Sex, Love, and Social Distancing

The good news is, COVID-19 in its reproductive stage cannot be sexually transmitted. The bad news is, however, this, unfortunately, means nothing, as virtually any sexual act involves some kind of exchange of saliva, making it inevitable that participating in the hook-up scene will put you at risk. Casual hook-ups, as of right now, are not a good idea. 

For those of you who are single and enjoy casual sex, this will undoubtedly be hard. Going from the rabid hook-up culture that existed at Colgate University to being stuck at home in a house for an indefinite amount of time is actually quite a huge change. Sex drives will undoubtedly be high, but with no way to act on them. 

On the other hand, many of you aren’t single. You may have found a lover at Colgate, and thanks to COVID-19 are now miles and miles apart. Some of you may just be a 5-minute walk or car ride away from your partner, but it’s important to be conscious of the risks involved with even just that. The truth is, you don’t know what you’re being exposed to once you leave quarantine. Therefore, you don’t know what you’ll be exposing others to. 

Thankfully, we live in an era where we can work around all of this by means of technology. We are lucky enough to have FaceTime or other forms of video-chatting, so we can actually see the people we care about no matter how far away they are–; as long as both parties have good internet. Everything that our generation has been criticized for our addiction to social media, texting, video games, etc. is actually crucial to surviving this global pandemic and maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones who we may not be seeing every day for the time being anymore. This doesn’t, however, solve the problem of sexual intimacy: a crucial aspect to some romantic relationships. It’s important to realize, though, that not all forms of sexual intimacy are physical. 

Our generation has been conditioned to think that sexting is to be avoided. We are taught about the dangers and negative consequences of sexting and sending sexually explicit images, for reasons that are completely valid. I’m sure we’ve all read stories of the tragedies that have resulted from sexting, typically in the context as a result of bullying. If done thoughtfully, not taken to the extreme however, sexting is just another form of human sexual expression. With someone with whom you are comfortable with, and that you know you can trust, this may be a plausible option to when getting some long-distance action. Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, a sexual health expert at George Washington University, explains that practices that involve no touching at all, like sexting or video chatting, can still be erotic. “I would advise people who are in long-distance relationships to use technology to their advantage,” he says. Times like this give us an excuse to try new things and ultimately get creative. 

Be that as it may, the only way to have safe sex during this time is with yourself. A document published by the New York City Department of Health outlines a set of guidelines to follow in order to practice safe-safe amid this global pandemic. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19,” it reads, “especially after you wash your hands.” And to that, I would add sex toys. Wash your sex toys. 

With all that said, we are all struggling to readjust nearly every aspect of our lives, and this does not exclude our sex lives. Use this time to try new things and get creative with your partner… and with yourself. Self-love and self-care, am I right?