Love in the time of Covid-19: Sex and relationships Q&A – Malta Independent Online

Posted: April 22, 2020 at 4:47 pm


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Currently people are only talking about Covid-19, which can bring about emotions of fear, anxiety, anger or desperation. What can couples do to help one another?

Anxiety and fear are emotions that can be transmitted. We are seeing people who are generally calm about the whole situation but then get anxious after calling certain family members, or partners. If your partner is anxious, ideally you call them with video instead of chat by text. Calm yourself down before calling them. Use your presence and tone of voice to help them realise that there are things one can control and things that one does not have control over.

Ask them if they are being cautious about their own safety and if they feel they are doing all that they can. If they are, theres nothing else they can do. Remind them of the statistics and the amount of people who are not infected.

There are individuals who are currently single during this time, and might be facing moments of anxiety, sexual frustration or loneliness. Some might not want to spend this period alone; what advice would you provide to such individuals?

Being alone does not necessarily mean feeling lonely. We also know individuals who are in a full house who are feeling lonely. Anyone who is feeling so should seek support. They can contact friends, colleagues or relatives through chat or calls.

Dating apps or Facebook groups can also be a good way of starting relationships during such a time. Flirting and chatting without meeting can add a level of excitement for some, whilst reducing anxiety for others. The fact that one invests in getting to know the other person without physically hanging out can ease the pressure off some. The postponing of sexual interaction due to the current situation can also be a blessing for people who suffer from performance anxiety.

As with every change that we will go through in our lives, it is important to learn to look inwards and seek the coping strategies that have helped in the past and use them to adapt to new situations. If coping strategies we used in the past are not available or helpful we need to build new strategies and skills to be able to adapt.

We also suggest that they seek professional help if they need that extra push to initiate contact with others.

Are people still using dating apps? Is it a good time to use such apps?

People are still using dating apps, and research shows that there has been an increase in the use of dating apps, likely as people are bored and are also looking for other ways to connect with people since they are unable to socialise outdoors. There is nothing wrong with using these apps to connect with people, or to find partners with whom to engage in online sex with. However since meeting people outside your house is not advised, it is ideal to not use these apps to find people with whom to meet outside during the time of the pandemic, but there is nothing wrong with planning to meet these persons after.

Some couples might feel pressure to be more sexually active during this period of time. Is it okay to not feel constantly in the mood to perform? In what other ways can couples be intimate together?

Covid-19 has brought with it stress and anxiety. It is normal to have decreased appetite for sex when you are feeling stressed. This is a new situation that everyone is adapting to at their own pace. This is however an opportunity to spend more time with your partner, and there is more time to be intimate and actively present in those intimate moments. This is the perfect time to take a nice bath together, put on some relaxing music, some candles and enjoy a relaxing at home spa night.

You can plan activities to do together in the house-hold and enjoy being present together in these moments. That in itself can be intimate. If you do decide to have sex, you can enjoy taking it easier and having more time to explore different things in your sex life.

What advice would you give to couples who are now constantly together, working from home, cooking, cleaningsome might be experiencing petty arguments due to constantly being together.

It is advised to make sure to take time for yourselves as individuals. Set aside time in the day where you can spend some time alone, reading, taking a bath, having a video-call with a friend, so as to avoid getting frustrated with each others presence because of the limited ability to be elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to give each other space, and it can make the communication in the relationship stronger when you are planning your time in this way.

How will relationships change post Covid-19?

This is a very difficult question as we have never experienced something like this before. We believe that some would have learnt the importance of being over doing. Being by themselves, with their families, and living the moment. Others might work even harder in order to make up for the perceived missed opportunities and income due to the current situation.

Some will come out of this traumatised whilst others will learn that they survived such a time and therefore feel more confident about themselves and their skills.

Our personalities and perspective of life determines how we live and perceive any situation. Hopefully, readers use this time by reflecting on their own perspective of life and their relationships and come out of this situation more aware of what their priorities are. We encourage all reading this to give meaning to these weeks/ months spent safe at home by delving deeper into themselves, and their relationships and come out stronger at more in tune with who they want to be.

Those who are not safe at home, please do seek help. Moments like these can become so intense that they make you question even more why you are in such a situation. Call for help. Get help. Change your situation.

Is it safe to have sex right now or is there a chance of spreading COVID-19?

Covid-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads through droplets, even through saliva. When having sex people are very close to each other and therefore this alone poses a risk of transmitting the virus. If you do have sex, it is recommended that you wash-up before sex and after sex. Covid-19 can live on surfaces for many hours and so its very important you take care of washing yourself before you touch your partner paying extra attention to your hands!

The safest way to have sex is sex with yourself! Masturbation will not spread Covid-19, especially if you wash your hands or any sex toys before and after with soap and water.

While it is not advised to do so because of the risks, if you want to have sex with people outside of your household, it is advisable to engage in sex with as few partners as possible. If you usually meet your sex partners online, maybe consider not meeting in-person and make use of digital platforms.

There might be some individuals who have just started a new relationship before Covid-19, and now due to physical distancing and quarantine, it will be difficult to meet as a couple right now. What advice would you give to such couples right now?

As sexual health professionals we always encourage couples to invest in physical time and contact. This makes the couple feel closer. However, we need to adapt to the situation were in and physical safety comes first. We encourage the couples in this situation to make use of technology so that they can be creative in staying in touch. Couples can spend time on online dates; send sex toys to each other, and sext.

The attachment between two people has several layers and types of connections. Although the physical one is a very important one, there are other connections that the couple can focus on in such times. Ask questions to get to know each other better. Play games online. Call each other to hear each others voice. Stay in touch through texting.

Lets not forget that there are a lot of couples who have survived long distance for many years. We can learn from them and adapt our intimacy and connection to the current situation. The most important thing is to make time for each other.

For anyone seeking support, you can message the WillingnessTeam Facebook chat with #COVID. WillingnessTeam Professionals are also offering online therapy on secure platforms, and support. They can be contacted through or 7929 1817. Willigness Team are also currently conducting an anonymous questionnaire regarding how Coronavirus has impacted relationships and sexuality.

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Love in the time of Covid-19: Sex and relationships Q&A - Malta Independent Online

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