We’re in unprecedented times, meaning our desire for human contact is largely unfulfilled – apart from by those we live with. Regardless of the relationship stage, if you’re quarantining with a partner, one thing is certain: this is a new territory. Being cooped up together poses obvious anxieties, but it also promises richer communication – and better sex. Use this time to discover new-found passions.
We all get wrapped up in the everyday, so see quarantine as a chance to explore your feelings and see where it can take your relationship. Whatever your situation, social distancing from the rest of the world means focusing on connecting with the person in front of you.
1. Be kind
It’s no secret that anxiety could affect our libido. We’re all experiencing it. So, in a global pandemic where tensions are high, it’s perfectly normal if you’re not in the mood. Our advice: start small. By beginning with little displays of warmth, we open ourselves up to exploring each other in the bedroom. Set aside time to spend together by taking up the hobby you’ve always talked about or tuning into an online course. Kindness has been linked to marriage satisfaction, and while not all relationships end in ‘I do’, it does stress the significance of affection. Treat your other half to breakfast in bed (have kids? Try a bedroom picnic dinner after they’ve gone to bed) or write them cute notes and leave them around the house… And, when we feel appreciated, it’s likely that our libido will increase. Good sex starts with respect, so look after your partner and let yourself be looked after – trust us, you’ll feel the benefits*.
2. Couples with kids – create calendars
Quarantine makes the need for structure and routine vital – we all want to maintain a sense of normality. And for those of us with kids, juggling home-schooling with our other responsibilities is likely a learning curve. Creating structured calendars that compartmentalise family time, alone time, and adult time ensures that we enjoy these elements of our life equally. Give yourself and your partner the opportunity to make the most of these moments. Perhaps you have days that are dedicated to family activities; perhaps you allocate a few hours when one parent is around for the kids, leaving the other to focus on work. Of course, dating should be as much a part of this calendar as everything else. So, when Friday night comes around, treat the kids to a movie night and treat your loved one to a well-deserved date night.
3. Set work boundaries to build anticipation
If you have enough space to work separately, create distance during the day. Treat it as a typical working week. Couples with children, make sure you’re both agreed on who has the kids when. It can be easy to break this routine but try to maintain some separation – it’ll make your romantic moments all the more explosive. Sexual anticipation isn’t something reserved for first-time daters, we’re all entitled to that excitement so it’s important we allow ourselves that privilege. Start by setting aside key date nights. Watch movies, cook together, or go for a walk together; whatever is it, turn your phones off and focus on spending quality time with your loved one.
4. Learn the art of massage
Global lockdown has changed our pace, which means you can flirt without distraction. While you’ve got it, invest time in developing a skill that benefits your lover. Massage not only improves wellbeing, but it’s tactile and sensual. The advantage of quarantine is that we can take things at our own pace, so don’t worry if you’re not a guru to begin with, be patient and kind to yourself – you’ll soon start to see the improvements.
Sometimes, we all struggle to voice our inner thoughts and feelings, so use the exercise to concentrate on touch; it’s a way to communicate with your partner without needing words. Take care to caress them and listen to the way their body responds; calming music, candles, massage oils and soft textures are great ways to set the mood.
5. Write down your emotional needs
We hear you, finding time for sensuality amidst isolation monotony is easier said than done. Living together means you’re probably in 24/7 contact, making boundaries all the more necessary – it’s easy to let lines become blurred. Most importantly, sexual openness starts with all parties feeling safe, so providing the right setting is crucial to successfully exploring one another’s fantasies. Talk to your significant other and make a list of your emotional needs. Perhaps they need more alone time; perhaps you need affection. Keep these lines of communication open to accommodate both parties.
6. Voice your sexual desires
Savour that slow seduction, because isolating isn’t just about increasing the sex you’re already having, it’s about exploring the sex you want to have. This begins with knowing yourself. Talk to your lover about what gives you that post-coital glow. If this feels daunting, write them a letter explaining your hidden kinks – this may help you to deal with the embarrassment of expressing them face-to-face. Remember that this is about exploring your own body, as well as your partner’s.
