With Australia joining other countries in lockdown against the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are physically separated from partners or unable to go about their usual ‘social’ activities.
Sex on premises venues and brothels are closed, and permissible reasons to leave the home are being increasingly restricted.
Award-winning sexologist and relationship specialist Chantelle Otten says now is a great time to explore self-pleasure, whether you’re single or hooking up with someone remotely.
Take things into your own hands
“Masturbation doesn’t have to be a solo activity,” Otten says.
“Exploring mutual masturbation can be a great way of keeping intimacy alive in long-distance relationships as well.
“One of the biggest benefits is that it’s basically a masterclass on how your partner likes to be touched.”
Amid the current focus on physical distancing, Otten says masturbation is one of the safest kinds of sex, and has bonus health benefits from improving blood flow to boosting collagen production.
“Self-pleasure is a great natural source of pain relief and can also help to keep you fit and well by boosting your immune system,” she explains.
“Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, and can re-balance our levels of cortisol, a stress-inducing hormone.
“This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
“Masturbating is a well-known form of stress relief and can be the perfect before-bed activity to relax our bodies into sleep.”
She adds that masturbation should not be seen as inferior to other kinds of sex.
“Knowing how to navigate your genitals with a hand or a vibrator can also be a way for you to bring those sexy skills into the bedroom,” Otten says.
“It is empowering to understand your body and know what it is that you like and what feels good, and this knowledge and awareness can make our partnered sex lives so much more fun too!”
Try a virtual date
Partners who are physically separated can still have plenty of fun using technology – here are Otten’s top tips for a virtual date.
Clear your diary
First things first: set the date and time for your virtual date, just as you would if you were meeting in person.
Make sure there are no distractions and you have a good wi-fi connection.
Use your app of choice to connect with your partner (or partners) to eat a meal together.
If you have plenty of time, you could plan a meal to prepare and cook in tandem – make sure you each have all the ingredients in the house before date night.
Mealtime is a perfect opportunity for conversation and connecting, just like if you were sharing a meal in person.
You could each create a romantic setting with soft music and candles.
Watch a movie or play a game
You can still have a movie date night, even if you’re not in the same room.
A new Google Chrome extension, Netflix Party, allows you and your partner to snuggle in and watch a movie together.
You could also bring out your creative and playful sides with apps that let you play games together.
Houseparty is one new social networking service that lets you connect and play a range of party games and activities in a private room where you can see your partner onscreen.
Sex things up
If you’re having a video date, you could get things started with a sexy game like the Lovehoney Oh! Fantastic Foreplay Board Game – roll the dice and see what you’re dared to do or share next.
Otten says video sex can be “absolutely amazing” for connecting intimately and reigniting sexual sparks.
Spice up your playtime with app-controlled toys such as the Desire Luxury App Controlled Rechargeable Knicker Vibrator or Desire Luxury App Controlled Rechargeable Prostate Vibrator.
The special app gives your partner control of your stimulation, using new tech to connect you even if you’re in different time zones.
“It’s so exciting handing over control to someone who is not physically with you,” promises Otten.
The pandemic and physical distancing measures don’t mean the end of sex – just a time to get creative.