But some couples have also taken it in a positive way, as an opportunity to reconnect in the relationship.
What were the consequences of the health crisis on married life? How is this explained?
The first confinement was unexpected and very confronting for the couples because no one was prepared for it. Some couples had never been so together. There have also been other couples who have been separated and have had to deal with their relationship from a distance and it is not obvious either. Finally, some have called on me to play the role of mediator, either to record their separation or to offer them solutions. For example, I had great feedback on nonviolent communication, a tool I use in therapy.
What did people in a couple have to do to cope with this new way of living together?
Learn to bring novelty, surprise, to isolate yourself during the day to do your own activities. I also teach the couples who come to see me to follow “love routines”, that is to say to sow seeds of love to maintain their garden. It is also learning to stimulate the relationship, in particular by organizing erotic dates with your partner. It is ultimately to bring play between the two partners.
Have the numbers of marriage proposals and divorces been impacted since March 2020?
From working in the wedding industry for several years, I know 90% of them were canceled in 2020 due to covid. In 2021, we are talking about weddings “on the wire” because most of the organizations took place at the last minute. Currently, divorces are much longer because there is a “plug” effect. The places which surround these procedures having been closed for a certain time, all the files have accumulated.
Have people in a relationship become more sedentary or, on the contrary, are they thirsty to go out again and meet new people?
There have been a lot of life changes following these different confinements: couples who quit their jobs, who created their business, who were in an apartment during the first confinement and who changed their lives by going green. The relationship to freedom is very present in people today because they have the feeling of being subjected to the restrictions linked to covid.
Since March 2020, have you received more people who are victims of domestic violence?
I had couples sessions where there was a lot of anger, misunderstanding, and emotional abuse. This translated into insults, demeaning the other, threats. But it’s something I’m used to dealing with, not having the feeling that there has been an increase in that level since the lockdowns.
How do you think romantic relationships will develop in the future?
The life of a couple is made of cycles, like the seasons. We cannot avoid the evolution of the relationship. Despite everything, the human remains a social being who needs interactions. For me the problem is not necessarily to live in two but it is more of knowing how to manage the routine and the boredom and that represents a work to be done in two.
What advice (s) to maintain your married life after going through these events?
For example, I suggest that they sign a “pact of loving intention” so that their relationship gains in authenticity. In this pact, we discuss together: the common values, the language of love, the erotic language, the habits, the zones of fusion, of defusion … We should not also hesitate to create their dream relationship, by putting on paper all he could do is “vibrate” them together. Finally, living together is also allowing yourself moments when you find yourself alone, without the other. Have a certain autonomy in terms of activities and needs because passivity leads to failure.