Will there be a summer of love? Will there be a surplus of horny people seeking connection with others? Will the vaccine unleash a torrent of pent-up desire? Possibly. Maybe. Eh? It’s understandable that there wouldn’t be a clear answer to any of these questions. We are human, and while many of us desire connection, we’re probably going to be a bit nervous about jumping back into the saddle, or bed, or well, wherever.
I have read plenty of articles and social media posts about how the summer of 2021 might be three months of orgiastic pleasure. Look, I wrote my own article about how I was feeling badly for Gen Z’s lack of intimate connection with others and how I wished they had the opportunity to experience more physical intimacy. But while this summer will probably be filled with unabashed sexual escapades for some, I’m sure that many of you are feeling uneasy at best about the idea. I completely understand that the reality of even taking off your mask, let alone your clothes, with a new person might very well be terrifying after more than a year of social distancing. So I’d rather offer some suggestions that are relevant to all people, regardless of how they choose to experience Summer 2021.
- It’s okay to take it as slowly or as quickly as you want. There is no handbook for how to date again after a pandemic. (I wish there was, but alas, no such luck.) Don’t feel like you “have to” act a particular way. Your body, your rules.
- Summer brings us (hopefully) good weather as well as longer days. If the thought of being inside with someone you are newly dating stresses you out, do your dates outdoors. Be strategic so that you can manage any nerves you may have.
- You may be sick of getting that swab up your nose, but testing is still important. Not just for Covid. You are still going to need to get tested for STIs. In a recent Nurx survey of singles, 21% said they had never been tested for STIs, and 8% said that they weren’t sure when they were last tested. If that’s you, don’t be ashamed — lots of people haven’t kept up with their typical sexual health routines during the pandemic — but do get back to it!
- Good news! All the talk about COVID testing, risk profiles, and mask wearing has provided us with the script for talking to partners about STI testing and risk profiles. Yes, this is good news. If you can ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated or when their last COVID test was, you can do the same for STIs. On that note, if sex (of any kind) happens, you are still going to need to use condoms and other forms of contraceptives (if pregnancy is a concern). But we have spent an entire year talking about mask-use so the dialogue for condom use is pretty similar. “I’d like to wear a mask” = “I’d like us to use condoms.”
- Consent (always) matters. If you need a refresher, read my Sex Ed for Adults Consent Lesson here.
- If you are nervous (very nervous) about dating again post-COVID, you are not alone. Acknowledge that you might be a bit hesitant. Not only is someone going to appreciate the honesty, but the likelihood is that they may be a bit hesitant, too. And let’s be honest, if someone isn’t sensitive to your need to take it slow, then they’re not the right partner for you. Not now nor ever.
I would imagine that no one really knows how people will explore or express their sexuality this summer, but one thing is certain, no matter how you do, you have the right to healthy, empowering, pleasurable, and safe sexual experiences.
About the Author
An internationally recognized expert on sexuality and relationships, Dr. Logan Levkoff is an author and educator dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality and relationships and encouraging honest conversation about sexuality and the role it plays in our culture. As a thought leader in the field of human sexuality and personal relationships, Logan frequently appears on television including Good Morning America, The Today Show, and CNN. Logan is an AASECT Certified Sex Educator and Sex Educator Supervisor and served on the AASECT Board of Directors. She received her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Life Education from New York University and holds an M.S. in Human Sexuality Education.
This blog provides information about telemedicine, health and related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.