“Covid” has been on everyone’s mind for the last four months. And although the pandemic has been inconvenient at best *eye roll*, one of the silver linings I’ve found during the health crisis is that many conversations that normally may be hard to navigate have gotten a whole lot easier. Consent conversations about what’s ok in the sheets, as well as touching base on general health and testing history, should now include both “when were you last tested… For STDs? AND Covid?”
Although these topics are a huge step in the safe sex direction and ones we recommend having no matter what your status, they do not solve the question of “how the hell am I going to meet someone?” This is an overwhelming time, and you may not be comfortable leaving your house, let alone room – and just like almost everything sexual, this uncertainty is also a spectrum.
So how do you even begin to reopen your love life to lock down a quaran-cutie before the potential second wave? Here are my 5 tips to reopen your sex life during quarantine…
1. Check (in with) Yo Self:
With so much more time on my hands, I have definitely gotten more introspective about my sex life before the nationwide shelter-in-place orders. A huge pro in this slowed-down world is that it’s given an overthinking fast-paced person such as myself an opportunity to hit the reset button.
Check in with yourself during this time: is it just a physical itch that needs to be scratched, or is there something more emotional you’re craving? How physical are you willing to get without potentially sacrificing your health? A New York Times article suggests the safest sex partner during the pandemic is yourself or a housemate and although that may seem ideal for some, for others, for example, those quarantined with family, it’s not ideal. I felt lucky to be quarantined with my boyfriend, but even
2. Get Online-Dating-Educated
So what’s your next best option? Maybe give the dating platforms another spin. Online dating platforms were the norm even pre-Covid, and there are more than a few reasons that make this a pro in this new way of life.
Bumble experienced a spike in usage amid the coronavirus outbreak, reporting a 69 percent increase in video calls, a feature they already had in place pre-Covid. Bumble did launch a new “virtual dating badge” in April which indicates who on the app is comfortable with video and phone dating. With everyone having time to swipe, big dating apps are becoming more user friendly and they are the safest way to meet someone.
Another dating app called OKZoomer is the newest dating app designed in quarantine, by college students for college students. Why we like OKZoomer for our student readers is that it incorporates an extra level of safety by requiring a valid college email to be linked to the account, decreasing your likelihood of getting catfished.
Although I took comfort in hearing about this preemptive safety measure, a lot of popular apps still do not do background checks, and there are always going to be creeps in this world and definitely some of them are online, so please, still be safe. In the event that you do dodge the cyber creeps and find a potential connection but aren’t totally comfortable meeting up, then I strongly recommend a video rendezvous.
3. Love at First Video Call
As mentioned, Bumble has already embraced the new reality of a video first date, and as long as Covid continues, a Facetime or Zoom is the only way to fully eliminate your chances of getting the virus. Despite Soulja Boy’s beliefs, you can not kiss someone through the phone.
An online meet up also allows you to get to know potential partners without having to put yourself in an uncomfortable in person situation. Although they could still be lying about their height on Facetime, scientific research suggests it takes seven seconds to develop a solid impression of who you are and only 1/10 of a second to determine traits such as trustworthiness. So no making elaborate excuses to leave an awkward first date in person, which feels immensely more uncomfortable than just ~conveniently~ having your wifi go out.
4. Safety First
From a safety first perspective, dating platforms have changed quite a bit from pre-quarantine times. Although bars are one of the ways to meet that special someone, not every state has reopened their doors, and those that are experiencing more spikes in Covid cases (such as Florida, Texas, and even some of California) are closing their doors once again. While in person meetups seem increasingly more dangerous, if you do choose to venture back out there you have to be even more aware of your surroundings, and more aware of someone you don’t know breathing too close to you.
5. Consider Crucial Conversations: Communication, Consent, & Coronavirus
I do have to say one silver lining to come from the reality of this new normal we live in is that, as the world is more conscious about what we share with each other, communicating honestly about your personal health and sexual past is necessary. It’s really important now to feel comfortable asking (and to actually ask) if someone has been tested for Covid or has had any recent symptoms.
Alongside and just as important, everyone should feel comfortable asking about STDs, something that I have personally struggled with talking about in the past. I would also hope that by blindly having to trust peoples’ word when it comes to potential exposure of Covid or STDs, a new level of trust may be possible.
Establishing that honest foundation with a potential partner early on will only be beneficial. Good communication also inherently helps normalize conversations around topics such as consent and sexual preferences, leading to more satisfying/best possible sex.
Wherever you lie on the spectrum of dating comfortability in the time of Covid, the best place to begin is with introspection, and when you do dip your toes back into this confusing dating pool, of course, always stay safe.
Let us know if you’ve got additional tips on sex and dating during Covid in the comment section below or @LovabilityInc on Insta! We’d love to hear from you.
About the Author
A senior in William & Mary and St Andrews’ joint degree program for English, Maud (@maudpurinton on Insta) has always been passionate about initiating conversations around sexual destigmatization and female sex positivity. She’s also an avid skier and mixed-media artist and looks forward to pursuing a career in fashion and beauty PR after she graduates.