As quarantines drag on and the coronavirus pandemic shows few signs of ending anytime soon, it’s become increasingly difficult to have safe sex.
People are starting to get creative about their sexual endeavors, from using large body pillows to online Zoom orgies. But the question of when it will be safe for many people to have in-person sex again has yet to be answered.
With conflicting advice on sex during the pandemic from government officials and medical organizations, people are taking matters of intimacy into their own hands.
Insider spoke to three people navigating sex during the coronavirus pandemic to find out how people are finding intimacy — and at what cost.
One woman has been hooking up with her coworker even though they don’t live together
One 23-year old woman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions at her job, has been working as an Emergency Medical Technician in South Carolina since she graduated from college last year.
Her dating life was a bit of a “mess” before the onset of the pandemic, she said. Often working 12-hour night shifts for days in a row, she didn’t have time to use apps like Tinder and Hinge, and found herself getting ready for work during prime happy hour times.
She told Insider that she started hooking up with a coworker around mid-March — right around the time much of the US started implementing quarantines.
“Our day to day life isn’t really that different, with the exception that we can’t go to the movies on our days off,” she said. “I think it was more of a natural occurrence rather than a ‘We’re in quarantine, it’s you.'”
The woman and her coworker have continued seeing each other even though they don’t live together.
“A lot of the thought process behind that is we’re stuck in an ambulance together, less than a foot away from each other for like 12 hours – so we have to break the six-foot rule,” she said. “Our thought process is ‘Whatever I get, you’re gonna get.'”
She still feels other people who aren’t exposed to the coronavirus for their jobs — like medical workers — should avoid hooking up.
“I don’t use my experience as a reason to go see other people and hook up, just because you never know who you’re going to go see,” She said. “You could be going to see someone who lives with their grandparents.”
Megan is quarantining with her grandparents in Virginia but has been sexting with someone halfway across the world
Megan, a 23 year-old who asked to have her name withheld for fear of repercussions from her employer, relocated to her grandparents’ house in Virginia in mid-March from her home in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic in the US.
But that hasn’t stopped her from finding creative ways to keep her sex life afloat.
Soon after relocating, Megan matched on Hinge with an Australian guy living in New York City. The two quickly hit it off and spent days sending flirty messages, audio messages, and quarantine stories back and forth.
Though he relocated back to Australia soon after they started talking in mid-March, the two have managed to stay in touch and even have a routine going. Megan logs off her remote job, makes dinner, and messages him around 8 pm.
Two weeks ago, the texts went from flirty to sexual.
“So we were messaging late at night and he said something like ‘Nothing good can happen this late at night’ and we just hit a flirty spiral from there,” Megan told Insider.
Megan said she sent a few “tester” pictures — a boob picture here, a butt picture there — and now the two have been consistently sexting ever since.
“I wouldn’t usually be so open with somebody that I just me online but it’s quarantine,” Megan said. “Sometimes you need a little extra entertainment. It also helps that I’m incredibly horny and he’s ridiculously charming.”
Lisa has a roommate who refuses to stop hooking up with their neighbor, and she’s worried they’ll all get sick
Lisa, 23, has been quarantining in her South Carolina home since mid-March, where she lives with her friend of nine years.
While Lisa told Insider she’s extremely cautious about social distancing because of her asthma, her roommate has continued hooking up with their next-door neighbor.
“He’s really not respecting self-isolation and I feel like her being exposed to him is bringing in a lot more risk than if it was just she and I,” said Lisa, who asked to have her last name withheld to prevent further conflict with her roommate.
She’s considered bringing it up to her roommate but worries it might result in an end to their friendship, and she also doesn’t want to police her roommate’s body during the pandemic.
“It feels unfair that she can still see friends and hook up when I know neither of us should be and I’m respecting that,” Lisa said. “Imagine you were trying to tell a roommate, no, you can’t see your long-term boyfriend (that’s essentially what they are) because he goes outside and sees a ton of people. It would end very badly.”
“He doesn’t have health insurance. She and I are both high risk. It would be really bad if any of us got it, and if one of us does? All of us have it,” Lisa said. “I’m not just worried for my own safety.”