Love in the Time of COVID
How to keep the romance alive during a quarantined cuffing season
Congratulations y’all! We’ve hit nine months of lockdown and let’s face it: it feels like forever since COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic. Since then, we’ve gone through a toilet paper shortage, learned how to properly wash our hands, and voted in a record-breaking election. Now, it’s officially well into the start of sweater weather and we know what that means: cuffing season.
Usually lasting until March, cuffing season is marked by the unusual increase of short-term flings that we cross our fingers will last longer than Scaramucci’s White House stint. With quarantine regulations though, this year hits a bit differently.
A study found that around 40 percent of the population reported being sexually active during the lockdown. In addition, the prevalence of sexual activity increased to 47 percent in people who self-isolated for more than 11 days. Naturally, sex and romance play a huge part in our mental health. Studies have shown that good quality relationships contribute to better physical functioning and longevity. The frequency of sexual intimacy is also associated with better health outcomes, well-being, and overall satisfaction in life.
Since asymptomatic carriers could easily spread the virus, traditional intercourse may not be a safe option at this time. Even for couples who live together, activities like kissing and oral sex pose a great risk for infection. It’s almost necessary to address other ways of exploring romance and sexuality. So, here are some helpful ways to keep the romance alive during this year’s quarantined cuffing season.
To anyone who’s been in a long-term or long-distance relationship, phone/webcam sex is very much a silver lining. While it may not be the most ideal way to have sex, it’s a safe alternative to keeping the romance alive during this uncertain time. Sexual experiences don’t always require physical contact. Sexting or sharing nudes, for example, encourage the use of imagination and fantasy. Remember though, it’s not entirely risk-free. Some risks to cybersex include loss of privacy and the possibility of blackmail or extortion.
There’s also always free access to porn and erotica online. People tend to think of this as a solo activity but couples could read/watch porn together (together at a distance) as a fun way to build tension or find something new to try in bed. Who knows, this might be a perfect excuse to watch Magic Mike – am I right?
Alexa, queue “Scuse Me” by Lizzo.
Masturbation isn’t usually a standard table topic but it’s a healthy way to keep yourself satisfied. Relationships don’t just involve the other party; they also involve our relationship with ourselves. Besides, what better way to spend quarantine time than exploring what we like and don’t like? By probing into (no pun intended) our innermost sexual fantasies, we’re basically doing our partners and ourselves a favor by knowing what gets us going. And with online shopping on the rise, why not splurge on a new dildo or vibrator? Thank me later.
Hookups are generally a good outlet for anyone not looking for a serious relationship. But remember, consent is always key – as is making sure you’re not taking unnecessary health risks. If you do plan on hooking up with someone, consider asking these questions before saying yes to casual sex.
- What are your living situations like? Do you both live alone?
- Are you both working remotely or not?
- Are you both avoiding crowds and going outside?
- Are you two exclusive or seeing other people?
The number of risks depends on how seriously each person takes the pandemic. Even if the other person tested negative, they could still unknowingly be infected later on. According to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the incubation period of the virus can take up to 14 days so even if you got a negative test result, it doesn’t mean you’re not infected. It may just mean you weren’t infected at the time the test was done. It’s always important to follow proper social distancing and sanitation protocols.
While it may not be the most ideal time to find love and satisfaction, it’s a good rule of thumb to be in constant communication with your partner(s) and yourself. Whether it may be physical, mental, or sexual – remember to be outspoken and in-tune with all your needs.
What Else Can You Do?
–Precious Ringor, Content Creator