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Love, Sex and COVID-19

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How to Maintain Your Relationship During Self-Isolation …

If you’re a University student and self-isolating with your partner, then this period may be the longest time you’ve ever spent together, just the two of you. It will be a test for any relationship, and mixed with general anxiety, dissertation stress and university assignments, could be a challenging time for new or long-term couples.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your relationship and love life during self-isolation …

  • Routine – Remind each other to keep a healthy routine throughout the isolation period. Wake up and go to bed at similar times each day, and set out your goals for each day when you wake up. A tick list is always a good idea as you can continue to be productive despite having to stay at home.
  • Work / home life balance – This comes hand in hand with r If you lay out how you would like your day to be, then you will be more efficient when it comes to getting your work done. Schedule in breaks where you can, have something to eat and drink together, or do something fun like play a board game.
  • Section areas of the house – If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere that has several different rooms, then work out what you would like to do in each of these rooms. The bedroom of course should be for sleeping and relaxing, and ideally not for working in. If you have other options, try to set up a workspace in another area of the house.
  • Give each other space – If you are easily distracted by one another, then try to study and work in different spaces and schedule times to meet for breaks. Also remember that you don’t need to do everything your partner is doing. It is perfectly normal and healthy to spend time in the same space but do different things. You could watch different TV series with headphones on, or decide to eat different things one evening. Just because you’re together doesn’t mean you need to be completely co-dependent on one another.
  • Stay connected – Make sure you are still communicating with people who aren’t your partner. Make time each day to text, call or FaceTime your friends and family. Remind your partner to do this also. You might feel like you’re both in your own little bubble, but also make sure you’re keeping up to date with the news and what’s going on in the rest of the world.
  • Support one another – If you see your partner is falling out of the routine, kindly remind them of the things they need to get done. Keeping a routine will benefit both yours and your partners’ mental health. Don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking during self-isolation. It can be an anxious and emotional time, and even if you know your partner inside out they may be hiding a lot of their emotions about the whole isolation experience. Make sure to check up on how they’re feeling and remind them that you are there if they need to talk about it.
  • Still make an effort for one another – Getting dressed each day should be the bare minimum! Also, personal hygiene should be maintained. You may not be able to go on dates or venture outside, but you can still wear nice clothes and underwear for your partner if you fancy!
  • Date nights – Why not get dressed up and cook a nice meal or get a takeaway? Isolation doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. You are in a relationship for a reason, because you love and care for one another, and a romantic date night is a perfect reminder of that.
  • Avoid arguments – It’s easier said than done! Your partner inevitably will do things that annoy you, and a solid two weeks together will test your patience at times, but if you can, avoid any major arguments. I believe bickering and disagreeing on things is helpful for all relationships, as it stops people suppressing emotions, but bigger arguments are going to cause a strain in your relationship at this time. If you have things you want to talk about that could create an explosive argument, it may be best to discuss it after the isolation period.
  • Think about the future – Because you’re not going to be in isolation forever! Write a list together of all the things you’d like to do when you can, or all the places in the world you would like to travel to together.
  • Be kind – It’s an obvious one but can easily be forgotten. If you’re a couple that has a lot of banter and wind each other up, make sure you’re also giving your partner lots of love and affection. Doing the small things, like running your partner a bath or making them their favourite meal is a very kind and thoughtful thing to do.

How to Maintain Your Relationship If You’re Social-Distancing …

If you’re social-distancing and not able to see your partner, you’re likely missing each other a lot and could be feeling a strain on the relationship. Here are some tips on how to stay connected and in love when having to distance yourself …

  • FaceTime – The obvious one. Scheduling a FaceTime call a day is something for you both to look forward to.
  • Letters – Handwritten letters are old-school and romantic. Who doesn’t like receiving a love letter in the post?
  • Good morning and goodnight – The basic texts you should be sending each other every day, in any relationship!
  • Stay connected with each other – Small things like tagging each other in a meme, playing an online game against each other, or organising to watch the same film to discuss together later are all small ways of staying in touch without talking on FaceTime or the phone for hours a day.
  • Know each other’s schedules – Find out what each other are planning to do and let them do it. If you know they’re busy writing an assignment, then you won’t be panicking and overthinking as to why they haven’t answered your text.
  • Send small thoughtful gifts – Use Amazon Prime to send something small and sweet to your beau. It could be their favourite chocolate, a nice candle or some flowers.
  • Set yourself personal goals – Use this time apart to think about yourself and what your hopes and dreams are for the future. You will be with your partner again soon, so enjoy the alone time and do the things that you want to do.
  • Think about the future – Because you’re not going to be in isolation forever! Write a list together of all the things you’d like to do when you can, or all the places in the world you would like to travel to together.
  • Send flirty messages – It may only be two weeks, but sexual tension is going to build up in this time, so tell your partner how you’re feeling!

Planning to have sex?

If you’re in a relationship … and not isolating together then you should avoid having sex, especially if one of you falls under the vulnerable category at greater risk of COVID-19 according to expert Professor Paul Hunter. If you are isolating and living together, then you can continue to have sex as normal, however if either one of you is showing any symptoms of the virus, then sex should be avoided for at least 7 days.

If you’re in a situationship … the chances are you are not isolating together, and therefore coming into contact with several other people who aren’t each other. In this case you should avoid having sex. Although COVID-19 is not sexually transmitted, it can be transmitted through saliva aka kissing. There is also evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through oral-faecal transmission aka rimming.

If you’re single … then you are your own safest sexual partner! The Public Health Department in New York City announced that “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19”. Thanks for that one, New York.

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Caroline Cartmill

Social Editor | 19-20

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