Casual sex has certainly become a COVID-era taboo with governments the world over issuing sex-related bans, notes and memos – many of them palpably awkward, some hilariously explicit.
Last May, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) recommended that single people pursue highly organised, diligently pre-arranged hook-ups with one chosen partner during the pandemic.
“Make good arrangements with this person about how many other people you both see.” The British National Health Service is unequivocal with an enthusiastic
proclaimed on its website. Terrence Higgins Trust, a British charity that campaigns about sexual health, further advises:
A similar memo issued by New York City Health Department in March endorsing masturbation in the times of a pandemic provoked a deluge of Tweets, cheering both its explicit wording and the sound message it conveyed.
What we know about #COVID19 and sex: 😘Kissing can spread COVID-19 and rimming might spread it. 👅🍑🚫— nychealthy (@nycHealthy) March 24, 2020
You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water🧼: https://t.co/85FUZfOABG
The truth is: as we are entering the Xth month of the pandemic and every close contact still harbours potential danger, the time seems perfectly apt for embracing masturbation – as sexual self-discovery, key to mental wellbeing and an act of self-care.
Masturbation Is Self-Care
During the current strange times, psychologists agree, there is nothing more uplifting, than taking care of yourself. Now, as our sources of pleasure and enjoyment are limited, as we are constantly bombarded with negative information and our social interactions are wrought with anxieties, the best thing we can for our physical and mental wellbeing is to be kind to ourselves and listen to our bodies.
One way to stay sane is to create “bubbles of pleasure”, like skincare rituals or finding time for hobbies.
In her delightful “How to Have Feminist Sex: A Fairly Graphic Guide”, Flo Perry, a writer and illustrator, asserts that masturbation, too, functions as an efficient “form of self-care”: an orgasm uplifts anxiety and boosts your mood, releasing endorphins, the hormones of happiness.
© Flo Perry
It’s just normal then that masturbation is emerging as an essential part of a wellness culture, with sex toys being increasingly marketed as beauty products. Why shouldn’t it be so? Ultimately, one of the desirable side effects of masturbation is the healthy afterglow. (And yes, you deserve it!)
…And You Should Also Set It As A Journey To Self-Discovery
Masturbation, while an effective method to instantly feel better, also helps to learn more about your body and how it works, your likes, dislikes and absolute no-gos.(We recommend that you focus on the likes, though.) Use the lockdown as a time off, a chance to get even more comfortable with our sexuality, and an opportunity to get ready for all those post-Covid dates that await you.
Undeniably, knowing your body and being at ease with your sexuality brings confidence – so make sure to experiment and build a bond of trust with your body.
Going solo doesn’t mean that there is no room for experimentation.
Quite on the contrary! Get yourself a selection of sex toys that make you curious, let yourself be inspired by porn, engage with your fantasies.
Dedicating some sexy time to yourself also does not mean that there is no community you can connect with. Masturbation has long ceased being a taboo, and you can turn to some wonderful sex educators for more information on sex and female pleasure.
Oh, and if, impressed by your own achievements, you’d like to know more about the history of masturbation in the 20th century turn to Betty Dodson’s “Sex for One. The Joy of Self Loving”. The book by the feminist veteran of no-shame masturbation was first published in 1987 and has never been out of print ever since. Unsurprisingly, so: celebrating the empowerment of masturbation, the book is as an apt guide to self discovery today as it was three decades ago, its message remaining: