Although it’s still possible to score some sweet hook-up action right now, even with a pandemic in full effect, it’s clear that the game has changed quite a bit. Quite a few people have no real idea whether it’s safe to date right now at all, while others have a lot of unanswered questions as to how to proceed.
The good news is you don’t have to stop dating or hooking up because of the current COVID crisis. You just need to make a few adjustments to ensure you and your dates remain as safe as possible. Here are some tips for doing it right.
1. Choose apps over bars and clubs.
Even if you live in an area where most of the hot bars and clubs are still open, know that they’re some of the least COVID-safe places to meet someone right now, especially if you’re planning on getting horizontal. Not only is app-based dating a lot safer from that angle, but you’ll enjoy access to a lot more different people than you would at even the most popular local hot spot.
The key to success is to choose the right app for your needs. Many people default to Tinder simply because it’s what all their friends are using, but it’s not necessarily the best platform for those interested in casual sex. If you’re solely looking to make explicit connections and hook up eventually, try Mixxxer instead.
2. Get in the habit of having “the COVID talk.”
Think of COVID the same way you already do HIV and other STDs. Having casual sex responsibly means knowing your status at all times, as well as finding out about your partner’s before you decide to get down and dirty. Ensure that when you’re getting to know a new potential partner over chat or text message, you’re covering COVID at some point.
Most experts agree that doing this sooner rather than later is best. Definitely do it before ever meeting in person to assess the potential risk of becoming infected. Questions to ask one another include:
- Have you been able to work from home, or are you required to commute to an office?
- If you work outside your home, does your job require you to interact with other people – especially the general public?
- Do you spend time in public spaces like restaurants? How often?
- What precautions have you been taking to lower your risk of infection?
- Do you live with other people? If so, how do you keep track of each other’s potential exposure risks?
As with STDs, you must get comfortable talking about COVID. If someone you’re interested in refuses to have that discussion, consider it a red flag and reconsider accordingly.
3. Embrace virtual dating until you’re ready to meet in person.
Meeting up in person while the pandemic is still an issue isn’t off the table altogether. Still, in situations where there’s a question about whether one of you has been exposed, virtual dating can be a reliable way to get better acquainted. FaceTime and Skype make great ways to upgrade a voice-only phone conversation and get a better read on whether you’ll have chemistry in person.
Video chat can be a great way to get sexy with one another if you’re hot and bothered, as well. Go crazy putting on a show for one another. Explore your fantasies together. Talk about what you want to do together when you do finally meet in person. Not only is virtual dating super-hot in its own way, but it makes in-person sex extra satisfying by whetting your appetite first.
4. Know how to stay fully protected during in-person sex.
Ideally, both you and your partner have recently taken and passed a COVID test if you’re thinking of meeting up and getting intimate in person. If you’ve both spent the last two weeks quarantined without symptoms, that works, as well. The more confident the two of you can be that you’re not infected and haven’t been recently exposed, the lower the risk.
However, if you’re unwilling (or unable) to take either of the above precautions, there are additional protective measures you can consider. COVID is most likely to spread mouth to mouth via particles exhaled by the infected person and inhaled by their partner. Expert-recommended ways to lower the chances of this happening include:
- Taking mouth-on-mouth kissing off the table
- Choosing positions that don’t involve face to face contact
- Wearing masks if you do choose a face-to-face position
- Opting for oral sex instead of intercourse
COVID complicates the dating scene for those who are single, non-monogamous, or otherwise into a casual sex lifestyle. You don’t have to give it up altogether, though. Just switch things up a bit, and take a few extra precautions until the pandemic is over.