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My boyfriend and I haven’t had sex since…I want to say sometime in the first few days of March. We certainly haven’t done it since understanding the gravity of the COVID-19 situation. I think I remember the last night we had scheduled sex—and, yes, we schedule, we’ve been together a long time—we went to the grocery store and were astounded by how many people were there, hoarding supplies. The employees were wearing masks and gloves. A woman pulled up to us in the parking lot and asked, “Is there any food left inside?” We had just gone to get a few ingredients for our favorite pasta dish. We were going to have a quiet and romantic night at home (aka smash). But after leaving the eerie scene at the market, nobody was in the mood. In fact, after thinking it over, we packed our bags and left for my partner’s family’s home in another state, where there are fewer people. At 10pm, instead of having sex (as planned), we were driving down a dark highway with a car full of food, our dog, and a lot of nervous energy.

 

So that was it. We said goodbye to sex about a month ago, for now. Even though I know there are health benefits of having an orgasm, and we can all use all the health boosts we can get right now, we really just haven’t been in the mood. I see memes and social media posts about all the sex people are having during quarantine because there is, “Nothing else to do.” But I can’t even fathom it right now. For me, sex is something I do during good times. And I don’t think anyone would describe the world as experiencing good times right now. Here is why it feels wrong to have sex during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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It’s aggressive germ swapping

When the concept of social distancing so thickly surrounds us—it’s all I can think about—and I’m being extra conscious of not using my partner’s towel and making sure I wash my hands before cooking him anything, having sex seems backwards. That’s the most aggressive germ swapping of all! The reality is, I need to pick a lane: we should either go for it, have sex and all, or not touch each other until this is over. We’ve been in the middle, cuddling and kissing. So it’s kind of pointless.

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I don’t want an apocalypse baby

Even though we have birth control, the very thought of this being the time when my birth control fails and my getting pregnant gives me nightmares. I’m serious. I have been having nightmares about having a baby during this. I do not want to go into a medical facility, where there could be infected individuals, to see an OBGYN let alone give birth during this, and then worry about feeding and clothing a baby during this time.

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Or even a pregnancy scare

I don’t even want a pregnancy scare right now. I think my heart couldn’t take it. I’m already on high alert for problems during this pandemic. And I’m trying to limit how often I go into the store, so I don’t want to make an extra trip to get a pregnancy test, and then somehow get infected.

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We’re in close quarters

As I mentioned, we fled the big city in which we live to be with family. I know a lot of people did. That means that we are under the same roof as my partner’s family. And having sex with them in the house feels weird. What if they hear the bed creaking? What if someone comes in the room to get something?

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We’re sleeping on twin beds

Oh, did I mention we’re sleeping on twin beds? Yup. Like a couple of best friends having a slumber party. Like a couple of sorority girls sharing a dorm room. I mean, you just can’t get much done on a twin bed. We tried it once before—when we were visiting this very house during happier times—and it was a disaster. People got hurt.

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Hoarding birth control

I have this odd tendency to want to hoard things right now—to refuse to use something I’d like to use today, for fear that I’ll need to use it later, and the world will have collapsed, and I won’t be able to find anymore. So I guess I’ve been feeling that way about birth control, and haven’t wanted to…waste it?

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Honestly, I’m not shaving

I haven’t shaved a damn thing since this started. I think my legs have actually become so hairy that that hair is providing me warmth. And my va-jay-jay? Oh we’ve gone fully Amazonian down there. I just don’t have it in me to do much about it.

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And I’m not feeling pretty

I haven’t been feeling particularly attractive during this. Quite frankly, my appearance is starting to depress me, but I’m also not going to straighten my hair and contour my face during a pandemic. It feels vain in every sense of the word. I look at the makeup I packed and laugh—what was I thinking bringing that? But, anyways, I haven’t felt attractive so, it’s hard for me to feel in the mood.

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So much focus on our bodies

I’m thinking about my body in a way I never have before. I’m just imaging this virus taking over it, grabbing onto each one of my cells. I’m hyper aware of anything that could be a symptom. When you’re thinking about your body like that, it’s hard to think of it in a sexual way.

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People are suffering

People are dying. People are fighting for their lives. People are losing loved ones and not even able to attend the funeral. People have lost their jobs and are worried how they’ll keep food on the table. It would honestly feel so tone-deaf to just be over here doing it like a couple of teenagers when people are really struggling out there.

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We aren’t fully connecting

I need to feel emotionally connected to my partner to want to have sex, and I haven’t felt emotionally connected to anyone right now. I think I’ve had to turn off my emotions—to go numb—because everything I was feeling was just too much to handle. I can’t process every emotion that comes my way when I hear what’s happening in the world right now so I just…shut off. And so, I can’t connect with my partner.

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It’s hard to relax

My body feels tense at all hours. I’m just running all of these survival scenarios through my head. I’m replaying the horrors I saw on the news. I’m questioning every little cough or any shortness of breath I have. My entire body is just tense…and nobody can have sex like that.

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We don’t have our usual supplies

I have a lube that I just need in order to do it. First off, I do need lube because, unfortunately, I kind of, um, dried up down there. Turns out being on the pill for 14 years is one thing that can do that to you! Second off, I need a very specific lube because it’s the only one I don’t have an allergic reaction to. And it’s all sold out online.

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I can’t have sad sex

You know how some people can have angry sex? Sad sex? They get horny after funerals and love to have sex with their partner when they’re fighting? Yeah…I’m not one of those. I have to be happy to have sex. I need to feel light and positive and like there aren’t a ton of problems happening.

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And feeling happy feels wrong

I need to feel happy to have sex, but feeling happy feels wrong right now. People talk about just not watching the news, and watching something funny—distracting yourself. But, honestly, it feels irresponsible to just ignore what’s happening in the world. Sh*t is bad right now. And I think it’s okay to admit that, and to feel that. But I can’t feel that and arousal at the same time.

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