For long-term couples or those who have kids, make the most of quarantine by exploring another sexual side to your relationship. We’re in unprecedented times, which means our normal routines have gone out of the window. Use this as an opportunity to play out other characters and discover your desires. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a cock ring or a specific type of lube? Talk to your partner about ways to spice things up – now is the time to do it (just make sure the kids’ lights are out!).
7. Don’t see sex as purely penetrative
Intercourse is not a precursor for orgasm – there are plenty of other ways to get your heart racing. Try not to succumb to society’s notion of what a sexual experience should be, it’s about connecting with your partner, even if that doesn’t end in orgasm. Firstly, it’s important to remember that foreplay is different for everyone, so work with your other half to deduce what gets you both going. And don’t be too hard on yourself if what you’re doing isn’t working. Quarantine gives us time to experiment, so stick with it!
8. Explore the joys of foreplay
Whether you’re married or one-month in, foreplay lowers inhibitions, increases pleasure and results in greater intimacy, even if penetrative sex isn’t the end game. Kissing can help reduce stress, which means if you’re consumed by newsfeeds and headlines, begin with a long, slow embrace. Food is an interesting way to mix things up, so why not suggest licking chocolate off one another or experiment with colder foods, such as ice cubes. If food isn’t your thing, you could try using a flavoured lube instead. And sensory play, such as blindfolding your partner (ties and soft t-shirts work just as well), forces you to single out certain senses, heightening your state of arousal.
9. Move onto oral
Then, there’s oral sex. First things first, always ensure appropriate safety measures, such as condoms or dental dams. Everyone likes different things, and every giver has different techniques, so work together to achieve an orgasm. It’s important to communicate – tell them what’s working for you, and what isn’t hitting the mark. Suggest your partner try a few different things, but only if they’re comfortable – it’s about both of you getting pleasure.
10. You both deserve an orgasm
Edging – bringing yourself or your partner to the point of orgasm and back again – can result in an explosive climax. Oral sex is a great way to test this out, as long as you both keep the lines of communication open. Firstly, decide what you like, then work with your partner to bring you to the edge of orgasm and do this repeatedly until you’re ready to let it happen.
11. Take a shower together
Encourage some skin-on-skin contact by taking a shower together. This is a great way to turn the mundane into passionate foreplay, without requiring any extra prep. Start by washing each other slowly and sensually, building up to whatever feels good. If you’re lucky enough to have a bath too, test out both to see which you prefer… it might mean choosing based on the kind of sexual experience you want to have.
12. Explore every inch of your house
Since global lockdown means that the outside is off-limits, it’s time to explore every inch of your home. Surprise your partner by suggesting sex in spaces other than your bedroom. Start with something predictable, such as the bathroom, then move onto more daring areas like the kitchen. Some experts suggest that dedicating a room to sexual activity increases our chance for arousal because it continuously works on our anticipation. Of course, if you’re a couple with kids, or roommates, having a dedicated sex room isn’t practical – or possible. In this case, make sure your bedroom doubles as an intimate sex room. And there’s a difference. Having luxurious textures, nice lighting and sex toys to hand transforms the space into something more sensual, so that when you’re in the mood, you can forget the news and concentrate on the physical.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship, going at your own pace is the most important thing. Feel comfortable and build up to the things you want to try. Communication is the foundation of a good sex life, so keep these lines open. We must not forget that consent applies to every relationship. And, though we are in uncertain circumstances, we do have an opportunity to grab onto, so let’s concentrate on the things we can do to make the most of it… like, explore our sexual selves, and our partners.
If any of you are displaying symptoms, even if they are mild, you should social distance and follow local/government guidelines, related to activity inside and outside the home, relevant for you. Please contact your local health care practitioner for further questions or medical advice.