Sex, Intimacy, and Coronavirus

The past few days have been… scary to say the least. There is an eerie absence of toilet paper, every single business has had to adapt different ways of operating, and I constantly go between the belief that people are either severely over-reacting (clearing out grocery stores) or severely under-reacting (going out to bars and acting like this won’t affect them).

There is so much unknown that it’s hard to not get bogged down by it. We’re told to stay and operate from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are encouraged to practice social distancing to reduce the daily number of cases so our healthcare system can deal with the demand of people requiring care. It seems like every day there is new information on how the trajectory of this is going to play out.

I love this article by the New York Times that shows how dramatic our impact of practicing social distancing at this time really is.

“The only strategies that can get us off this concerning trajectory are those that enable us to work together as a community to maintain public health by staying apart.” — Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH.

At this time, we really don’t know how long we’re going to be practicing social distancing. A few weeks? Months? A year? What does that look like for social connection? For intimacy? Can we continue to have sex and prioritize sexual pleasure in a time where physical connection is at its lowest?

Coronavirus and Sex.

I’ve seen quite a few articles on, “Can You Get Corona Virus From Sex?” and, personally, I think this is pretty comical.

“What we do know thus far is that COVID-19 is present in respiratory secretions,” Kristin Englund, MD, of the department of infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic, told Health. Respiratory secretions means droplets exiting a person’s mouth when they cough or sneeze.

What about bodily secretions like vaginal secretions and semen? Experts say this is also unknown because there is a lack of data around it, but more than likely no. It’s the kissing and “close contact” you have to be aware of.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the virus can spread from “close contact” with someone (i.e. within six feet)… In my eyes, sex is close contact. It might not be transmitted from the act necessarily but kissing and being in close proximity is more than likely a recipe to transmit the virus if someone in the mix is infected.

So if you didn’t happen to get stuck in quarantine with the person you want to jump into bed with, how can we continue to be intimate with significant others, friends and loved ones in this period of “social distancing?”

Cultivating intimacy with others.

Social distancing doesn’t mean emotional distancing. Connect with people. Try FaceTiming individuals you love and want to speak to instead of texting. Hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face can help feeling too lonely in this period.

Honestly, I’ve had some of the best deep, soul-fulfilling conversations these past few days than I’ve had in the past few months. There is something raw and hauntingly beautiful of sharing a collective fear. In a conversation with one of my good friends he articulated that they have a weird feeling that, “the universe is cleansing itself,” and asked the question, “what if the virus is here to help us?

Ask people what they’re doing, question their perspectives, come up with theories as to why you think this is happening now, and what you’re looking forward to getting out of it.

We must remind ourselves that we are not isolated in this time and we are walking through this collectively. Although we are alone, we are alone together.

Cultivating intimacy within ourselves.

Explore what it means to get intimate with yourself. I’m sure you’ve seen many people bringing up the fact that Isaac Newton created some of his most influential work during the Great Plague of London. In that period of isolation, he had time to explore different concepts and ideas that had been on his mind. It was in this period that he had the breakthrough regarding gravity and motion.

That is so f**king beautiful! How could that not inspire you to dive deep within yourself and find the things that stimulate your mind and make you happy. Are you an artist, a writer, a reader, a Netflix binger? Use that to your advantage. Lean into the things that bring you joy and let the alleviated pressure of feeling like you have to physically be somewhere let your mind explore and marinate in new insights and artistic expansion.

Acknowledge the little things that bring you moments of light throughout your day. Prioritize those moments when things seem the darkest.

Invite variety. Does the thought of doing the same thing every day seem boring? Take this time to find new hobbies or establish healthy habits that you’ve been meaning to implement but just haven’t found the time. I just finished Atomic Habits by James Clear, which I highly recommend, and started habit tracking this week- something I’ve been meaning to do for months but haven’t had the chance to prioritize until now. I also started morning meditations with the app, Waking Up, as well as trying to keep up with daily workout routines (my favorites right now are Jessica Rabanzo-Flores’s, “Untitled Movement” and GrillzandGranola’s, “TrapAerobics” — which have both been doing classes on their live feed and digital platforms). Healthy habits people! We’re two days in, but so far so good!

And last but not least in cultivating intimacy, masturbation.

Nothing says stress relief and improved health like an orgasm. Studies show that there are many physical and psychological health benefits to masturbating such as reduced stress, released tension, enhanced sleep quality, increase in concentration, elevated mood, pain alleviation, and improved sex.

These benefits can be really helpful in this time of social distancing. We’re here to remind you because, unfortunately, there still is quite a bit of shame surrounding the topic of making yourself orgasm. What a better time than now to adopt an open and excited attitude to prioritize and improve your sexual health and pleasure.

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Seeing the light in what can seem like a dark time is not always the easiest, especially in a time of uncertainty. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our physical health is to limit physical connection and tap into emotional connection in this period of social distancing.

Whether that be FaceTiming a friend or taking some time to connect with yourself, or a good orgasm, the time to prioritize your self-care and health now more than ever.

With love and awareness,

Sara

Additional Resources:

b.WR Medium

Social Distancing for Beginners

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day