How COVID-19 affected our relationships and sex life
Moments of crisis provide opportunities to introduce a new perspective. This is what we have learned to do in the last few months. We have changed the way we live, how we work, how we move, and how we interact with each other.
We have been forced even to change the way we approach relationships during COVID-19, whether they are with loved ones or strangers. The fear of infecting or being infected has somehow held back the natural and spontaneous growth of interpersonal relationships, especially romantic ones.
We had to redesign our borders during the isolation, often leaving someone outside or trapping someone inside. The lockdown phase has strain some romantic relationships but made many others flourish, despite the absurd circumstances.
So, has the pandemic changed the way we seek and experience love?
COVID-19 and social distancing have dramatically altered the landscape of dating, love and sex. The pandemic has somehow created a paradox when it comes to relationships. We are scared of close contact with other people but we long for a reassuring physical touch to feel safe and sound in a world full of chaos.
Indeed, the isolation challenged couples in so many different ways. New couples had to stop dating. Couples in long-distance relationships during COVID-19 had to find new ways to stay connected. Couples who experienced a break-up and found themselves without a support network, faced their new reality all alone.
B. is 37 years old, he built his life in Germany but he is in love with a girl living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to immigration regulations, they haven’t seen each other for almost a year:
For both of us, the long-distance relationship is difficult, but we have such a great will to be together so we can face it. The worst part is not knowing when we can see each other again. I cannot make any plans to travel because the situation changes so quickly and is so unstable.
But B. explains that every cloud has a silver lining:
During all this time we’ve been separated, solving problems was one of the main challenges. It forced us to talk to each other in a heartfelt and frank way because we couldn’t clarify things in person. It allowed us to open up with each other and learn to listen.
During the isolation, people were unable to leave the house and could not meet or interact, except for necessary circumstances and, in any case, for a short time. Therefore, relationships during COVID-19, and searching for a soul mate, or even just a soul to spend some time with and share memorable moments was practically impossible.
People used online dating to fill the gap: Dating.com reported that global online dating was up 82% during early March. Tinder, Meetic, Bumble turned into the perfect getaway from the reality of isolation because they allowed people to get to know each other without violating any anti-COVID rules.
Were they the miraculous solution that everyone expected?
Probably not. R. is 25 years old and she downloaded Tinder for the first time right before the pandemic turned the world upside down.
I used Tinder before the lockdown began, but I’ve never met anyone in person. As I continued to chat a bit during the lockdown with someone, it wasn’t easy to keep the conversation alive. The conversation was boring because we weren’t doing anything new since we were in quarantine. Moreover, there was no will to keep chatting since we couldn’t meet in person.
Even if we could date someone as we did before, things would probably never be the same again. First of all, we must redefine the idea of consent. Communication is essential to allow everyone to feel comfortable and mark their limits. Before, a hug or a kiss could arouse passion and excitement. Now, we must reconsider these gestures and program them in advance.
Are we considering our safety and that of the other person when we decide to close the gap?
Now if I agree to have a date with someone, I consider more what I know about his/her lifestyle and sense of civic duty. I also take the risks of infecting and being infected into consideration while thinking about consent.
As we are approaching a second lockdown, many do not want to find themselves alone again. And it concerns everyone. From those who analyze factors and make lists of pros and cons to minimize the risks to those who embark on love affairs without caring much about the consequences.
So the pandemic has irremediably changed many things. From the global mechanisms that govern the world to the smallest ones around which ours revolves.
Of course there will be new difficulties, new infatuations, and break-ups. But if we try to welcome every opportunity that comes our way with open arms and focus on what we have instead of what we don’t, everything will be fine.