Sex in the time of Covid: Keep it virtual and carry on

Not all couples or singles use virtual sex as an alternative because physical sex is not an option. There are those who feel that virtual sex is enjoyable

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Should you wear a mask during sex?” read the WhatsApp message from a friend who was ranting about how the pandemic made it tougher for singles to date safely. Before dismissing it as a joke, I decided to google it, and to my surprise, I found that some Harvard researchers do recommend using a face mask while having sex.

However, not all couples or singles use virtual sex as an alternative because physical sex is not an option. There are those who feel that virtual sex is enjoyable regardless of whether one is single, in  a long-distance relationship or living with a partner who needs to self-quarantine as a precaution. 

A few such men and women shared their pre-Covid virtual sex experiences, which include sexting or exchanging nude pics or talking dirty over a voice call or a video call. None of their experiences started out of a need to stay safe and most of them did not even see it as an alternative to physical intimacy. It is just an extension of the pleasure to many.

Also read: Sex tips for men: When #lockerroom mentality spills into real life

The safest sex is sex with yourself…

...and the best too, if Tanvi Aggarwal is to be believed. This 31-year-old yoga teacher from Kolkata enjoys virtual sex so much that she feels it compares favourably with the real deal. 

According to Tanvi, “Phone sex takes time. It is almost like someone is reading an erotic novel to you. Your imagination runs wild and you reach a state which you may not be able to achieve during physical sex. It is, in fact, better than the real deal because you have someone stimulating you with erotic words on the phone. Plus, you are touching yourself in all the right spots leading to the big O!”

If you ask her, an orgasm during penetrative intercourse may not be a guarantee, but when you masturbate it is almost always a given. So in her experience virtual sex is the complete package with a happy ending.

At a time when physical intimacy carries such a big risk, is virtual sex the safest option? According to some guidelines, as long as you wash your hands and sex toys for at least 20 seconds before and after masturbating you are good to go!

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Also read: Sex tips for men: What is your partner thinking of during sex?

So is virtual sex all about masturbation?

“Sexting is good. It is arousing,” says 44-year-old Meghna Reddy from Bengaluru. This professor loves to sext as a prelude to a real date. According to her, not all sexting necessarily leads to an orgasm. “I can sext while I am at work. It is fun for me and for the guy, too. He describes what he would like to do and I do the same. We talk explicitly and describe how we would touch, kiss and so on in detail. Sometimes, it can go on for days before even having phone sex,” she reveals

Phone sex after a series of sext messages does lead to an orgasm but it is not a substitute for making love, says Meghna. She misses, “the touch, the heat, the closeness” which is a part of physical intimacy. She feels that it helps when you are unable to meet often and wish to be connected without losing the chemistry. “I can’t do it with a stranger,” she is quick to point out. “It has to be someone who I already know intimately and know he is capable of fulfilling what he is saying.” 

An unknown voice or face doesn’t have the same effect on Meghna. While masturbation during phone sex is an option, it is not always the goal. For someone like Meghna, virtual sex is also about deepening intimacy and feeling close when one is not able to be together physically. 

Virtual sex with a virtual stranger!

While virtual sex with someone you have great physical chemistry with seems fun, what happens when you haven’t even met the person? Manish Shah, a businessman in his fifties assures us that, “It works.” 

He describes his interaction with a woman he only chatted with and spoken to on the phone but never met. “I like to sext and then end with a phone call if possible. I met this woman on Instagram and she was good at it on chat and over a call that I liked it. It worked. I climaxed. However, not all experiences are like that. Sometimes, you get the feeling that the stranger you are chatting with is not a woman. There are guys who create fake profiles.” 

Manish is able to spot the difference and move on. While he prefers to be physically intimate with his partners, he is game to engaging virtually too if the woman likes it. The main thing, Manish says is, “You can’t go with an agenda. It is different with different women. Some prefer to chat and exchange nude pics, others send video clips. Some like role play, others want to talk dirty. Not all want to meet up. Some like to be guided on how to touch themselves so they orgasm, while others may not be able to masturbate because they are surrounded by people.”

Also read: Sex column: Real women reveal their biggest turn offs

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Manish prefers a video call or voice call with headphones because that frees up his hands, unlike sexting which is cumbersome. It is difficult to hold the phone, type and touch oneself but he understands that all women are not comfortable with video. Some even send pics and videos where the face is not clearly visible. Despite these challenges, the only thing that matters to him is the vibe or mutual pleasure. 

Sceptical about sexting?

Those who are averse to sexting often say things like: “I am not into typing,” or “I prefer actually touching and feeling” or “I don’t get sexting!” Thirty seven-year-old Vivek Arora works at an MNC and is a sceptic who doesn’t get the fantasy of typing out what you would like to do with each other. He prefers to exchange nude pics or videos. “The fantasy is limited to what you would like your partner to wear or take off. I often get asked to pose like this porn star who I resemble or so I have been told,” he chuckles. 

It is about having a good time and it is a great turn on.

Vivek says that he enjoys the kinky aspects of virtual sex more, like watching a woman masturbate on camera or looking at her sex clip. Both of which he indulges only if a woman initiates it. Safety is a huge concern, says Vivek and he is super particular about deleting a photograph or video within a few seconds of viewing it. He also trusts that the woman would do the same with his pic or video.

Despite being averse to sexting, Vivek engages in all other aspects of virtual sex and not just because of lack of time or physical distance. "I may meet a woman at lunch and still engage in phone sex at night," he adds.

 As concerns about keeping your partner safe keep mounting, it may be time to shed some of the inhibitions you might have had about virtual sex. Recently, a New York Times headline asked whether face masks are the new condoms. 

Also read: 40-year-old virgin?

But, it is not just about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, you could try adding lemon to vodka like Tanvi, Meghna, Manish and Vivek do. Make it a part of your sexual repertoire, a norm, rather than an exception. 

Safe sex

There are many safety guidelines and dos and don’ts to stay safe during this pandemic. Safe sex becomes a huge challenge if you are not quarantined with your partner. Recently, the Dutch government issued an advisory for singletons to find a “sex buddy” so they don’t expose themselves to multiple partners

Safety first 

• Wash hands and sex toys 

• Delete any and all pics and videos 

• Be mindful of privacy and consent 

• Beware of fake profiles

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