When the pandemic hit, it turned everyone’s world upside down. People who are dating during the pandemic face a unique set of challenges. Most people aren’t willing to put their dating lives on hold for an entire year. Yet, understanding how to date during COVID-19 is challenging at best. Prioritizing connection and fun while staying socially distant is possible—just try the tips listed below.
Dating During Lockdown
Depending on your location, you may have already gone through a full lockdown during the pandemic. A lockdown puts additional stressors on your dating life, including the fact that you may have to answer questions far earlier in your relationship than during normal times. You may need to decide whether or not it’s safe to lock down together or if you will have a “pandemic bubble” where you both agree to the safety measures you’re taking. These questions have high, life-and-death stakes, and they can put an abnormal amount of pressure on a fledgling relationship. Though isolation and loneliness are legitimate concerns during the pandemic, it’s also essential that you don’t sacrifice your values for someone else.
Consider Virtual Dating—Especially If You’re Craving a Lockdown Hookup
Virtual options are easier to find than ever before. If you’re looking for casual hookups with sex being the goal, having virtual sex is the safest way to do so during the pandemic. In fact, cybersex can be fun! It will be difficult to trust someone you don’t know well enough about how seriously they’ve taken social distancing, so having virtual sex is by far the preferable option. In-person, casual hookups may not be ideal right now, but keep in mind that this will pass. Soon enough, you can explore casual sex the way you could before.
Realize That Everyone Feels Awkward
Meeting someone virtually can be a little bit more awkward than going on an in-person date. But rest assured, everyone is feeling the same way. To minimize the awkwardness, do something relaxing before your virtual date, like taking a bath, meditating, or doing yoga. That way, you’ll feel ready to connect and less stuck inside of your head. Better yet, brushing up on your social skills during the pandemic can have lasting effects that may improve your life even in the aftertimes. Give yourself the chance to practice managing date-related anxiety during the pandemic, and your next in-person date may be the most carefree that you’ve ever had.
Enjoy the Nuance
Slowing things down romantically can come as a huge disappointment, but there is a silver lining. In-person dates that might end up between the sheets are not in the cards for many people right now. This gives daters a chance to enjoy the anticipation. Sex therapists know that increasing the anticipation before sex often increases the climax. Think of this time as tantric dating—where you savor every step of the process instead of rushing toward the finish line. Brush up on your flirting or sexting skills and find partners that are willing to do the same with you. Intimacy might sound old-fashioned, but there’s something to be said for getting to know someone well before you meet. Give it a chance before you dismiss it, and you might have more fun that you imagined possible.
If you’d like help navigating the dating landscape during the coronavirus, call me for a free consultation.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist.