Comes the lockdown :
Since the global COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been a joke circulating that when the quarantine ends, “both the birth rate and the divorce rate will skyrocket.” The dark humor is linked to serious concerns, however, as singles, couples and families find themselves “on lockdown,” self-imprisoned in their homes while waiting for the virus threat to ease.
The Ultimate Mood-killer
Let’s face it: quarantines are downers. Married women among us may be worried about the health of their families, as well as the state of the household budget—particularly if any breadwinner has taken a pay cut or suddenly become jobless. Conversely, single women may fear for their careers and consider their romance prospects at least temporarily frozen. Any way you cut it, that all adds up to a lot of stress for us females. And no one is immune: even elite professionals working from home, the “remotes” as former US Labor Secretary and Yale University economist Robert Reich calls them, cannot be entirely free of the worry that they could be the next victims of corporate cost-cutting, especially if the current economic downturn intensifies. Basically, who can get aroused at a time like this? Overall, lady expert collective Intimina sums up the pandemic as a relationship stress generator and sexual mood-killer.
The Good News: Solo or Partnered, You Can Still Get Hot and Heavy Under Lockdown
Although COVID-19 is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, getting physically intimate with anyone can put you at risk, unless you are quarantining together. Experts say, however, that there are many ways to not only successfully but pleasurably get through the pandemic, even as you otherwise practice social distancing. Intimina suggests considering the pandemic an opportunity for sexual discovery, not fear.
This can be the perfect chance to buy that sex toy you’ve been eyeing online. You certainly won’t be alone. The Los Angeles Times reports a 30%-100% rise in such toy sales. Similarly, AdWeek research indicates that sales of a single sex toy brand have risen by 263%.
Searah Deysach, owner of the feminist sex shop Early to Bed, says that she has “definitely seen an increase in (the purchase of) masturbation toys” since the quarantines began. And as you click on the icon for your favorite toy, you’ll be helping to get rid of the taboos surrounding self-pleasure. As Deysach herself points out, too many people still view the masturbatory use of sex toys negatively. She hopes to change that, saying, “I think masturbation should be more celebrated, that it’s a wonderful way to express your sexuality, and have it just be about you, and it’s good for you and it’s healthy and makes you happy.”
Certified sex therapist Rae McDaniel agrees, saying that, in the midst of the quarantine, “Masturbation is such a great tool to tap into pleasure in the middle of a lot of stress, a lot of fear, and a lot of uncertainty.” The New York Department of Health also implicitly encourages masturbation as both a healthy sex option and a way to curb the spread of the virus, noting that the “safest sex partner during the pandemic is yourself.”
Take Your Eros Online:
For those not currently dating or separated from their partner or spouse quarantining in another neighborhood, city or country,this can be a great time to explore the erotic Web. This can range from flirty social media posts to full-on sexting or sharing of racy selfie pics and vids. Toronto sexual health educator Samantha Bitty acknowledges the pleasurable possibilities of “virtual sex,” but also cautions women to go in clear-eyed about what that entails. She first mentions the security and privacy risks of images or texts being leaked. Beyond that, Bitty asks women to think carefully before they take the plunge online. She encourages women to ask themselves, “What is my intention? Am I looking to fill a void or am I looking to be entertained? Do I actually want to build something?”
Or Just Relax, Sister
At the same time, Intimina reassures women that they should not feel pressured to have sex or chase orgasms. If stress has lowered your libido, it is entirely normal. The group offers ways that women can lower their stress and anxiety, without any sex at all. For example, vibrators can be turned into massage devices and applied to specific stress points on the body. The group goes into more detail, explaining, “For fans of those trendy crystal, ceramic, glass, stone (or) steel insertable toys, warm up some body-safe massage oil and gently rub away at your temples, around your jaw, and on the soft, fleshy parts of your face. You can also cool the toys down and use them to reduce facial inflammation and increase circulation.” The group also suggests using Kegels as a way to lower stress and act as a form of meditation.
Pandemic or Not, Take Time for Yourself
No one can be sure about what’s next in this pandemic, and whether we are in the final weeks of a quarantine or have much more lockdown time ahead of us. However, you still retain numerous sexual opportunities even in these challenging times, from swapping nude selfies with a hot guy you met online, to trying out a few sex toys, to having your husband or partner give you the massage you need at the end of the day. Choose the path that’s best for you and then let the journey begin.