As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, people have now been isolating for weeks with no end date in sight. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York have ordered residents to shelter in place, and the CDC advises that we stay six feet away from one another.
Obviously, this is affecting every aspect of our lives, including sex and dating: App use is skyrocketing, masturbation is your best friend, and there are certainly ~creative~ alternatives to IRL hangs (ahem, sexy FaceTime). But for some women, the risk of getting or spreading the coronavirus doesn’t compare to their need for company and physical connection. Even if they know it’s so much safer and more responsible to stay inside, they don’t. As one woman told Cosmopolitan, “I’m lonely and bored—a dangerous combination.”
We spoke to six women who have broken social distancing rules in order to get laid. Here’s why they did it.
“He seems trustworthy. (Famous last words though, right?)”
“It is definitely challenging to be single during a time of social distancing. This is a period when couples get to become more intimate than ever and singles are feeling isolated. I had been engaging in a lot of fun sexting and video calls (sexual and get-to-know-you calls), but found I was missing human connection and sexual satisfaction while social distancing.
“A few weeks before we were asked to shelter in place, I began hooking up with someone somewhat regularly. I know that he has been extremely cautious and has kept a very small circle, hardly leaving his apartment at all. Well, I ‘know’ to the extent that I trust this guy who I met online a couple months ago. He seems trustworthy. (Famous last words though, right?)”
“Anyway, after 12 days of social distancing, I felt comfortable seeing him at his apartment while recognizing that this is still breaking the regulations. I made the excuse that my friends in relationships are with their significant others, so why should this be different? I think there is a risk and selfishness that is evident in making this decision and I feel bad on one hand, but on the other hand, I’m thinking, well…what’s done is done, so I guess we can keep hooking up for the next few weeks?” —Sophie, 24, California
“When the whole coronavirus crisis started, we had already been hanging out consistently.”
“My current boyfriend and I just started dating in early February. When the whole coronavirus crisis started, we had already been hanging out consistently and we just figured that since we were doing our part to prevent the spread by staying at home, that it wouldn’t be a big deal if we continued to hang out.
“We still stay at each other’s apartments. We live fairly close so it’s easy to take Ubers or cabs or just walk there. We don’t take the subway. We’ve been getting takeout and maintaining social distance from everyone else. But we just feel like since the level has already been set for us to hang out that we’ll be okay with what we’re doing.” —Sara, 29, Brooklyn, NY
“Since I’d already made out with this guy, I figured what’s the harm?”
“Yes, I am guilty of breaking the social distancing rules and yes, I am feeling very guilty about it. Apart from the simple horror of going from one to three to an unforeseeable about of months without a good hookup, I’m lonely and bored—a dangerous combination. Masturbation is great and abundant during these times, but I definitely find myself envying my coupled-up friends posting cuddly photos and romantic home-cooked meals. And I am weak!
“I had a date already set up for the first day we were ordered to shelter in place and admittedly, neither myself nor my date were taking it seriously. We both agreed we would stay six feet apart since it was just a walk on the beach. But this led to a few too many beers and a steamy little make-out on the beach. And then the car. And then the couch. Feeling guilty, I admitted to my roommate that I’d broken the rules and luckily (or maybe not luckily), he couldn’t be mad since he invited a Grindr date over that very night while I was out! The two of us laughed and promised we’d be better in the future.
“Since then, I’ve steered clear of my friends, but because I’d already made out with this guy, I figured what’s the harm? So I’ve gone over to his place a few times for a quick hookup. Weirdly, it’s been fun and lighthearted and purely physical. We get stoned, maybe play a few board games, and have great sex. Normally, I might want something more out of a hookup, but for some reason, this has felt sufficient for me. I’m just getting my fix.
“The dating apps have been blowing up and I’ve found myself participating with equal enthusiasm—chatting up guys, sending flirty texts with no intentions of meeting up, and rolling my eyes at corny quarantine pickup lines. I am more than two weeks into the shelter-in-place order and have gone on two dates with two other guys during this time, both walks on the beach. I have voiced my concern about the social distancing and both guys have been totally respectful of that. I’m still not sure if this makes it okay, but we kept our six feet and enjoyed a nice chat.
“For the record, I only plan on coming into physical contact with the OG hookup buddy until this is all over. I am definitely taking this far more seriously now. But the need for attention and sex has exceeded my usual requirements.”
—Anne, 26, San Francisco, CA
“I decided it was worth it for my mental health to be with my boyfriend.”
“I had been social distancing for two weeks when I decided to leave my home in Brooklyn and go to Philadelphia to be with my boyfriend. (We’ve been together for more than a year.) We decided things were only going to get worse, so now was the time to see each other and then let it be however long, maybe until May, to self-isolate apart until it’s safe to travel again. I’ve been staying with him for the past week because the coronavirus poses less of a threat here than where I live in New York and all his roommates have either gone home or to significant others’ places to wait out the pandemic, so he’s been living alone for the past couple of weeks.
“I was definitely hesitant to leave my apartment because of social distancing recommendations, but I decided it was worth it for my mental health to be with my boyfriend and have a change of scenery from my three-bedroom 800-square-foot apartment. We haven’t interacted with anyone in Philly and I am planning to go back to Brooklyn this week and stay there until the situation gets better in NYC.” —Rachel, 25, Brooklyn, NY
“My main reasons were just general loneliness and quarantining alone sucks.“
“I am newly single and this is the worst time to be quarantined after a five-year relationship! My ex and I broke up in January and at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to hit him up. My main reasons were just general loneliness and quarantining alone sucks. He came over to my place (which is technically still his permanent address) three times. But I’m immunocompromised, so I made him take a shower before doing anything. I had him change into my T-shirt and sweats. Romantic, right? I definitely felt guilty and more stupid than anything after the fact (beyond the normal ‘hooking up with your ex’ issues). But I also feel like I didn’t put anyone at risk but myself since he got into his own car and drove here. It’s not that different from going for a run!” —Elissa, 26, Hoboken, NJ
“The risk of seeing each other while we’re supposed to be social distancing reminded us a little of the sneaking around we did in the beginning.”
“My boyfriend and I live apart with our respective parents at the moment and we’ve gone for walks together, using his dog to make us look more couple-y to circumvent the police presence in our town. We both show no symptoms of the coronavirus but of course are aware anyone can have it. Still, we’ve been out for ‘walks’ that sometimes turn into hookups.
“Our sex life is very frequent and so the risk of seeing each other while we’re supposed to be social distancing reminded us a little of the sneaking around we did in the beginning, which selfishly, we missed. I started to feel bad about meeting up with him to hook up so I came clean to my sister, who shared her disappointment in me through her Miranda Priestly–like scour. But as she’s not Meryl Streep, I risked it again.
“When I saw my boyfriend the next time, I urged him to keep it as a platonic distance stroll in the country. But that lasted all of five minutes until we got to a more secluded part of a farm. In a split second, he pushed me up against the wall hard and worked his lips around my face and my neck (at this point I didn’t care if the virus took me right then and there!). I started to undo his belt until a nippy little Shih Tzu came pelting up screeching at us. We both looked up in unison to an extremely unhappy elderly man who told us to behave and not be ‘so weak.’ As we paused and stood up together feeling like two kids in detention, all we could think about was whether he should even be out in the first place considering he’s so high-risk.
“For the foreseeable future, we will remain apart. As the numbers rise, it gets more risky, so any sexual appetite will have to be satisfied through other means. But in that moment, we were unbelievably horny.” —Olivia, 24, West Sussex, UK