Is it me or does it feel like 2020 has lasted a decade? It has left no stone unturned, making sure to tell it like it is (New York style) without sparing any feelings. If you haven’t experienced some form of emotional turmoil this year, consider yourself blessed (or extremely privileged *cough cough*) because it seems like myself, my clients, and almost every person I’ve been in contact with has been through the wringer, tenfold.
If you are reading this now, I encourage you to take a deep breath in (hold it, two…three…four…) and exhale (two.. three…four…). Take a moment to acknowledge all the emotional upheaval, pain, and healing that has occurred this year. You are resilient and powerful and there is an abundance of love knocking at your door.
Now, move your body around and shift your energy as we enter into a more playful space of how to navigate sex and dating during a pandemic.
Safety over everything
First things first! Safety and health above everything! Be sure that you are getting tested regularly for COVID and STI’s. Now is a great time to ask your potential partners the last time they were tested. Navigating this historically uncomfortable conversation is made much easier during COVID (ironically) because we can use COVID as a means of prioritizing health and safety in a relationship. Try this, “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. I’m curious — when was the last time you were tested for COVID? For STI’s? Would you feel comfortable sharing your results with me? The pandemic has really made me aware of how important my health is.”
If a potential partner prioritizes their safety, it is a good indicator they will be safe to practice social distancing dating with. Remember to wear a mask (!!!) and stay at least 6 feet apart from one another. It’s important to be conscious of your health and the health of the people around you. No hanging out or hooking up if you plan on spending time with immunocompromised people and/or people vulnerable to COVID, etc. Trust me, social responsibility is WAY sexier than the alternative.
Make a list of wants and needs
Clarity is everything! I constantly ask my clients what they want and need out of their romantic and sexual relationships. Most of their responses are, “I don’t know,” and that’s totally normal! Understanding our wants and needs makes dating a lot easier and way less confusing.
Needs are “must-haves” in a relationship (ie: physical affection, spending quality time together, etc.). Wants are more flexible, yet still desirable (ie: someone hot and tall that has a nice apartment.)
What are you willing to compromise on? What are non-negotiables? I recommend making a love list as a manifestation practice of calling that special person to you.
Put yourself out there
Maybe it’s time to risk it for the biscuit! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Opening ourselves up to someone new can be pretty scary, but at this point in the year, what isn’t? It could be time to try different dating apps and expand your network! Practice matching with people to become more comfortable with online dating. Create a profile that is authentic, inviting, and shows off your best qualities.
Ask your friends if they know anyone to set you up with or ‘shoot your shot’ by sliding into your crush’s DMs. What have you got to lose?
You could also use this time to explore sexual fantasies with safe partners. Remember not to YUCK anyone’s YUM — keep shaming someone’s kinks out of the bedroom!
Video Dating and Social Distancing are your friends
Video dating and social distancing are great tools for dating. They help introduce intention to the dating sphere and add an extra layer of intimacy. Virtual date is a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone before meeting in real life. Make sure to clean your space and look presentable before getting on the call! Showing up as the best version of yourself shows that you value someone’s time.
If you are going on a social distance date please, please, please wear a mask! It might be a little awkward at first, but if you’ve already spent time getting to know each other over video chatting, it will make for an easier transition meeting in person. Try making a joke about it to break the ice. A little humor can help ease tension. No kissing or touching until you’ve both consented and tested negative for COVID! We’re trying to spread love, not coronavirus.
Vet your prospects
Text, facetime, anything to verify they’re real and worthy of your time. Do you have mutuals? Phone a friend. What language do they use when texting you? Are they kind? How often do they communicate? Do they respect your space if you ask for it? Questions like these can bring awareness to the type of person you are dealing with. Doing your due diligence will save you from heartache, disappointment, and sketchy situations.
Be respectful of new spaces (hearts included).
Each individual has their own unique background. Be conscious of race, gender, sexuality, class, and all the identity intersectionalities between! Creating conscious relationships is key to having successful relationships. CONSENT IS EVERYTHING. Mindful connection (sexually or romantically) creates space for honesty, vulnerability, and trust. It shows a potential partner that we care about and fosters an environment for a long-term relationship to grow.
If it doesn’t make you happy, keep it moving
Breaking up during a pandemic is less than ideal, especially if you live together. First things first, make sure you are in a safe place. If your home is compromised due to your relationship, find a trusted friend or ally in your COVID pod who can put you up.
The pandemic has given people time to reevaluate their relationships and sometimes that means breaking up. If you’re ending a relationship, try to make it as peaceful as possible by honoring the love that was once there. If you’re newly dating someone I recommend checking in with your body — how do you feel after hanging out with this person? Are you drained or do you feel energized? Be mindful of your feelings. Try not to take it personally if you don’t click with someone (to be fair we are collectively going through A LOT right now.) If your person is not your biggest fan, find someone else!
Communicate your wants and needs
In! And! Out! of the bedroom. Mindful communication is essential in forming solid relationships (romantic or sexual.) It is a practice and it takes practice. The approach is everything! It’s important to frame your communication with compassion and love. What might get misconstrued over text? If it’s not possible to have an in-person dialogue due to COVID, FaceTime is an excellent alternative. Remember, wants and needs are subject to change. Know your limits. Be gentle and dynamic with each other, it gets easier the more you do it.
Don’t rush it!
I am grateful the pandemic has slowed down the process of dating. Taking time to get to know someone is rare in a society that thrives on instant gratification. I know it seems like the world is ending, but forcing a year-long relationship into the span of a week over-complicates things and life is stressful enough. Taking time to form a relationship honors dedication and commitment. Be wary of individuals who are using you, whether that’s for your energy (time), space (physical home), or body (sexual transmutation), etc. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Be yourself and have fun
Remember fun? We can still have it! Dating and sex are activities that should bring us excitement, pleasure, and joy. Love is a practice that takes time and dedication to grow. Remember how valuable you are and how lucky these people are to date you! Be fluid and open to adapting. Authenticity is the most attractive quality. You are worthy of love.