If you were waiting to meet your soul mate or were dying to have a good time with someone you met on Tinder, 2020 might have ruined your plans.
This new decade has made us remember the 80’s fear of catching an invisible virus. Only this time, no condom can protect us. During this new pandemic, we can have sex, but we’re reticent to kiss or even be close to our loved ones – a reality some can only scape through a Pornhub fake narrative.
Sex without kissing is like Thelma without Louise; Batman without Robin, or JLo without Mark Anthony — oh, wait!
During the lockdown, some have gone from leaving Tinder to blind dates through Zoom; some have recurred to isolation, others to divorce, and the most optimistic have chosen to move in together.
My friend F, a Venezuelan who lives in New York, moved in with her boyfriend a few months before the pandemic. He is a lovely gringo who speaks very good Spanish and looks like Darrin Stephens from Bewitched. Last Sunday, among mariachis and less than ten friends to keep the security distance, he proposed. Love triumphed, and a man in love with a Latina student may understand that beyond the love they feel, signing a paper is mostly an act of devotion in times of health and immigration uncertainty.
Of course, not everything is about love, but there are often more transactional stories — especially if sex is involved. Other strange pandemic tales of my paisanos refer to improper invitations to orgies through Zoom, couples touching in parks because of paranoid flatmates, and using the outdoor scenario as an exhibitionist twist.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The strangest story of all is that of a gay friend whose sporadic lover asked him to sell him his semen or, if he was not willing to go out, to please freeze the sample and leave it in a specific location. The reason? The bizarre lover confessed he wanted to make a dildo with all his lovers’ semen and “enjoy” his lockdown.
None of these stories can be categorized as strange or normal — they are all valid morphs of concepts. Just as we adapt to wearing a mask, we adapt to new forms of love and sex. The fact that the virus is in our lives profoundly changes us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for love or exercise your lust. You just have to understand that you may have to do things differently.
The state public health agencies and the various health organizations in the world dealing with COVID-19 have several tips to keep you safe when it comes to love, sex, or dating in a pandemic era, without having to go through divorce or contagion.
Forge a digital connection even if it’s a date in Tinder
Many have already done so since the beginning of confinement. A case such as the “Love is a Quarantine” initiative is just one example. Keeping social distance from people outside your home is complicated, but you can talk and play naughty games with your phone. You can meet new people through dating websites and still respect the social distance. Even Tinder reminds you that a hottie can cost you your life, and it has implemented the option of video calling to replace the now outdated dates in a café.
If apps are not your thing, you can also go back to analog. You can do things the old fashioned way; try asking your friends to connect you with someone they think you’d like or break the ice and write to a crush who’s always been there and try asking them out through Zoom or over the phone.
However, health authorities know that restrictions and recommendations depend on civic responsibility and are easily corrupted. That’s why Harvard University researchers have recommended using masks even during sex, especially if the couple doesn’t share the same house.
On the other side of the Atlantic, German streets were filled with posters suggesting that the doggie style was safer than face-to-face sexual positions, like the missionary. However, high levels of creativity are not without risk. It may be best to opt for the romantic route and schedule a virtual dinner as the photographer Jeremy Cohen did.
Create a healthy relationship with the most important person: you
Social distancing measures make us feel a little strange. This sudden isolation imposed on us is undoubtedly dystopian, and so is the fear and anxiety that make a dent in us.
Measures taken by local governments in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities, along with reports from health officials, have recommended it’s best to relieve oneself and avoid sexual contact with people.
Ergo, masturbation is here to stay, and the increase in sex toys’ sales confirms it.
Being with yourself, away from others, will give you more time to explore and get to know yourself. This could be an excellent opportunity to reevaluate your emotional, love, and sexual life, what you really think about dating, your body, and sexuality. Any relationship you may have after this long soliloquy — whether it is a long term relationship or a casual fling — will benefit from your newly gained self-confidence.
After all, there is nothing more attractive than a person who has made peace with her demons and knows what she wants.
I am already in a relationship, can I see my partner?
If you are already in a relationship, but you don’t live together, you may have been wondering if and when you can see your partner. Ultimately, authorities recommend doing as much as possible to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
That’s why some couples have chosen to stay together for an extended time, as my friend F, thus creating new types of homes — pandemic homes. Other couples simply see each other as visitors with social detachment or meet outside for casual runs or “pleasant” exercises. As a last resort, some couples have decided to see each other only virtually until restrictions are lifted.
The final countdown: sex and responsibility
In the end, it’s all about civic and health responsibility. Our organic capacity to desire and be desired will always be there. It’s just a matter of finding the balance between being socially responsible and still satiate the needs of your current sentimental and sexual lifestyle.
Whether you decide that your date is safe and fits the WHO recommendations, or if you want to wait for a better time, remember that the virus is not going to last forever. They may find a vaccine, or they may not. One way or another, humans will always find a way back to sitting awkwardly at a restaurant table by candlelight, or face to face in a bar in the future. For now, our desire should be redirected and transformed into self-love; it should be responsible, and it should be the voice that tells us to stay alive and healthy.