Don’t forget to wear a … mask
In the summer, Victoria is usually a place alive with festivals, large beach get-togethers, and wild nights on the town as the student population returns for the coming fall term. Instead, a time normally used to meet new people has been replaced by Zoom calls, unflattering face masks, and social lives restricted to six close friends. This is not the greatest environment for the single student population.
The pursuit of pleasure and intimacy in the time of COVID-19 feels like, well, navigating through a possibly infectious population without a mask on (no metaphor needed).
With opportunities for meet-cutes drastically lowered and constant thoughts of ‘are they worth risking it for?’ whirling through your head, what are the best ways to stay safe while still satisfying your needs during the pandemic?
Below are a few tips for sex and dating during COVID-19 that may make your search for a boo safer for you.
1. Try online dating, and new apps like Levity
Getting to meet new people is not an easy feat when you need to keep six feet apart. Speaking loudly to the cute customer two metres behind you in the grocery store line may not be the smoothest approach for winning their heart. Luckily, we live in a digital age where many people are meeting partners online regardless. If the dispassionate (and for some, intimidating) mediums of Tinder or Bumble aren’t to your liking, there are lots of new and exciting apps coming out to fill the digital-dating niche.
Levity is a B.C. original start-up dating app that doubles as a chat app. Opposed to facing the left or right swipes alone, Levity allows its users to share profiles with friends who can also recommend prospective matches. With back to school here, the app has also begun to market itself as a platform for meeting friends at the same university to help people experience the social connections of university from the safety of their home. Apps like Levity are a great way to combine the convenience of online dating with that feeling of talking to your friends about the attractive person you saw in class.
2. Take the date outdoors or virtual
So you’ve met someone you’re interested in meeting up with. Though the summer is coming to an end, there are still lots of sunny days left before the rainy season. Planning outdoor dates is a great way to meet up with someone for the first time. Going for a walk along the downtown waterfront, going for an outdoor adventure in Mystic Vale, or even just going to one of the many beaches here in town is a great way to meet someone while still keeping physical distance.
If you’re still not comfortable with meeting up in person right away, there are a wide variety of ways you and your prospective partner can get to know each other online. Netflix Party is a great Chrome extension that allows you to link Netflix profiles to watch shows or movies synchronously. Though the extension doesn’t offer a video calling option, most video chatting apps can be minimized to appear in the top corner of your computer screen and allow for you to watch Netflix while still being able to see your viewing partner. If you want something more interactive, Zoom offers a number of games that you can play with others while video chatting.
3. Be patient with your prospective partner and use this time to get to know them
Everyone has their own comfort level with when they feel ready to have sex with a partner. For some it may be a few hours and for others it might be months. With the heightened anxiety surrounding COVID-19, individuals may not feel comfortable jumping right into bed with just anyone. Take this time to talk with your partner(s) about their comfort level, and possibly even use it as an opportunity to get to know them in other ways before opening up intimately.
However, don’t forget that there are many different ways to experience mutual pleasure beyond physical touch. Sexting, phone sex, and especially video sex (a helpful tool in any long-distance relationship) can be fun ways to explore your prospective partner sexually without crossing the physical boundary. Just remember, always talk to your partner to make sure that they are comfortable with these mediums. Consent and mutual comfort come first!
4. Be transparent if seeing multiple individuals
Yes, this may be awkward. Even if you don’t know where a physical interaction with someone is going, it is important to be transparent about if you are seeing other people. Guidelines still encourage people to keep their social bubbles small, and although physically distanced dates are an option, having multiple sexual partners or interacting with a multitude of different social bubbles puts you and your partner(s) at risk. You owe it to whomever you’re seeing to make sure you aren’t increasing their risk of contracting COVID above what they are comfortable with.
5. Being single is awesome!
And finally, just remember, being single or non-sexually active is perfectly okay. There is a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s okay to use this time to process all of it individually. Taking this time to get to know yourself, and even to explore your own sexual preferences and desires, can be a very rewarding experience. Getting in touch with your own sexuality is never a bad thing!