Locked Down Love: How Brits Approached Romance in 2020

Following a rather unexpected year for UK residents (and the rest of the world), featuring national lockdowns, ever-changing restrictions, and government rules that saw us spending more time confined to our homes than we care to recall, it’s only natural that many of us were left feeling somewhat deflated, and are ready and raring to get back out there into the world.


One positive that came out of the restrictions, however, was being able to slow down and truly embrace the amount of quality time it’s allowed us to spend with those we live with. This rings especially true for UK couples, with almost half of those we quizzed (47%) sharing that they have made more time for each other over the past 12 months in order to rekindle the romance in their relationship. 


We were eager to delve a little deeper on the subject, and so surveyed 2,000 UK adults about all things love, sex, and of course, their underwear choices over the past 12 months to find out more.


Sex, Love and…Underwear


Our poll found that almost nine million Brits were having more sex in the last year than they had been previously, and a further one in ten Brits (9%) revealed their sex life had become more exciting too. This excitement was also reflected in our spending, as 15% of us have invested in sexy underwear in 2020 alone. 

In fact, when looking more closely into the purchases made by UK adults in 2020 from our very own Private Collection, we found that they had increased by 50% when compared to 2019.

 And it seems as though men are getting the luckiest in the bedroom, with a fifth of UK men reported to be enjoying an increase in sexual activity during lockdown (19%), compared to fifteen per cent of women. Men were also found to be twice as likely to invest in sexy underwear sets (19%) compared to women (11%).


Item of Underwear 

% of Brits who've purchased item over past year 

Men's boxers 




Men's briefs 


Padded bra 




Non-padded bra 


Sports bra 


Push-up bra 


T-shirt bra 


Sexy/romantic underwear set 



Sales data from Hunkemöller found that Slough residents were the biggest spenders, with an average spend of £82.93 on underwear per transaction, with Woking (£80.78), Eastbourne (£75.91), Rochdale (£75.89) and Leicester (£75.66), following closely behind. 

 Whilst on the flip side, Blackpool (£31.18), Doncaster (£32.24), Redditch (£33.19), Sutton in Ashfield (£34.63) and Sunderland (36.77) consumers, all found to be the most frugal when it came to their underwear purchases in the past 12 months.


Sadly though, our survey highlighted that a sixteen per cent of UK adults haven’t treated themselves to any new underwear in the past 12 months.

Now, we’re not saying that every item of underwear you own will need replacing after a year as that very much depends on a number of factors including how frequently you wear it, what its main use is (e.g. sports bra, everyday bra, etc.), and the type and quality of materials that have been used to craft it. However, treating yourself to new underwear can have a really positive effect on your confidence levels, especially if the item itself is a little bit sexy – much like the gorgeous items found within our Private Collection.

One message we’re keen to spread, especially following a year which has left many of us feeling a little out of sorts, is the importance of feeling your most beautiful, empowered self, whether you have a partner or not. Never has there been a more important time to take the time to show yourself what an amazing person you are, and practise self-love.


We truly believe that dressing up nicely, be it in your go to “sexy” outfit, or an underwear set that makes you look and feel like the goddess you are, should not be reserved for impressing someone else, but should be first and foremost for yourself. 


Whilst not all UK couples live together, for those that have been the lockdowns have meant spending more time together than ever before. Partners went from spending leisurely evenings and weekends together, to also being co-workers, working opposite each other from either side of their kitchen table.


This has unfortunately meant that even the strongest of relationships has faced its trials and tribulations due to the unavoidable pressures thrust upon them. Understandably, more than a fifth of couples (22%) claim to have been enjoying less sex over the past year, with the global pandemic putting a dampener on the sex lives of many across the globe.


The UK’s Sexiest Cities


The capital city of London was crowned the UK’s sexiest city, with the highest percentage of residents there claiming to enjoy more sex than they had been previously, as well as boasting a much more exciting sex life over the past 12 months (43%).  

Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that Londoners were also found to have been most likely to purchase sexy underwear sets during that timeframe (25%). On the tamer side of things, almost a third of Londoners (30%) admitted to spending more time cuddling. 


UK's Sexiest Cities

% of residents who enjoyed more sex/a more exciting sex life over lockdown












Unfortunately for those residing in the Northern city of Manchester, 2020 hasn’t been quite as sexy, with reportedly less sex than they had been used to previously, and noticeably duller sex life for 43% of those living there.  


UK's Least Sexiest Cities

% of residents who enjoyed less sex/a less exciting sex life over lockdown












Despite not making an appearance on the list of the UK’s sexiest cities, Bristolians do deserve a notable mention as Bristol had the highest number of residents (18%) that were found to have tried “something new” and exciting in their sex lives last year. 


Our sales data from the past twelve months showed that Brits certainly have their favourite colours when it comes to their undies, with Black, Pink and Red coming out as the top choices across all major UK cities in 2020.


Locked Down Love


As previously mentioned, for many UK couples, the events of the past year have allowed them to slow down in order to spend much needed quality time together without the usual daily we are so often faced with, but that wasn’t the soul method they were found to be turning to…

Role play and sex toys were new on the agenda for some, with one in ten (10%) admitting they’d been more adventurous with their sexual antics, whilst 17% of those surveyed told us they had “dressed up nicely” for their other half in a bid to rekindle the romance in their relationship. 

Other ways in which Brits favoured as a means of showing their love for their partner over the past 12 months, included cooking for their other half (37%), enjoying romantic meals together at home (33%), saying “I love you” more often (25%) and helping out around the house with chores (24%), proving that a big romantic gesture isn’t always necessary as a means of showing someone you love and appreciate them. 


Ways in which UK adults have rekindled the "spark" with their other half over the past 12 months 


Spent more quality time together 


Made them cups of tea/food 


Had romantic meals at home 


Said 'I love you' more 


Helping around the home 


Cuddled more 


Sent nice messages to them/expressed more kindness 


Bought them presents 


Played games together 


Increased physical touch (handholding, hugs kisses) 



Ten per cent more men (29%) than women (19%) said that they’d been helping out around the house more as a way of showing affection, throughout the lockdown period. Similarly, double the number of men (18%) in a relationship were found to have made romantic gestures in a bid to rekindle the romantic spark in their relationship than women (9%).  

Luckily, the success of these efforts has not gone unnoticed, with almost half the nation (43%) pledging to continue with these activities as the COVID-restrictions lift, and a further 46% saying they will try their hardest to keep these actions going for as long as possible. 


It’s excellent to learn from our study, that despite the plethora of challenges that so many have been presented with in the last year, that so many UK couples, lovers and life partners have been making such amazing use of their time together, whether that’s meant upping their intimacy levels, trialling new things in the bedroom, dressing up (or dressing down), taking time out to do the things they love together, or in true British fashion – making their other half a good old brew. 

 As a brand, Hunkemöller is all about female empowerment and inclusivity, and whether you’re in a relationship, dabbling in the world of dating, or spending some much-coveted time on getting to know, and learning to love yourself, we
 want every woman – and man – to look and feel their most beautiful self – especially when it comes to their underwear. 


Understandably, we were so delighted to see such a substantial rise in people making purchases over the past year from our Private Collection, a selection of more daring underwear choices that we’ve carefully designed with confidence, empowerment and seduction in mind.