All you need is love, love is all you need, sang The Beatles in the 1960s, and that is possibly the mantra for couples young and not so young confined to their homes, away from office, parties and other such distractions, in these anxious coronavirus times.
Veering between social distancing and close cohabitation, many thousands of couples are rediscovering each other as cities and towns across the country go into lockdown. With this increased intimacy, many pharmacies as well as e-commerce sites are reporting rising sales of condoms and contraceptive pills while some experts are already looking at a coronavirus baby boom in December 2020 and an entire generation of ‘quaranteens’ in 2033.
The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has triggered large-scale anxiety but also increased intimacy among couples who, caught in their busy lives, don't find the time to be with each other.
So, while the demand for food supplies, masks and medicines has risen, so has it for condoms and pills.
"Our stock of masks is over. Many people are demanding chloroquin and Vitamin C. And the sale of condoms has also increased," said Shah Nawaz of Loyal Pharmacy in south Delhi's New Friend's Colony area.
A staffer at another pharmacy in central Delhi who did not wish to be named echoed Nawaz. He said while many people are stocking up on hydroxychloroquine sulfate as a possible drug against COVID-19, the sale of condoms has also increased quite a bit.
Sources at a leading e-commerce site also said sales of condoms and contraceptives have jumped online.
"In times of war and epidemics, intimacy levels go up among sexual partners," said Rajiv Mehta, consultant psychiatrist at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH).
December 2020, he told PTI, might just see a 'coronavirus baby boom' of sorts.
"People are anxious and living at home. Couples, married or otherwise, who were too busy with their professional lives are now getting proximity and time. So intimacy will increase as it has increased during wars. This is a war-like situation," Mehta said.
He added that may people have light-heartedly even started referring to babies born nine months from now as the quaranteens who will become teens in 2033.
"Fatigue is one reason married couples in big cities don't have regular sex. So, basically, people are getting back to normal sexual life," he said.
On the flip side, too much proximity might lead to quarrels, Mehta cautioned.
Nikita Srivastava (26) and Gaurav Mathur (29), a live-in couple in Ghaziabad, said they are getting to learn more about each other in this homebound period.
"We had different shifts at our offices earlier, but now, even with separate shifts, we get to spend more time with each other. We discussed it with our doctor, and he suggested a physical relationship is not problematic as long as we both are not affected by the virus," said Nikita.
In Gaurav's view, the situation is "actually good for them as a couple. And it's not just about having more intimacy than earlier. We have found a new level of commitment now. We talk, discuss, plan our future, share secrets. I am finding so many interesting things about her that I didn't know earlier. I think we are in a better place now," he said.
Jinia Ghosh, 28, who got married last year, said she is under tremendous stress and is constantly worried.
"I am getting worked up. At times there is this palpitation and nagging sense of worry, this feel of an apocalyptic situation as we are seeing death everywhere in the world," she said.
"So yes, I guess couples will get more intimate in this time And watching movies and surfing on mobile phones can give you leisure only to a certain extent," she said.
A city-based psychologist, who did not wish to be named, said the sale of erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, and menstruation-halting medicines will also rise further as the lockdown progresses.