How to Have Healthy Sexual Expression During Covid

         The previous article defined healthy sexual expression as engaging in activities that align with a person’s boundaries, which promotes comfort and self-satisfaction.  The previous article also listed three ways to determine one’s sexual expression: creating a list of one’s sexual actions, viewing those actions as though they were a friend’s, and reflecting on the feelings connected with the sexual actions.  However, now that you have an understanding of how to define and determine healthy sexual expression, how can you have healthy sexual expression during Covid-19?  If you are seeking a new sexual partner during this global pandemic, here are some things that you can do.

  • Determine the social distancing structure that you’re comfortable with
    • Is the sexual partner allowed to interact with other people (e.g., roommates, family members, people at work)?
    • Do you need the person to self-quarantine for 2 weeks before seeing them in person?
  • Collect the information that you personally need
    • Does the person need to have a covid test before you have sex with them?
    • Is it important to know the person’s recent health history?
    • Do you want to know how seriously the person takes the global pandemic?

Once again, healthy sexual expression is engaging in the behaviors that make you feel comfortable.  Reflect on what your boundaries are during this pandemic, and uphold them with any new sexual partners.  However, there are also things that you can do if you want to completely self-quarantine.  Take a moment to reflect on what brings you joy, as well as what fuels your sexual desire.  To meet that end, here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Which sexual activities have consistently added to my arousal?
  • What haven’t I tried that I’ve been meaning to?
  • If I’m self-quarantining, what would be a great sexual gift or surprise from my partner? 
  • What did I like to do during long-distance relationships?
  • What helps eliminate my sexual boredom?

After you have answered those questions, reflect on what you came up with.  Take some time to figure how to apply your answers to your long-distance, sexual life.  Here are some examples on how to express yourself from a distance.

  • Send sexy text messages
  • Plan online sex dates
  • Read erotica to your partner
  • Send your partner pornography that you like
  • Engage in phone sex
  • Make a sexy video for your partner
  • Send sexy pictures
  • Co-create an erotica with your partner

 To be clear, these are simply examples.  Do what’s most satisfying for you.  Additionally, though you are expressing your sexuality from afar,  it’s still important to be aware of your boundaries.  Remember, healthy sexual expression is respectful to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.  Dismissing your boundaries runs counter to that.  Here are some things to consider when trying to sexually express yourself from long distance.

 

  • Your boundaries with your nudity.
  • Your boundaries with others’ nudity.
  • Your comfort with various forms of media (e.g., webcam, phone, text)
  • Your preferred level of privacy

 

Respecting your boundaries is absolutely essential for a healthy sexual expression, especially in regards to distant, partnered sex.  For instance, if you’re not comfortable sending a nude image of yourself, don’t send a nude image.  Only do what you are comfortable with, no one else.  After you’ve taken time to recognize your boundaries, respect them. 

 

Healthy Solo Sex

         A common misconception is that sex requires another person.  Though sex can include two or multiple people, solo sex also exists.  Essentially, solo sex is the sexual expression that occurs on an individual level.  Sometimes, it can be easier to have sexual satisfaction and exploration when alone.  If you’re forced to stay alone due to Covid-19, here are some ways to have healthy solo sex.

         Of course, masturbation is a way to sexually express yourself when alone.  Once again, some people have held the narrative that sexual expression of any kind requires another person.  If you fall into that camp, now is an opportunity to challenge that notion.  Take time to figure out what you really like, what really brings you sexual joy.  Reflect on how you typically masturbate, and try to change it up a little bit.  You could experiment on where you touch yourself, as well as how.  Similarly, use this alone time to experiment with sex toys.  Several vibrators, dildos, sleeves (e.g., Fleshlight), and other devices now exist.  If you have never used a sex toy before, this stay-at-home order is a good time to start.  Conversely, if you have used sex toys in the past, use this opportunity to discover a new one. 

         Not only can you use masturbation as a way to have healthy solo sex, but also pornography.  This could take the form of erotica, magazines, audio, and Internet videos.  Pornography spans multiple media, as well as genres.  Therefore, if Covid-19 is forcing you to stay at home, you can use pornography as a way to explore sexual interests and curiosities.  For instance, you could see if you would be interested in shibari (i.e., Japanese rope tying), or play parties (i.e., group sexual events).  You can explore any of your interests from the safety of your home.  However, you do have to be careful with pornography.

         Similar to alcohol, some people are able to experience it with little to no issues.  However, there are still some who have very serious issues with drinking.  The same goes for pornography.  Some people can have an unhealthy, adverse relationship with it.  Because of this, it’s important to reflect on how porn is affecting your mental, emotional, and physical health.  Use these assessment tools for guidance.  Concentrate on the facts, imagine your friend in your situation, and focus on the feelings that come up before, during, and after the sexual activity.  

 

         The current pandemic has made various parts of life difficult for many people.  One aspect is sexual expression.  However, it’s possible to still have a healthy sexual expression during Covid-19.  Planning online sex dates, creating erotica, and buying yourself new sex toys are all examples.  However, whether you’re expressing your sexuality alone or with another person, adhering to your boundaries is key to your sexual health.  If you believe that your relationship with sex, masturbation, or pornography may be unhealthy, reframe from the above suggestions and get yourself help.  During these trying times, the Center for Growth is offering flexible, online therapy sessions.  Schedule an appointment today at www.therapyinphiladelphia.com.