That’s all bad news for getting frisky. “On the basis of existing data, it appears all forms of in-person sexual contact carry risk for viral transmission,” says an article published in Annals of Internal Medicine in May, by Turban, with Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, M.D., and Kenneth H. Mayer, M.D.
What do you do when even “safe” sex becomes, to some degree, a public health risk? Maybe you’re perfectly content with making a bonanza of banana bread and flirtily sending petitions to your crush. For everyone else, it’s been an opportunity to experience what has been uncannily named skin hunger.
For Sherri, a single mom with serious underlying conditions, putting in-person dating on hold feels like the safest option. When the pandemic started, she had been in a long-term relationship, but when she put off meeting up in person, her partner got frustrated with her. “He wasn’t taking the pandemic seriously and wasn’t being cautious and was arguing about it, while uncles and aunts of friends of mine in the U.S. were dying,” she says. “At first I was thinking I’d wait until a vaccine comes out, but now some people are saying that may take years, or there may never be a vaccine.”
Nothing about the situation is easy to predict. “I guess I’ll see what happens,” she says.
For Nina*, who has seen no one but her roommate since she started sheltering in place in mid-March, getting off without getting other people sick has been easy. She met Drew* on Tinder, after having a series of conversations with other men that had gone nowhere. “I was high on an edible one night, and I started asking one of my matches these all-caps random questions,” she says. “We started bantering and ended up talking the entire night.” They clicked easily and started having marathon phone calls, which quickly turned dirty. “This has lifted my mood dramatically,” she says. “We’re gonna have sex when this is over.”
For the rest of us, this truly should be the golden age of masturbation. Polly Rodriguez, CEO and cofounder of Unbound, a woman-owned and -operated online sex shop, told Glamour that between March 15 and June 1 of this year, total sales are up 60%, sales of vibrators are up 80%, and stimulating lubricant purchases are up 400%.
But even with round-the-clock masturbation, won’t yet another sexless season have some effect on our bodies and minds? Will we become focused enough to clap for 50 hours or somersault for 12 miles, like Guinness World Records legend Ashrita Furman? Or will I just continue to have my “sex” dream about gently kissing a shirtless man on the collar bone?