There is – you may have noticed – a lot about the nation's sexual health in the news. Over-60s are having more than ever (according to counsellors Relate), couples of child-bearing age are having less with some even resorting to IVF to have a baby instead of sex, and overall people are having roughly half as much sex as they were 30 years ago.
Those of us who had our first kiss to the strains of Nights in White Satin can look back on our peak sex days smug in the knowledge that we were the last people on earth to choose sex over sleep, Netflix or answering work emails. So, it follows that we are the ones who hold the key to solving this problem and setting a few things straight.
People under 40, listen up:
1. Don't bother to go on a sexy hotel minibreak if you want to have sex. By all means go if you want to drink gallons of cocktails, eat until you can't move, watch TV in bed because that's all you'll do, for much the same reason pandas don't do so well in those orchestrated mating situations. Too many bamboo shoots and soft lighting creates a creepy kind of pressure, and then we go off it.
2. Do have a designated sex night. Though don't schedule it as a permanent immovable thing, like bin night. That is depressing. But agree on a day and create an incentive as in "if you say you're tired you owe me £50 and it goes up to twice next week". Works for us.
3. Don't make your bedroom a shrine to sex. Please. Evidently there are people who think being in the mood has something to do with candles and essential oils, when often the opposite is true (see pandas). Clean sheets are an incentive though and cleanish bodies. Just-been-in-the-sea bodies are good.
4. Stop trying to look hot. There are people who won't get into bed unless they are tweazed, waxed, groomed, bleached and most nights they're wearing a deep moisturising mask, teeth bleaching moulds, ear plugs and a hair band. Obviously this is the extreme but a lot of body maintenance is being done these days and it's all a denial of normal healthy, hairy, messy intimacy. Save your cash.
5. Put your phone down. The smartphone may be the number one enemy of sex. It's not sexy if you go to bed clutching your mobile like a link to all the other people you don't want to let go of. It's not sexy if the last communication you have before slipping between the sheets is a sniggery private joke shared with six girlfriends on Whatsapp.
6. So you have a dodgy back, pinched nerve, mild toothache. This is your new normal. Power on through with paracetamol and a large glass of red wine or two. Ask permission to not move a muscle and just see how it goes.
7. Stop being more in love with the dog than each other.
8. Don't be too tired. Think about it. How long will this take, start to finish? Just skip loading the dishwasher and you've lost no time at all, and everyone feels proud.
9. Know your booze tipping point. That is the moment when you could conceivably tip over from "up for sex" to "ooof definitely need to lie very still now". We owe it to our sex lives to work this one out. Track it back. Was the critical mistake the complimentary limoncello? Think it could have been.
10. Park your worries. If you feel the urge to check in on the "What will actually happen if you lose that contract?" worry, just as you're turning out the light, don't. Another time.
11. Probably turn out the light.
12. Forget sexy, get funny. This was my issue with The Split. Nathan funny. Christie not funny at all and banging on about brunch in New York when Nathan could make a night stuck in the camper van hilarious.
There you go. Enjoy.