#bumble | #tinder | #pof An Investigation into Sex and Dating during COVID-19

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Sooo, I am super excited about this week’s edition of “Sextech with Val” for a few reasons:

  1. New titles! I’m going to be giving each newsletter going forward a title in academic thesis format, which (very unofficially) looks something like this: “A-Pun-That-Might-Make-You-Laugh-But-More-Likely-Just-Roll-Your-Eyes : A regular old explanation of what the piece will actually be about.” Trust me, these are going to be so FUN! (and hilarious to come up with). Comment back any alternative titles you think of so we can laugh together, instead of me laughing alone in my room.
  2. Listory! Listory is a cool app that lets curators create lists of links & articles so that their followers can read along with them. If you click any of the links in this piece, you will be re-directed to Listory, where you will be able to browse through my curated lists of interesting reads. I’d love to hear your feedback on this feature!
  3. If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for a social experiment. So, I’ve actually thrown my hat in the ring for finding love during COVID-19 and signed up to be matched with someone for a virtual date (link below) happening this week! Wish me luuuck & stay tuned for updates next week in Dirty Quarantini (Part 2)!

Enjoy this little guide and thank you all for being here 🙂 Also, feel free to share this with any friends who might need an extra boost of encouragement and sex-positivity!



Given the current state of the world, humans are creatively utilizing their technology to stay connected in sexy and romantic ways. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite stories for you here.

The chaos commenced, at least in New York City, a couple of weeks ago when the government threw family values out the window and circulated this document detailing (quite graphically) how we should and should not be having sex during a global pandemic. Sorry right-wing moralists, but according to the NYC Health Department, touching ourselves is saving lives.

The sex-positive community was pleasantly surprised by the document’s thoroughness. “They’re acknowledging sex workers, oral sex, anal sex, pornography, masturbation, and sex toys, which are things that we don’t typically see addressed in government-issued communications, but these are not typical times,” explains Polly Rodriguez, cofounder and CEO of sexual-wellness company Unbound, in an article for Vogue. “It’s great to see a guide communicating the honest realities and implications of human behavior when it comes to sex during social distancing and self-quarantine.”

However, in the weeks following the document’s circulation, the situation only worsened and we (horny New Yorkers) realized we were going to need to start getting creative with ways to continue dating and hooking up during this unprecedented time. This newsletter is Part 1: Single’s Edition, where I will be offering my best advice and resources for all the lonely hearts out there.

Are you single and looking to meet other singles?

Get on a dating app. If you’re one of those people who’s held out because you believe one day you’ll meet someone the “traditional” way and it will be love at first sight and you’ll live happily ever after and… it’s time to get over it. Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere. Welcome to the new normal.

Besides, there’s more fish in the sea now than ever before! According to the Huffington Post, Bumble reports a 21% increase in messages sent in Seattle, 23% increase in New York City and 26% increase in San Francisco since March 12, a day after the World Health Organization labeled the coronavirus a global pandemic. Similarly, Hinge saw a 30% increase in messaging on the app in March. These apps have each also launched in-app “date from home” features including video chat or phone call capabilities.

Personally, I prefer Hinge to the other mainstream apps because I find the prompts give you a better sense of the person’s personality. However, if you’re looking to venture beyond the mainstream, I’d recommend checking out one of the following alternatives: Feeld, an inclusive dating app for all sexual & gender identities that encourages openness, or #Open, an inclusive community where you can make authentic connections with people who share your passion.

Sign up for a blind dating experiment. After binging Netflix’s Love is Blind, this was probably my favorite discovery of all. It’s the perfect alternative for those of us who don’t want to deal with all the dating app swiping and instead want a carefully selected suitor to be delivered directly to our inboxes. It’s basically the closest thing most of us will ever get to being a contestant on our favorite reality TV dating show-mine being MTV’s Are You The One, which Season 8 is a must-see if you haven’t already.

Anyways, dating experiments are happening all over the country: Quarantine Bae is one based in Chicago; Catch Feelings Not COVID (the one I signed up for) is based in N.Y. but is available for love-seekers in various cities including Boston, L.A., S.F., Miami, Philly, D.C., Dallas, and San Diego; and finally, Ok Zoomer was made specifically for college students and even has its own fancy landing page!

Are you single and looking to explore your singularity?

Find some new sexual content to watch, read, or listen to. My best advice for anyone when it comes to sex or relationships during this time is to try to get to know yourself or your partner (but first, yourself) better. Free your mind to explore your fantasies, your desires, and your boundaries without judgement. Try something new and be patient. Porn can be a great way to tap into the more sexual and sensual areas of your mind and inspire your own creativity. You can also write down your stories or things you want to try. These exercises of self-empowerment have long-lasting effects that can carry over and improve other aspects of our everyday lives. Trust me.

Some recommendations for ways to do this are: Explore Fantasy, an app (still in beta) but whose mission is to educate and empower us to explore fantasies and passions either solo or with partners without fear of judgment. Follow a few sex-positive social media accounts like SluttyGrlProbs, Math Magazine, or my very own (and fave for sex-positive art), Lips. And finally, my friends at Pass the Porn, the curated cinematic social experiment, have begun a series of weekly virtual events known as Brunch Munch.

For porn, check out XConfessions by Erika Lust, a catalogue of short films that portray “sexually intelligent narratives, relatable characters, and realistic hot sex offering an alternative to the mainstream porn industry; CrashPad Series by Pink & White Productions, hundreds of episodes dedicated just to hot, queer sex; and, Quinn, a database of high-quality, crowd-sourced audio and written content. Also, [quick plug] I wrote and directed a short, soft-core erotic film titled “The Way We Are” which you can stream now on PinkLabel.tv.

Order a new sex toy. This is the perfect time to experiment not only with your mind, but also with your physical body. If you’ve never owned a vibrator before, you are missing out. I’d recommend browsing online, reading some descriptions and reviews, and deciding on one you think sounds right for you. Look at products from Dame and Unbound, two of my favorite companies, and I almost guarantee you will be satisfied.

Join a virtual play session. If you’ve ever wondered about what it’d be like to go to a sex party IRL, it might be a good idea to join in on a virtual one first to get a feel for it. NSFW (The New Society for Wellness) is an “open love club” based in NYC but has been hosting digital play parties since quarantine began. The community is inclusive, yet selective as they must ensure all members understand and abide by the values described in their Code of Conduct. Apply online just in time for this Friday’s event “YOU SINGLE: Lockdown Edition.”

And there you have it folks!

Stay tuned for next week to hear about my first ever blind date as well as some of the awesome, super fun sextech resources I’ve come across for COUPLES.

PS: My alternative titles…

When NSFW becomes ‘No Sex For a While’: An Investigation into Sex and Dating during COVID-19

Baby Zoomers: An Inside Look at Whether or Not COVID-19 is Breeding the Next-Gen (perhaps I’ll use this one for the couple’s edition next week?)

and my favorite…

Cuom-o for Daddy: What our Obsession with NY’s Governor Andrew Cuomo Tells Us About the Current State of Sex and Dating during COVID-19

Comment yours below 😛

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