This morning when my alarm sounded, something felt … different.
The sun was already draping its warm glow over the room, ushering in a cool breeze as I reached for my phone. It tasted suspiciously like freedom.
Perhaps because, in just a couple of short days, Sydney's gruelling, three-month-long lockdown is set to come to an end.
As I laid in bed, basking in the sense of possibility, I couldn't help but wonder – what will the return of (somewhat) normality mean for our sex lives?
One would expect that, after a prolonged period of abstinence, the reopening of the city will ring in a casual sex explosion fuelled by an insatiable thirst for debauchery. For singletons who've been following the rules, touch hunger (a term that rose to prominence during the 2020 Covid outbreak, when physical connection was first restricted) has been very real.
"It's been so long, I feel like I've forgotten how to have sex," a friend joked over FaceTime recently.
The internet too, has been awash with memes depicting people rehearsing in-person conversation – a nod to the anxiety some of us are feeling around reconnecting again.
But in the wake of lockdown, those who'd usually be the first to hedonistically throw their keys in the communal bowl and dive straight into the orgy aren't necessarily feeling the mojo, either.
At least, that's according to a Natsal Covid study, which found roughly two-thirds of couples had their sex lives negatively impacted as a result of lockdowns, with one-in-10 reporting sexual difficulties that started or worsened due to the pandemic.
Another study, published in the journal BMJ, found among singles, dating app use was also way down in lockdown, while solo sexual activities and use of sex toys increased.
Pair this with the fact Millennials and Gen Z were already having less coupled sex than previous generations prior to the pandemic, and it's entirely possible the end of isolation may not spell the kind of Hot Girl Summer we've spent most of 2021 talking about.
I'm certainly not predicting a total swearing-off of fornication as bars and restaurants reopen, but my guess is, our post-pandemic sex lives will look a whole lot more autonomous.
Because, if lockdown taught us anything – certainly if the rise in solo sex toy sales over the past two years is anything to go by – it's that we don't need each other to get off. People in couples and singles alike are happy getting that job done alone.
This may mean the gradual decline of hook-up culture, particularly as we become more discerning about who we bed in a post-Covid era (saying you're double-vaxxed could become the new foreplay) and a shift back to more meaningful long-term connections.
But it may also result in a new kind of pandemic; of sex-starved relationships.
While research conducted at the beginning of Covid indicated the first lockdowns helped us press pause on our over-scheduled lives and reignite the spark with our partners, more recent studies have shown that, as time has worn on, and uncertainty about the future has reached an all-time high, we're feeling less desire for each other than ever before.
And it makes sense; stress is one of the most potent libido killers there is.
Even as we return to some level of normality, financial instability and the trickle-on effect of lockdown anxiety will continue to impact our relationships for some time to come – both in and out of the bedroom.
Forgoing nookie for extended periods routinely triggers a drop in libido, in much the same way a break from the gym results in muscle loss, and we additionally know couples who have less sex tend to argue more and have lower relationship satisfaction. Even single people report a lowered sense of wellbeing when they're not having sex.
So, while it might be tempting to roll the other way in bed and ignore the growing distance between you if you're coupled up, or trade in the intimidation of dating again for your vibrator, it may be worth fighting the urge to fly solo and reaching out and touching one another again.
Even if you're not in the mood. Even if it's a little anxiety inducing. And especially if you're worried you've forgotten how to do it altogether.