Does social distancing mean no sex?
As we all try our best to navigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s lots of aspects of our lives that we can adapt relatively easily. #TakeItOnline is a call to action that has widespread application.
But what about sex?
Sure, there’s lots of ways we can explore virtual encounters, and we’re all getting pretty good at being camera-ready just in case there’s an option of some online fun. But the need for physical intimacy is fairly fundamental – often overriding logic and our better judgement.
The short answer is that sex is off the table.
In this context, we’re talking about sex that is a physical, face-to-face encounter. The kind of action where you’re getting together with someone, getting naked, getting sweaty, and bodily fluids are being exchanged left, right, and centre.
The exception to this is if you’re lucky enough to already be living with someone that you can have sex with. Social distancing really only applies to people outside of your immediate household.
How is Covid-19 transmitted during sex?
The primary way that Covid-19 is transmitted from one person to another is through respiratory droplets. That includes air-borne droplets (when someone coughs or sneezes) as well as surfaces that the droplets have come into contact with.
Covid-19 isn’t a sexually transmitted infection, but having sex with someone generally includes kissing, spitting, and licking – all of which would enable the virus to spread through respiratory droplets.
There has also been some evidence of oral-fecal transmission of the virus. That means that you could probably get it from rimming someone who is carrying the virus.
How long will I have to wait until I can have sex again?
No one really knows, and the experience might be different depending on where you live. The more successful we are at containing and controlling the spread of the virus and the impact of the virus, the sooner we’re going to be able to move beyond the current restrictions.
If you’re stuck at home without a sexual partner, you can masturbate, you can virtual hook-ups with guys that you meet through dating apps, and you can plan ahead to line up future dates for a total sex-fest once that becomes an option.
If you do break the social distancing restrictions for a hook-up so you can scratch that itch, you’re most likely contributing to the spread of the virus, you’re putting your health at risk, you’re putting the health of your hook-up at risk, and you’re increasing the likelihood of harm to the wider community – particularly the more vulnerable members of our community.
Man-up. Physical intimacy can wait. In the meantime, #TakeItOnline.
Experience intimacy vicariously through the movies
If you’re feeling a bit frustrated at the lack of physical intimacy in your life, you can always turn to film and television for a bit of a vicarious fix of man-on-man action.
Sex on screen doesn’t necessarily reflect the kind of sex that we have in real life. It can range from the laughably ridiculous, to logistically impossible, to downright offensive, to chaste and boring, to the rare scene that is authentically arousing.
You can understand why filmmakers will often opt for a relatively sanitised version of what happens when two guys have sex – the real thing is often sweaty, physical, intense, and often with a few breaks for lubrication, re-hydration, and a few giggles.
Queer movies don’t have to include sex scenes, but if the story requires a sex scene, then let’s see the sweat, let’s see the hunger, let’s see the uncertainty, let’s see the lube, the laughter, the tears, and aftermath - your bedroom unrecognisable, bedclothes crumpled, furniture re-arranged.
Here’s some on-screen sex scenes worth checking out if you’ve got man-on-man action on your mind.
We liked the way that Andrew Haigh handled the sex scenes in the television series Looking - there was always bit of a discussion and a bit of negotiation before it was agreed as to who was doing what and the guys got down to business. That felt real.
There was a Brazilian/German movie a few years ago that also nailed the sex scenes. It was called Futuro Beach - it was a solid movie, without being great, but the sex scenes really stood out as showing what happens when the bodies of two men crunch together, their desires unleashed. It wasn’t pretty, it often looked painful, but it reflected the reality not the fantasy.
Stranger by the Lake
It’s kind of annoying when a film or TV program purports to show queer guys having sex and it’s a quick kiss and then a lot of satisfied moaning. It diminishes our ability to buy into the story.
Obviously, different countries have different censorship requirements, and different attitudes as to what can be shown on screen when you’re portraying a man-on-man encounter.
For example, the French seem to have a flair for it. In Alain Guiraudie’s film Stranger by the Lake, he used body-doubles and inter-cut actual sex scenes to bring a sense of reality to the narrative.
Theo and Hugo
We loved Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s film Theo and Hugo. A French film, it didn’t just portray sex between guys, it delivered it for real – the opening scene is an extended immersion into a gay sex club. Body-doubles weren’t used for the close-ups, it was the actors fully committing to their characters and the experiences being portrayed.