How To Save Your Sex Life During Lockdown (And Avoid Forced Self-Isolation)
If you’re locked down with a lover, then perhaps you've breathed a sigh of relief that at least you’re quarantined with someone you lust after. So much time to tick off everything on your 'fuckit list' now that every weekend is like a dirty weekend. You can buy yourselves a sex swing! Start a lockdown sex blog!
But while I’d definitely recommend these things if you fancy them, sexual novelty can wear off quickly, especially when you can only escape your partner in carnal experimentation for one government-mandated walk per day. Perhaps, when we eventually get let out, we’ll want to apply our new-found social distancing skills in getting a long way from the person we love right now. Certain areas in China have reported a spike in divorce rates after quarantine periods, and lawyers here in the UK are warning we might see the same. So what can you do to temper this? How do you keep the love and lust alive when you’re trapped together for weeks on end? These are my rules.
"In any emergency you need to put on your own mask before helping others"
Give yourselves space
If you’re lucky enough to have space, carve out a little bit each to call your own. It could be the spare room, the study, the shed, the cellar; somewhere that’s just for you, where you can disappear to breathe, read, chill or masturbate. I’m serious. It sounds weird to begin an article about togetherness with advice about being apart, but time on your own is as important for your mental health as companionship, and in any emergency you need to put on your own mask before helping others. Look after yourself and give your partner the room to do the same.
At the time of writing, it’s still OK to go out for exercise. Do it alone. It's a chance not just for you to escape your home, but also to give your partner a break from you. You could also instigate occasional solo days: ‘I’ll take upstairs, you take downstairs’. If you live in a small flat and can’t physically separate, why not mark one evening as ‘headphones and solitude’ time? Absence still makes the heart grow fonder, even if that ‘absence’ is just watching different films on Netflix.
Embrace the weird
Nothing is normal right now. But on the up side that means everything is normal, if you decide it should be. Want to clean the house naked? Go for it. Fancy getting your wedding clothes out of storage for an extremely fancy date night? Why not. This is the time to try that Danaerys/Dragon role play scenario that you’ve both been nurturing since you first watched Game of Thrones.
If nothing springs to mind, try this: take it in turns to set a timer to go off at random intervals each day, and when the timer goes off, you both have to drop what you’re doing, find each other, and get off (if you're mid-Zoom call, blame your wireless connection).
Right now, many of us are worried about the onset of boredom, and although we’re lucky if boredom is the worst we experience during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still important to keep ourselves entertained. Embracing weird ideas—in sex, and life, and everywhere—is a great way to stave off ennui.
Give yourselves projects
This weekend I used a silicone moulding kit to make a perfect replica of my boyfriend’s penis. It gave us a joint project to do together, and in the process we’ve made a sex toy that we’ll have a lot of fun experimenting with over the coming weeks (being penetrated by two identical dicks? Sign me up!). Some might challenge themselves to use the isolation period to write novels or learn a new language, and those are admirable if insufferably tedious goals. But why not use yours to perfect your dirty talk? Or make a home porn movie and upload it to MakeLoveNotPorn?
"Everyone has different ways of showing love and their own preferences for how they’d like to receive it"
If you were planning to finally put up those shelves, put your power drill to good use and repurpose that old coffee table as a spanking bench, or screw handcuff-ready brackets to your bedposts. Perhaps you decide that you’ll dedicate an hour each week to improving your oral skills, or learning to make someone squirt. Maybe an hour of naked yoga each night is what will keep you both feeling sane, or a ‘sexercise’ routine where you work your way through a bunch of positions you haven’t tried yet.
The only rule here is that you have to do it safely: no one wants to be rushed to A&E after a sex accident at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a health crisis. Leave anything involving fire or other health-risking frivolities for when all this has blown over.
Learn each other’s love language
Everyone has different ways of showing love, and their own preferences for how they’d like to receive it: physical affection (sex during lunch breaks, for instance), words of affirmation (regular reminders that your partner looks hot naked), quality time (like the aforementioned naked date nights), acts of service (taking on your partner’s share of the chores so they have time for a bath before bedtime) and gifts (like ordering nice underwear online so they can get out of the sweats they’ve lived in since lockdown began).
If you don’t already know your love language (or your partner’s), take the quiz which helps you work it out. It’s so cheesy you might have to drink your way through it, but since we were told to complete it by a relationship counsellor, my partner and I find it easier to communicate. This isn’t just helpful in the bedroom, but in every other room too: learning your partner’s love language can help you avoid those silly arguments that get in the way of connection.
Keeping the spark alive while you’re stuck together is less about ticking every single thing off your bucket list than it is about keeping your comms in good shape. Talk about how you feel, and give your partner space to express their feelings too: bored, horny, anxious, frustrated, delirious, lonely, and every other conceivable human emotion thrown up by these weird times. Remind each other that it’s OK to feel frightened. It’s OK to need a break. Take pleasure and joy in the sexy things you have time to do together now, but don’t feel like you should perform as if you’re on honeymoon 24/7. Sometimes, for things to get easier, we have to first acknowledge that they’re hard.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.