- The landscape of dating and sex has been changed for many people in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Social distancing measures make typical dinner dates and bar meetups impossible.
- Some people are also having to navigate living and spending prolonged periods of time with their partners for the first time as city-wide lockdowns go into effect.
- Insider compiled a guide to sex, love, and dating during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
The landscape of dating, love, and sex as many of us know it has been dramatically altered by the coronavirus pandemic and the need to maintain physical distance from others.
Even singles who have shunned dating apps in the past are now forced to look online to meet people, unable to rely on conversations with strangers in crowded bars. In-person first dates out have turned into FaceTime sessions as restaurants, bars, and concert venues shutter.
Insider has put together a guide to approaching dating, sex, and love during the coronavirus pandemic — from navigating your existing relationships to developing new ones.
Consider quarantining with your partner — but only if you have good communication habits.
Many couples are having to grapple with the question of whether to temporarily move in together during a self-quarantine.
This is a hard decision, especially if you haven't spent long periods of time together before.
A general rule of thumb is if you have poor communication with your partner or can't be entirely honest about your feelings with them, it's better to quarantine separately.
"As is always true in healthy relationships and making decisions, communication is key," Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown, a New York City-based relationship therapist, told Insider. "It may sound exciting and fun at first, but it's important to communicate about the fun and the not-so-fun parts of, essentially, living together."
Early on in a relationship, you may not yet be equipped to handle the strain of a high-pressure situation like a quarantine. If that's the case, you can stay in touch virtually.
"This is a crisis in the US and the world that is leading to heightened anxiety along with other strong emotions," Robinson-Brown said. "If individuals are not equipped to have difficult conversations or hold space for each other's emotions, it will be quite difficult to quarantine together."
You and your partner can be sexually intimate if neither of you has symptoms.
If you do decide to quarantine with your significant other (or others), the question of whether it's safe to be sexually intimate may come up.
Experts say it's generally safe if you and your partner want to have sex during the coronavirus pandemic — but only if neither of you has symptoms.
"I think the biggest thing is if you're sick, avoid other people, and that's just a general rule of thumb," infectious disease expert Dr. Saskia Popescu previously told Insider.
There's currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be sexually transmitted. If you and your partner are healthy and regularly washing your hands and disinfecting your house while practicing social distancing, you should be ok to have sex.
Phone sex can be a great alternative to meeting up with people.
If you're worried about whether your partner or a potential hook up has been exposed to coronavirus and you'd rather play it say, you can always opt for phone sex.
Calling partners or dates and having phone sex can be a great way to explore your desires while also staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus.
"Phone sex is a good time to actually talk to your partners about what they want sexually or what they fantasize about," phone sex operator Stephanie Cathcart told Refinery29.
If you're more of a visual person, video sex over FaceTime or Zoom is also an option.
FaceTime dates and Zoom meetups are useful tools to get to know people in lieu of cocktails or dinner.
Singles may have to re-think the way they date without being able to meet in person, and Insider's Julia Naftulin reported people are already turning to FaceTime dates and other alternatives to meet potential romantic interests.
While unconventional for those of us accustomed to in-person first dates in bars or restaurants, meeting people online on dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Lex could still help establish more of a connection with someone before scheduling a video date.
For polyamorous or non-monogamous people living with one partner but not with others, setting boundaries about how you spend time together is important.
Dating during the coronavirus pandemic is especially difficult if you have multiple partners to care for.
Rachel Wright, a New York City-based relationship expert who is polyamorous, previously told she is changing the way she dates to stop the spread of the coronavirus and has noticed concerns from her non-monogamous clients about how social distancing will impact their love lives.
"It's no question that social distancing and polyamory are very challenging to pair together," Wright told Insider. "Setting up in person first dates are on-hold for me because I'm committed to stopping the spread of this and doing whatever I can to help."
Another potential issue is figuring out what to do if you live with one partner and not with another.
"One of the biggest challenges in all of this is having multiple partners but being in quarantine with one of them," Wright said. "It's new territory to maintain these relationships without any physical contact and while in the same apartment and living space, constantly, as the partner you live with."
Wright said establishing boundaries with the partner you live with is important in order to stave off jealousy. Be clear about what time and days you want to chat with your other partner or partners who don't live with you.
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