It’s been a little while now since we’ve started practising social distancing – or rather, physical distancing since it’s really important to keep our (virtual) social connections alive.
This has meant a huge change in the way we live our lives and importantly, our sex and dating lives.
Despite the recent NSW Government announcement that now allows some home visitations, the advice around practising physical distancing remains, meaning that we should still hold off from casual sex.
Up to now, with so many of us spending even more time online, you might have received the occasional message from someone who wants to meet up, make out or hook up (well, lucky you!).
With the latest announcement, you might see more messages start filling your inbox, whether on the apps or from sex friends and fuck buddies who are hoping the ‘sex hibernation’ may be coming to a close…
Yes, it’s tempting. Of course, it is. For people who don’t live with a partner, a lot of us might be missing sex, intimacy, touch, kissing… (even holding hands is starting to sound kinda hot, TBH).
You might be staring at a photo of a potential hook up or date and thinking, “Ohhhh, they are a babe and a half!” or even falling prey to ‘Quarantine Brain’ and thinking: “I will never get this chance again! THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!”
Please tell your QB (‘Quarantine Brain’) to calm down – you will have the chance to date and dance and fuck again. This is incredibly difficult, but it will end.
It’s not the time to become complacent. It’s really good news to see our situation improving and some government restrictions relaxing, but it was only possible because people did the right thing.
We know that saying no can be difficult, and we want to help by sharing some ways of gently and respectfully responding to offers for dates or sex (or dates that you would really like to lead to sex).
So, whether you’re using an app and getting messages from someone new, someone you’ve previously chatted to online, or messages from someone you’ve hooked up with before (or texts at 2am from your not-quite-ex…it’s ok. We’ve all been there), here are some things to consider.
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR ONLINE PROFILE TO LOOK LIKE?
More of us are on dating and hook-up apps more than ever before. So to start, there are some really simple things you can do to your profile to let people know that you are physical distancing and not looking to meet up for sex at the moment.
It could be as simple as updating your screen name or bio to include terms like “social distancing”, “cybersex”, “let’s cyber”, “chats only” or “FaceTime dates”. This gives a clear and direct message about your intentions while online.
If the app allows it, you could also add that information in other fields. This way you’ll attract more like-minded people while letting others know you may just be window-shopping, wanting to chat, or that you’re very firmly “on lay-by” for potential lays.
In the case that they don’t read your profile (which does happen) and they either outwardly offer sex, invite you to meet up, or the conversation ends up with them wanting to meet up, you can simply make them aware of it:
Love to meet up. Come over now??
Babe, like my profile says: I’m on lay-by until this is over! Happy to keep chatting with you.
This way, you’ve done the right thing by yourself and them, and shouldn’t feel awkward or bad about it.
GIVE IT TO THEM STRAIGHT (SO TO SPEAK)
If you get an invitation for sex online or over text (Who could be texting at 2am? Oh, hello…) it could be a good idea to let them know right away that you’re not meeting up for sex right now – most people should understand why.
If this is someone you do want to meet up with in the future, there are are ways of saying it and being honest that might soften the blow of them feeling rejected:
U up? Xxxx
Ha! Yes, I am now. Would love to see you – but gotta put it all on hold until this is over. Behaving myself, but catch up post-isolation?
Saying no can be tricky, but if you’re into someone and want to keep in contact until you can meet up, you can find hot ways to say ‘no, not now.’
Think about what you could add to that to tease them: “No, not now…but once this is over…”. If it’s someone you’ve been with before, describe some of the elements of your last hook-up, or what you are going to do to them when you see them next…
LOVELY WEATHER WE’RE HAVING
If it’s someone you want to chat with, why not redirect the topic elsewhere? You might ask what it’s been like for them, how they’re coping, or how many sourdough loaves they’ve baked so far. Have they been talking to their house plants, too? Yeah, me neither… If it’s someone on an app, or someone you don’t know personally, (or only know in one very particular way), then if they cut it short, it’s not a big deal. They were probably looking for a hook-up not a catch-up and that’s not on you.
SIGHT AND SOUND
If you feel comfortable, consider moving your encounter to a virtual one. Sexting, phone sex (that’s where you use your phone as a telephone, remember?), swapping pics or having video sex through FaceTime are all forms of sex and they can be incredibly hot. Have a read of our blog about Sex in the Era of COVID-19 for some inspiration and advice. And remember to be careful about what you share! Keep the boundaries you have in non-pandemic times about what you share and who you share it with and stay safe.
Just because it’s online or over the phone doesn’t mean it’s not real. Virtual sex can be a really fun, creative and surprising way to hook up and connect. Here are some great thoughts from queers about why we sext, when we sext and what sexting can mean for different people.
IF THEY INSIST, HOW DO YOU REJECT THEM WITHOUT HURTING THEIR FEELINGS?
Firstly, you should never let someone else make you feel pressured into something you’re not comfortable with. If their tone becomes insistent, then maybe this calls for a clear and firm response.
They may even tell you that you can have sex now because of the change in government restrictions and the low infections rates we’re seeing. But now is not the time. It’s really important that we keep up physical distancing and this includes casual sex.
You can tell them that you are letting all your hook-ups know that you’re taking a break right now. You can tell them you don’t want to take any risks and that it’s important that you protect your health.
Be honest about it – it’s your choice and you’re doing it because it’s the right thing for you and everyone else.
Remember, the reason we’re seeing lower infections and some restrictions are easing is because so many of us are doing our best to protect ourselves and each other.
IF THEY DON’T RESPECT YOUR DECISION OR GET AGGRESSIVE
No one likes to be rejected, but unfortunately some people will try to make you feel bad about it and some can take it worse than others.
If you find yourself dealing with a negative reaction by someone who wanted to meet up for casual sex, you should not feel bad. This is their problem, not yours.
You can’t control other people’s emotions (or their bad behaviour) but you can control what you show and tell them.
If all else fails, remember you can always stop engaging with them. This really isn’t the time to add any stress to your life or let anyone make you feel bad or guilty for making choices that are right for you. “No, thank you” is a perfectly polite way to end an interaction.
You can take breaks from apps if you feel like they are starting to affect your mental health, and chat with a friend about if it helps – they may have experienced something similar (unfortunately they probably have) and could offer some sound advice or just a sympathetic space for a vent. Don’t let someone else’s disrespectful behaviour bring you down.
Remember, by saying no to casual sex, you are doing what is right for you and the broader community – and you should feel supported in that.
If you are struggling with any experiences or feeling isolated, consider finding a LGBT+ counselling service to help support you. You can find more information about ACON counselling other LGBT+ counselling services here. Keep following ACON on social media for more tips on how to stay safe during this challenging time.