There are more possible relationship issues that might arise from the global crisis now known as COVID-19 than there are stars in the sky. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not so far off. Whether you’re in quarantine or isolation, total or partial lockdown, or any version of these, the possible manifestations in your sexual and/or romantic relationships are endless. While some people are being thrust into situations that place them in crowded homes with children, partners, and even parents, others are suddenly finding themselves alone all day, everyday, without so much as a goldfish to wake up to. 

If you’re in quarantine apart from your romantic and sexual partner, you may be questioning whether absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder (rather than simply increasing your anxiety). And if you’re among those of us suddenly spending all day everyday in close quarters with a partner we already lived with before all this, you may be hungry (starving?) for solo time, sexually frustrated or out of sync, and/or losing patience—for starters. All of that said, you may actually be finding that your relationship has improved. Everyone is different, ya know?

But, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why pandemic-level confinement might adversely impact sanity and sexiness alike. If this resonates, here are 7 ways of dealing with said effects.


1. Give thanks

First things first. Take a moment to give thanks for your live-in partner, and the fact that you still get to share your life with them while so many others with different arrangements in place are going through all kinds of traumatic separation anxiety right now. Then, take a deep breath, and remember all the things you love about your S/O, why you decided to cohabit in the first place, and what turns you on about them. If you’re a list person, make a tangible list for each of these.


2. Give and take alone time

Maybe you don’t need to take the extra step of scheduling alone time under normal circumstances. But these are not normal circumstances. Don’t take it personally if your partner needs space, and equally, don’t feel bad about asking for space. Better yet, just have a loving discussion in which you both decide to simply take the space you need, regularly—whether it’s to masturbate, read, text friends, be creative, etc. If feasible, you might consider both taking solo time at once. Your relationship (and your sex life!) will thank you. In quarantine, absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

3. Make a schedule

Not sure how it happened, but somewhere along the line, I became someone who thrives on ritual, routine, and stable scheduling. In a different way, my live-in partner does as well. Normally, we’d both be up at dawn, and he’d go off to work while I’d work from home. We’d both be done by 4 and then we’d get together and chill, cook, get it on, etc. Now, I’m struggling with doing a fraction of my original workload from home while my partner is off work altogether and home all day. Like many other couples in isolation, we’re finding it hard to keep a schedule of any kind without those usual external enforcers: bosses, deadlines, etc. I strongly suggest sitting down together and coming up with a loose schedule to add a just bit of structure—include work time, solo time, and hey, why not schedule date night or sexy time too? Make everything count, I say. 


4. Don’t underestimate the importance of quality time (read: sex)

Speaking of date night, just because you’re quarantined together, doesn’t mean you’re making quality time for one another. In fact, chances are, you’re having a harder time doing so. If you’re one of those couples who live together yet rarely see each other due to conflicting schedules, now’s the time to reconnect. And if you’re one of those couple who live together and spend lots of time together yet are finding the obligatory nature of confinement is putting a strain on things, now’s also the time to reconnect. You might play boardgames, make a list of projects to accomplish together, exchange massages, redecorate your space, etc. Whatever you do though, don’t leave sex off your list. Now’s the time to explore one another’s bodies more, have prolonged sessions, come up with role play scenarios, and fulfill kinky fantasies. Sex is one of the most powerful stress-busters out there, after all. 

5. If you can—get fresh air and exercise

It’s no secret that fresh air and exercise do the body (and therefore the mind) good. If the specifics of your situation allow for going outside, take a daily walk, or run, or bike ride (while respecting social distancing, please). Research shows that time spent in nature can lessen anxiety and depression, so if you’re fortunate enough to be in proximity to a green space, get yours. Do this as a couple or apart, as desired. This will help with feelings of restlessness, irritability, and impatience, and ultimately make you a less reactive partner and a better lover. If you can’t go outside, you still got this: I’m talking balconies, open windows, YouTube yoga, exercise videos, jumping rope, etc. 


6. Talk to other people

Even if you’re a luddite at heart like me, calling, texting or video chatting with friends and family regularly can be a key ingredient in sustaining your sanity and keeping your desire to spend time with your partner intact. Checking in with others and hearing how they’re doing can also put your own challenges in perspective and make you feel less alone in your situation, or in your couple. Other people can also be an important source of humor and wisdom. Schedule social call time if need be.

7. Make communication your god(dess)

Every healthy couple fights, and that’s a fact. While communication is always integral to relationships, it’s even more important when you’re always together. Even in the midst of arguments, try to be empathetic, kind, and patient. If your sex drives are divergent during this time, know that this is fully a thing in times of crisis, and seek to talk it out—with compassion. Recognize that your partner faces their own unique set of challenges to their sanity—what with this global pandemic and all—just as you do. Be the lovers in a dangerous time that you were meant to be by choosing love over panic whenever possible.

Bottom line

Love is sweet, and sex is spicy. You deserve deliciousness. Tough times though these may be, being quarantined with a partner is an invaluable opportunity to grow—both as an individual and as a couple. If you’re with the right person, I’m confident you’ll come out the other end of this thing with a deeper, more meaningful relationship- and a healthier sex life. 

One love.