Alright. So, you are in isolation. You may be single, or you may be in a relationship, but your partner is not physically there with you. Can you date? Can you have sex, how do you have sex…online? Yes, yes, yes, but how?
You have heard about it, maybe even done it: virtual dating and now… virtual sex. Covid-19 has certainly raised awareness and acceptance on working and studying from home. To me it seems we may have been able to replace “being busy” with “being productive”. Offices have for years been the epicentre of seeming “busy,” therein confusing being busy with being productive. Now it may be time to also look at virtual sex and online, long distance relationships. Maybe we now can also start to redesign sexuality so that it is better and more accessible for everybody?
Sex education has for as long as I can remember been focused on either a) safety or b) reproduction, and certainly not pleasure. I can understand that, but pleasure needs an “upgrade”. Yes, staying safe is most important, also for virtual sex and internet dating. You need to be safe and anything you do, also online, must be consensual. Reproduction? Yes, I love science more than the next man, but where does taboo about pleasure come from and why is it most difficult to talk about sex with the person you may happen to have sex with – or the person you are thinking of having sex with? I think it is decades of “shaming” and fear of judgement.
Much of the “shaming” around sex come from your parents or relatives. If for some reason “sex” came up, likelihood is that you were “hushed” and told to be quiet. If a young child touches themselves, they are immediately told to “stop it” – and I can understand why – we need to learn how to act in public. Again, it is discipline. But since we don’t talk about it, “sex is shame from the get go”. If sex is “shame” and sex education mainly is “staying safe” and learning about the “reproductive aspects”, then where do we learn about sensuality and pleasure?
We start to learn from television and Hollywood films, or via online porn. These visualisations are not the reality, there gap between online representations and everyday sex life is too big. I am not against Hollywood and neither pornography; I like parts of it – it arouses me – the way it was intended to do. In my mind, the real problem is that there is too much judgement here and therefore too little communication – as I have learned now: communication is lubrication. We fear getting judged and get shy, stop communicating about what for example is arousing us. And, yes pornography can be a tool to explore borders and sexuality, but I would not say it should be a place to start.
The place to start most certainly is to explore your own body. Get to know your own body, your skin, your senses, everything. It is not about getting to an orgasm at all, it is about feeling what is good and what is not good. It is important for you to find a way to self-pleasure, explore that. If you do not know your body, how would you expect your partner to know it? What you like may not be what another person likes. There is no “normal” in sex, within what is legal of course (age, consent and more). But within what is legal, it is not about “normal” – it is about what is normal for you. I read that more women than men do not know how to self-pleasure and may not have had an orgasm. I am sure there are female readers now that have had earlier and more frequent orgasms than any men they ever knew. That is great but it seems not to be the norm.
Most research point to that it is more difficult, and more shame involved in female self-pleasure and orgasms. And that is NOT only a “woman issue”. That is also very much a “man issue”. If women can know their body well, it will inevitably lead to a better sex life also for the man. So, men: make sure to help your woman understand what they like and what is “normal” for them. Same for women, obviously.
So, phase one, alone or in a relationship is to explore your body, then each other’s bodies – different places (yes, both different places on the body and in your apartment). Educate yourself also by studying and reading about sex. If you are in a relationship, I would encourage you to explore your ideas about sex together, develop a language to talk about sex together. Why should that be so difficult. Make it normal, the “new” normal.
If you have that “language” then you can deal with your sex life and your bodies as things also start to change. Because, whether you are alone or in a relationship, sex can become a routine and you do not want to stay in a state of routine. Also, you get older. I have. So, change things up, try new things. Take a look at erotic content, either from TV, Hollywood, or online porn if that could help inspire you to keep things exciting and explorative. I hereby give you permission: it is normal and will be good and healthy.
During isolation, what a better time to explore your body and find some inspiration? Explore your own body, virtually, online, alone or in good, consenting company. No judgement, no fear.