Living in a time of an unprecedented health crisis has drastically reshaped the way we go about our daily lives. With shelter-in-place restrictions and nightly curfews in place, the pandemic has significantly challenged the way we used to interact with each other – including romantically. Now that social distancing and self-isolation practices are our new normal, you may wonder, 'Can I hook up with a quarantine bae?' or 'Is sex off-limits – especially with someone I'm not living with?'
Whether you're looking for "Mr. Right" or "Mr. Right Now", COVID-19 has made connecting in person nearly impossible. The 'Rona has forced many of us to stay indoors for an unforeseeable amount of time and while you may be tempted to indulge in some quarantine-peen, you may want to think again.
While coronaviruses aren't strictly transmitted through sex, the virus can spread through direct contact with saliva or mucus – which can include kissing, licking, breathing on each other and a whole host of other freaky acts.
Couples who live together have the least amount of risk, especially since they already share a living space – but what happens if you don't have an in-house partner to ride out the quarantine with (literally and figuratively speaking)? Or what happens if you're just looking for someone to connect with during these difficult and unpredictable times?
While it may seem that your love life is on lockdown, it doesn't have to be. Chanta Blue, sex and relationship therapist and co-founder of the Blue Counseling & Wellness Center, offers pro tips on how to navigate the new dating scene while abiding by the social distancing measures.
"Like many things in our society right now, COVID-19 has changed the landscape of dating, sex, and relationships in general," Blue said. "There is also this belief that if you are in the home with your partner, you should be having a lot more sex since you have more time. This can be the case for some folks, but for others the state of social distancing is very stressful, and sex is the last thing that they want to think about."
"On the other hand, there are a lot of folks who are single and are trying to find ways to help reduce feelings of loneliness and get their emotional and sexual needs met," she explained. "Prior to COVID-19, singles were meeting at bars and clubs, hooking up with folks they met on dating apps or simply going on dates. Now that all social events and establishments are closed, and the threat of contracting a [potentially] fatal virus is real, singles are limited to virtual platforms for romantic and sexual connections."
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.
Reports show that dating apps have hit an all-time high thanks to the quarantine – new matches are even taking their first dates digital! "Singles are finding that they have a lot more time to engage in online dating now that they can't go out to bars or restaurants," Blue said.
"When virtual dating, just like when dating in-person, it's still important to understand what you're looking for in a potential partner. Are you looking for fun and hookups, or are you looking for commitment and long-term connections? I encourage folks to look at their relationship needs on six different levels: intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, physical and sexual. Then, start looking for your ideal partner."
Once you establish interest and rapport with a match, Blue suggests planning virtual dates to help get to know each other better. "If you have the space and privacy, set up a scene," she explained. "You can have picnics, watch movies together or go for long walks while video chatting."
Flood your brain with happy hormones.
In times of great anxiety and stress, you may have the desire to want to connect with someone on an emotional and physical level. "It's totally natural for people to crave physical and emotional connection with others during this time," Blue said. "We are social beings and need each other to survive."
"It's encouraged that people do not get physical with anyone who they're not quarantining or self-isolating with," she added. "With that being said, if you do find someone to weather the storm with, just try to take proper precautions to keep yourself and everyone in your home safe."
Blue explained how physical activities such as sex, hugging, kissing, and cuddling produces a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is known as the "love hormone" or the "cuddle hormone" and helps us bond with the people we care about.
"Unfortunately, it's really difficult to replace the feelings that we get from connecting with people in-person but there are a few things folks can try to increase their levels of oxytocin," she said. Blue recommended the following tips for heightened levels of this happy hormone:
- Self-massages (if physically able)
- Warming yourself with a weighted or heated blanket
- Listening and/or dancing to music
Looking for lovin’? Cyber sex is the way to go.
"There are so many great ways to satisfy sexual feelings with a partner during this time, even if you are not in the same home. Think of it as a long-distance relationship and get creative," Blue suggested.
According to the clinical sexologist, sexting is a great way to start off if you're nervous or just want to build some anticipation. Sexting can range anywhere from sharing your sexual fantasies to sending flirty thirst traps or full-on nudes!
"Scheduling phone or video chat sex sessions with each other is also a great way to sexually connect. With these methods, you get to express your wants and desires with your partner and get a sexual release at the same time. As you're sharing what positions you want to put them in or how wet you're getting, you can be mutually masturbating," Blue suggested. "Mutual masturbation, which is masturbating in front of or next to your partner while they are also masturbating, can be super arousing."
If you are feeling adventurous, Blue suggests investing in a remote or app-controlled vibrator to further enhance the experience (from a distance, of course). Watching porn together during these sessions can also be a great stimulator.
"One thing to remember though -- you want to first make sure that all parties consent to sending and receiving sexual content," Blue advises. "Also, it's important to talk about boundaries and expectations whenever you're trying something new. If you are concerned about your images or video sessions being leaked, I always say 'no face, no case'. Try keeping your face out of explicit pictures, video shots or during video sex sessions."
While there's so much we have yet to learn about the virus, the New York City Department of Health offers a key piece of advice: The safest person to have sex with is yourself. Additionally, with all the extra time we have on our hands, now's the perfect moment to put them to use.
"Masturbation is the best way to learn your body and establish the basics of your sexual likes and dislikes. Exploring your own body through masturbation can bring so much pleasure and has many other health benefits," said Blue. "Masturbation has been found to reduce headaches and menstrual cramps, release tension and stress, improve sleep and boost your self-esteem! Also, having an orgasm is another way to release oxytocin."
"There are many different ways to masturbate that can keep you from getting bored. You can change up your position -- if you always masturbate on your back, try standing up against a wall or turning over on your stomach," Blue suggested. "You can also try adding a toy such as a vibrator or a butt plug. I know Amazon is cracking down on 'non-essential' items but this might be a great time to support small businesses by finding an online sex toy boutique or reaching out to a sex toy consultant."
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy