Long-term side effects of Covid can destroy your love life as loss of taste and smell are linked to a fall in sex drive, a UK psychologist warned.
Loss of the ability to smell and taste has been a hallmark of Covid. While for some it remains temporary, for others it is long-term.
According to Dr Robert King, from University College Cork in Ireland, smell is so important to the power of attraction that loss of it — or changes to it — because of coronavirus could ruin relationships, Daily Mail reported.
People who survived Covid may need sex therapy or marriage counselling in future if the virus damaged their sense of smell, King wrote in a letter to the scientific journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour.
He warned that women may be worst-affected.
Previous studies had shown that if a woman’s sense of smell is altered by factors such as the contraceptive pill, it can ‘drastically change’ her attraction to her partner.
The expert said his study showed that attractive partner smell predicted “vigorous, deeply-felt and energetic orgasmic responses” better than any other characteristics, the report said.
King noted that it is likely that women evolved these extra brain cells to pick up on signals that would help them find a biologically compatible partner so they could produce healthy babies.
“While it is disputed exactly what is being signalled by partner smell, it is not in dispute that smell matters, especially to women, whose extra sensitivity to smell and 40 per cent extra density of… neural tissue (in this area) is presumably doing something important.
“It is therefore likely that the effects of Covid are going to be seen by sex therapists, marriage guidance counsellors and similar in the months and years to come,” King wrote in the journal.
In a 2021 Italian study, a 29-year-old woman who had Covid-related smell loss told researchers: “Without any scent clues, and with this strange, bitter taste when we kiss, my boyfriend became a total stranger to me. My sex drive disappeared… I have left him.”
Some scientists believe that a person’s natural scent conveys information about their immune system.
It is thought we prefer the smell of a potential mate whose immune genes are different enough from ours that we would be likely to produce a healthy baby.
Women may have evolved greater sensitivity in this area because their ‘reproductive investment’ — nine months’ pregnancy — is longer than men’.
“Thus, (natural) selection has rewarded women who are especially picky,” King said.