Intimacy during a pandemic

intimacy during pandemic
African descent couple sleeping on the bed snuggling and hugging

By: Natasha Archary


What does social distancing mean for your sex life? How does self-isolating affect your relationship? Can being quarantined with your partner for 60 days improve physical intimacy? It all depends on the status of your relationship, doesn’t it?

intimacy during pandemic
African descent couple sleeping on the bed snuggling and hugging

While many have had an explosive time over the lockdown period, it turns out not everyone spent quarantine having sex. 


Quality over frequency 

In a study of global sexual habits from mid-March to mid-May, Justin Garcia, a sex researcher at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, found that people were having sex less frequently and enjoyed it less during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Early predictions about the cause and effect of the pandemic leaned heavily towards a global baby boom in the first two months, this has since changed. According to the research, people reported feeling high levels of stress and anxiety, amid the uncertainty that COVID-19 presented, psychological factors that are not conducive to sexuality.


Couples reported their relationships improved in many ways over the lockdown period, even if they were not having sex as often. With 20% attesting to broadening their sexual horizon. 


Precautions first

How does one even have sex when the COVID-19 precautions advise social distancing and with our President stressing that kissing, hugging, and touching is a thing of the past. So, no foreplay for the rest of our lives then? 


Let’s start with the facts, COVID-19 the life-threatening strain caused by the novel coronavirus, is spread by direct person-to-person contact. Being carried by respiratory droplets (saliva or mucus) from a sneeze or cough, according to the National Command Council (NCC) on COVID-19. 


Making it easy to inhale the virus or pick it up from surfaces that may be contaminated and transferring it to your face, without first sanitizing or washing your hands. So, while you COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, and is not contracted directly from sex, it can be transmitted through intimate contact. 


From exchanging saliva from a kiss and intimate contact of the face but not directly transmitted genitally. This distinction is important because safe sex in the current state of things does depend on your current relationship status. 

intimacy during pandemic
A couple having coffee in bed
Married or living together 

With an asymptomatic period that the virus presents, there may be no absolute way of knowing if you or your partner may have COVID-19. Maybe you always wear your protective mask but your partner not so much. There may be a risk of exposure and if there is a suspicion, you should not be making any physical contact anyway. You should be practicing the 14-day self-isolation protocol and sleeping in separate bedrooms. 


But whether people are taking this seriously behind closed doors is up in the air, pun intended. 


Trying to have a baby

Being told that you may need to put your plans to start a family on hold, is not ideal. Mark Surrey, MD and associate director at the Southern California Reproductive Center in Beverley Hills, says there is some evidence that suggests vertical transmission (mom-to-baby) during delivery is possible. 


Although it is not completely accurate, the question is whether it is safe to conceive and deliver a baby without risking exposure. While it may not be possible to control procreation, it is, however, not advisable to actively be trying for a baby at this time. 


Single and dating (A.K.A hooking up) 

With the lockdown regulations being downgraded to a Level 3 this month, it does gives singles a bit more flexibility to take those ‘textationships’ to a physical status. If your technically single but you have a ‘sex buddy’ or are hooking up with multiple partners outside of your household, it is risky behavior. For one, it goes against the social distancing protocol. 


Secondly, you don’t know how many sexual partners the other person is engaging in sexual acts with. Or how many people they have come in contact with. For people who are single but on the dating scene, masturbation may be the safest option. 


The same would apply to those in a relationship but not living together. 


What happens to a relationship once you remove sex? Perhaps a topic for another day and certainly one we’ll have to look into. But sex is a big part of relationships and it may not sit well with people, being told to not engage in sexual activity with the people they want to be with. 


If you have been sexually active during the lockdown period or to date, please monitor for symptoms, be responsible with the self-isolation process and inform your respective partner/s if you suspect you may have the virus. 


Stay safe. Practice safe sex. 


Has the pandemic affected your sex life? Share with us @KayaFM95dot9 using the hashtag #KayaOnline


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