As a microbiologist who spends a great deal of time studying viruses and a sex blogger/ erotica writer I often find my intellect at odds with my instincts during this pandemic. I want to go out, socialize, and play with my partner but I know that there is risk involved. I know there is a danger to myself, my family, and society at large if I should fail to break the chain of transmission.
My partner and I are fortunate to live in a part of the world where the virus has not yet spread widely. We're even more fortunate that we're not in a high risk population. If we do get sick it is likely that we'll be miserable for quite a while and then recover. However, we have loved ones that are vulnerable, who very likely could die or develop chronic illness if they become sick before a vaccine is widely available.
So, what to do? How do we respond? We are both "essential employees" so we work from home as much as we can but we do have to go to work most days. It isn't possible for us to completely isolate so every day we balance the risk and reward of sex during a pandemic and do what we can to mitigate against that risk.
Mitigation: We don't go out except to get groceries. At this point we're well stocked but we will continue to restock until the threat to our region is greater. Once that happens we will only venture out for work and eat into our stockpile. Every time we do go out we wash our hands thoroughly before we touch anything in our house. Then, we go back and wash the doorknob we used to get in and then wash our hands one more time. We don't visit our loved ones in person anymore but we do talk to them frequently over the phone. Our entertainment is a combination of netflix, board games, books, and exercise. For a family that is accustomed to being busy, and is rarely home, this has been a huge adjustment for us.
Risk-Reward: My sexuality is an important part of my personality and an important component of my relationship with my partner. I think, given our situation, it's important to recognize we could infect each other. However, I think it's unlikely that abstaining from sex would change our odds of transmission much. We live in the same house and interact with a lot of the same stuff each day. Even the keyboard I'm typing this on is shared and it's almost as likely I'll get sick from writing as from having sex. So, we haven't put any intimacy on hold at our house. With little change to the risk side of the equation we happily pursue the reward.
What happens for those in a different situation? If only one of you has to venture out to work your risk level is probably about half of mine and I'd approach that situation the same as my own.
What if you're single? Masturbation is a great way to relieve stress. Now is a great time to make it more sensual. Take your time. Light those candles. Put yourself in the mood. Pay attention to all of those exquisite sensations. Order a new toy online and experiment with it. Try a new kind of porn! Erotica? Audio? Need something a little more intimate? Connect with other singles online. Build the tension between you so your both raring to go once you're done
sheltering in place. If you're comfortable with one another, and you feel like it's safe, Skype works great for more than just business meetings... Of course, there are a lot of other platforms available should you feel inclined.
But what if you're partnered and both, or all of you are able to completely isolate together? In that case, I think a yummy abstinence period should be arranged. Ideally, following guidance from the CDC for low risk health care workers, your self-monitoring "quarantine" should last two weeks but you and your partner will have to decide if you can keep your hands off of one another for that long. A recent study indicates that most people become symptomatic after five days. If you're not at high risk should you become infected perhaps five days is a more reasonable abstinence period. You'll have to evaluate the risks together and clean obsessively during this time if you want to have the best chance at preventing any illness. I have to admit, I'm not a great janitor. We take precautions to keep the virus from getting into our house but we haven't much chance of preventing transmission if one of us gets sick and brings it in.
What should you do while you are abstaining? Tease each other of course! Have you always had a naughty fantasy? Now is the time to confess! Know how to push your partner's buttons? Tell them all the naughty, things you're going to do to them when your isolation period is over. Make lists of scenarios to act out once you can. Write up a sex menu and place it bedside. Then, when your "quarantine" is up, take turns "serving" each other your "orders". Always wanted to try anal but haven't had the time or patience to do it right? Now might be a good time to ease into it...For the moment you have a ton of time on your hands. It's a great opportunity to play with each other, enhance your intimacy, and relieve some stress with some great sex! Just do everything you can to stay safe and help flatten that curve.