Thursday 17 June 2021

The crisis has also impacted the sex lives of Nicaraguans

We can’t talk about human beings without mentioning sex, much less in times of crisis. In fact, the first thing that gets lost at these times is the urge to “make love” or as we would say more directly: the urge to have sex.

Confidencial asked four people to tell us how their sexuality has changed since April 2018. Juan Garcia / Niu

In the words of sexologist Auxiliadora Marenco, “Sexuality is people’s nucleus, although it may be colored by sentiment, self-esteem, and the way we see the world. Therefore, if some anomalous situation occurs – be it social, ecological or emotional – our sexuality will be affected.”

To date, there are no statistics about how the mental and sexual health of Nicaraguans has been affected by the social crisis that broke out in April 2018, but experts warn that many of the patients they’re seeing have little sexual desire.

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“A year after the crisis, they’re more concerned about how they’re going to survive. The general case is for people to have had a drop in their libido. There are very few that have experienced an exacerbated sexual desire. Those planning to have children are very scarce,” Marenco explains.

For some, sex has lost its pleasurable value, the expert notes, and many have relations in order to release the emotional burden that they can’t find a way to let out.  There are even those who have sex as the only way they can get to sleep.

In Niu, we asked four different people to tell us how their sexuality has changed over the last year. This is what they said:

Liza, 22: Psychologist

Are you currently in a relationship?

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No, I’m not in a relationship, but I’ve talked with people about this now and again over the last months. The only person I’m still talking with regularly about this is a young woman I met a little while ago.  I don’t know what’s really going on, but I do know that in this exact moment of my life I’m very unmotivated with regard to “sexual and emotional” attachments. I feel a little worn out, I believe.

How has the crisis affected you emotionally?

My ways of relating to people have undergone a 180-degree turn. In April of 2018, I was building emotional ties with a boy who was very important to me, but as a result of the crisis he had to go into exile. We said an abrupt goodbye.  This was painful to both of us and marked the way in which I now establish bonds.

Do you think your sex life has changed as a result of the crisis?

I believe that it did affect my sex life, but I also think it’s happened in phases. Speaking for the present, my sexual desires have diminished greatly and I can link this to the amount of accumulated stress and the sadness I feel.

How important do you think sexuality is?

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The way I live my sexuality is decisive, as much for my relationship with myself as with other people and my environment in general.  It’s a real thing (and I’ve noticed it) that how I live my sexuality, or how the person I’m sharing it with lives it, affects all our interactions.

How accustomed are you to talking about your sexuality? Do you believe this is a taboo subject?

I’m very open about discussing these topics with the people I’m close to sexually and emotionally, with friends and even with my mother.  It’s not that it’s not taboo, because sexuality is really still a taboo subject in Nicaraguan society. However, in my personal development processes I’ve put in a lot of work towards rupturing those ideas and opening myself up to talking and hearing about it.

Juan Garcia / Niu

Moises, 29: Biologist, currently in exile

Are you currently in a relationship?

No. When I was in Nicaragua, yes, I had a stable relationship. The day I came here, I also said goodbye to the relationship I had there. I had an emotional crisis and as a result, a month later, I made the decision to end my engagement after two years. I didn’t want to be an emotional burden to her; I wanted to live out my grief, I wanted to find myself. It was a very hard thing for both of us.

How has the crisis affected you emotionally?

My relationships have changed. For now, I don’t want to return to a formal relationship. I don’t have the same patience or tolerance as before. I know that there are conflicts in every relationship, and at this moment there’s enough on my plate with what I’ve had to live through and bear up under while in exile. Right now, I’m at a stage where I don’t want to be accountable to anyone; I want to do what I feel like, and if that involves getting to know another person, I’ll do it, but it’s not to have a formal relationship. I’m very clear about that from the onset.

Do you think your sex life has changed as a result of the crisis?

Yes, my sex life has changed. I feel that the crisis has increased my promiscuity. In the first months, I didn’t want to know anything about anyone – I wanted to be alone and get over it alone and face things emotionally. Later, my sexual urges returned, and that’s where you find people to resolve your sexual needs, but that’s as far as it goes.

How important do you think sexuality is?

Sex is important, for yourself as well as your partner. Obviously, it’s a complement to your life, not only from a biological point of view, but also from the point of view of satisfaction, happiness, doing the things you like. I don’t know who doesn’t like sex, but I like it and I put a lot of effort into doing it, since for me it’s liberating, it’s pleasurable, it’s a fundamental part of my well-being.

How accustomed are you to talking about your sexuality? Do you believe this is a taboo subject?

We live in a society where the topic of sexuality has historically been taboo. I don’t have any problems talking about sexuality and everything it implies, but not everyone reacts the same way.  However, in most of the circles I frequent, there’s been no problem talking about it.

Soledad, 28: Therapist

Are you currently in a relationship?

Yes, we’ve been friends for three years and six months ago we began a relationship.

How has the crisis affected you emotionally?

I didn’t begin the crisis involved in this relationship, but, yes, I can tell you that with my former partner it was all stressful and very chaotic. We grew apart from each other because of so many opposite emotions.  When we met, it became a time for arguing, until we ended it.

Do you think your sex life has changed as a result of the crisis in Nicaragua?

No. I’m the same. But I have to admit that in the first months of the crisis I didn’t even remember what sex was.

How important do you think sexuality is?

Very important.  Although I think that it’s not altogether essential for many couples.

How accustomed are you to talking about your sexuality? Do you believe this is a taboo subject?

I’m a very open human being in terms of talking about sex. I work talking about sex, my life has been sexual since I was little. My father is a sexologist and it’s never been a taboo subject in my life.

Juan Garcia / Niu

Memento, 50: Communications

Are you currently in a relationship?

Yes, I’m in a relationship. In September we’ll mark three years. It’s a very understanding and stable relationship, and we’re even planning to get married.

How has the crisis affected you emotionally?

It’s stressful to live under gunfire. Things were tense near my neighborhood, but not at the level of Masaya. During that period, we were very stressed. She even told me to quit my job, but I told her no, that this was what I liked doing.

Do you think your sex life has changed as a result of the crisis?

It hasn’t changed. With the crisis it’s grown stronger instead. I believe that while there’s a libido, a lot of love, affection, understanding, that it doesn’t change. Yes, there were moments of anxiety. Sometimes we didn’t even do it, we’d go to bed listening to the radio, or watching 100% Noticias, the 24-hour news show, presenting everything, and our sex life took second place because we were absorbed by the crisis.

How important do you think sexuality is?

If you had asked me that question thirty years ago, I would have put sex in first place, sex in second place, and sex in third place. Today, no, and it’s not that as your age increases you decrease sexually, but you do become more mature. I think that sex is a fundamental complement, but it’s not the principal element.  As I see it today, not everything in life is sex. There are a lot of things that go before it.

How accustomed are you to talking about your sexuality? Do you believe this is a taboo subject?

I like talking with my partner about sexual topics, but to do it in a mature way. I don’t think it’s a taboo for me. In fact, with my last three children, I invested in buying them books about sexual health so that they’d learn, that they’d know they have options for avoiding an unwanted pregnancy or a disease.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

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Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

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