Love in the time of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Tuesday 5 May 2020
This article was written during the Queensland response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reflects the information available at the date of publication. Please check the Queensland Government COVID-19 webpage for updated information and current health advice regarding COVID-19 in Queensland.
If you were hoping to meet your soulmate, or just hoping to have a good time with someone sexy, in 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might have derailed your plans.
Just like people planning large weddings and holidays, or anyone with a birthday this year, the hopes you had around spending time with other people will have had to change. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look for love or exercise some lust this year – you might just have to do things a little differently.
Here are our tips on staying safe when it comes to love, sex and dating in the time of COVID-19.
Forge a digital connection
We’ve been asking you to stay socially distant from people not in your household, and these measures have protected you from getting sick and from spreading the virus to others. But you can still get to know new people without getting close to them.
Online dating websites and apps have made it easier than ever to see who around you is single and ready to mingle (but not in close personal proximity right now, thanks). If apps aren’t your thing, that’s okay, too. You can do things the old-fashioned way; try asking friends to hook you up with someone they think you’d like. You could try a blind video date, or spend some time talking on the phone (remember phone calls? How great were phone calls!) and get to know them through conversation alone. Or, you could go all out and set up a virtual dinner date like New York photographer Jeremy Cohen.
Create a healthy relationship with the most important person: you
Social distancing measures have us all feeling a little strange – it’s not normal to have this level of isolation thrust upon us. So, if you’re not feeling up to navigating a very different dating scene during the pandemic, that’s completely understandable.
Instead, you might use this time away from others to think about your most important relationship; the one you have with yourself. This could be a great opportunity to re-evaluate how you think and feel about dating, sex, your body, your sexuality, romance and relationships. Any relationship, whether it’s long-term or a casual fling, will benefit from you being confident that you know yourself, what you want, how you want to be treated and how you want to treat others.
I’m already in a relationship, can I see my partner?
If you’re already in a relationship, you may have been wondering if you are allowed to see your significant other if you don’t already live together.
Ultimately, we need you to do your best to stay safe, to stop you from getting sick and to prevent you from spreading the virus to others. Some couples have chosen to do this by staying together in one home for an extended period of time – effectively making a new household for the time being. Others are just seeing each other either as a single visitor with social distancing or out of the house for approved purposes like exercise. Some have made the decision to only see each other virtually until restrictions are lifted. We need you to decide how you and your partner should act in a way that complies with our directives and suits your relationship.
Those in long-distance relationships have had a tough time, with restrictions on travel both within the state and across borders meaning many people haven’t been able to see their partners like they normally would. While these restrictions are designed to keep you and our community healthy, we understand that forced separation is difficult. This list of ideas might help you connect in new ways while you’re unable to travel to see each other.
The big question: can I still go on my Tinder date?
Since home confinement measures came into effect earlier this year, we’ve only been recommending that you leave your house to visit others for essential purposes, like providing them with medical care or supporting their mental wellbeing. While getting to see the cutie you met on Tinder might feel essential, we can all agree that this isn’t really in line with those recommendations.
Because Queenslanders have done an excellent job at flattening the curve, some of the home confinement measures are gradually being relaxed. From the start of May, you’re allowed to leave your house with one other person who doesn’t normally live with you, to do recreational activities like having a picnic or going bushwalking in a National Park, which are both excellent first date ideas. But if you’re leaving your house with other members of your household for a day of activities, nobody else can come along.
So, technically, yes, you could have your date. You’ll still have to maintain a 1.5 metre distance from each other, so there’ll be no hand holding, cute slow-inching towards each other, or Lady and the Tramp style spaghetti sharing for you. But you can gaze into each other’s eyes from a distance if that’s your thing.
Whether you decide your date is safe and fits within our recommendations, or you want to wait it out for a better time, remember that this isn’t going to last forever. You’ll be free to awkwardly sit at candlelit restaurant tables or freak out about not chewing your popcorn too loudly at the cinema again in the future. For now, we want you to stay well and alive.
Always practise safe sex, pandemic or not
Whether there’s a pandemic going on or not, if you’re having sex, you should be having safe sex. Some sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are caused by viruses, and just like the virus that causes COVID-19, they can lead to pretty nasty symptoms like ongoing pelvic pain, pain when you’re peeing, and fertility issues.
When you’re having sex, and that’s any kind of sex, you should be using protection. For more information about safe sex, visit Stop the Rise of STIs.
This situation is still developing, and as things change, our advice and restrictions will, too. To keep up-to-date with information about what you should and shouldn’t do during this time, visit our website or Facebook page.