Express News Service
BENGALURU: After close to two months of lockdown, a recent study from the World Health Organization is saying that there is likely to be a surge of close to 90 million new births that might not have happened if life had been as normal as before. A big baby boom is predicted for 2021, a much bigger and powerful baby boom compared to the last global baby boom after the end of the World War. Maybe the new Gen Z lingo of, “OK, Boomer!” that is going around now will come to mean something else altogether in a few years to talk about this big COVID lockdown boom, and what pressures and pleasures that it might have for everyone.
There is a lot of humour and other news floating around on physical contact in COVID lockdown times, including unverified news reports of segments of people across the globe pleading to their governments to relax the lockdown just so that people can go back to work and not be at home because they are tired of demands for sex. There are reports, again unverified, about some governments advocating for finding a suitable buddy to be intimate with while in the lockdown to give themselves greater intimacy. Some doctors and public health workers also used the coincidence of May 28 being the International Masturbation Day, with all of this month being dedicated to increasing awareness on this subject, to chisel away the taboo surrounding it.
Jokes or otherwise, the reality is that we can easily become touch starved in these times. Just everyday casual contact itself is under scrutiny. No handshakes. Certainly no hugs or kissing. Even if you are with someone you are attracted to and has consented to sex with you, there is significant loss of the spontaneity now. No more jumping someone’s bones immediately after entering home. You need to think of sanitising yourself, your clothes and everything.
A bath is recommended along with a quick round of laundry, especially if your everyday life gets you in proximity to the front line of COVID defences. It is hard under such circumstances to get physical. Anxiety is a downer in any case, and after all the sanitisation, it might feel enough to just lie down in bed and cuddle, or if you are living alone, just to watch some show on your favourite screen and hope to fall asleep.
Tinder and other online dating sites have shown a huge increase in active messaging on their platforms. Virtual contact increased by leaps and bounds, and they were great substitutes for the first few weeks, but now with India in lockdown 4.0 and no end in sight, and the threat of being completely isolated just one positive away, there is a tiredness. There is an ache to step back from the virtual substitutes and reach out for the real thing. We are recognising how much touch really means for us and how hungry we can get for some affectionate physical contact.
(The writer is a counsellor with InnerSight)