It’s no secret that the pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of our lives; from the workplace to the way we socialize – including our sex lives. The days of going to bars and playing wingman or ending up stumbling into the back of an Uber XL with a stranger are long behind us. Back in the day – and by that I mean, 2019 – we would fear hooking up with strangers due to the risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or viral infections. However, nowadays the greatest risk of all is contracting COVID or the highly contagious new delta variant.
Now, more than ever, people are relying on virtual dating solutions such as Tinder, Grinder or Bumble to connect to other people during a time where casual socialization might be considered dangerous, and quite frowned upon. In an effort to keep things fresh, younger generations are leaning more and more on virtual solutions and dating applications. In fact, recent research gathered by the Statista Research Department revealed that Millennials in the United States are using dating apps 31% more during the pandemic.
For some however, the issue isn’t necessarily getting someone in the bedroom – it’s keeping them there. The first couple of flings might have been running on pure adrenaline, which always helps make things fun. Sex can feel naughty, even in our adult lives. However, having sex with the same partner can create a subconcious pattern and can even turn into a monotonous routine after a certain period of time.
At Condomania, a New York-based one-stop sex shop, our team has made communicative safe-sex its priority since 1991. We believe the key to having mutual, strong and eye-rolling connections during sex is through consistent, open communication methods. Here are a few ways to approach your partner about keeping things fun and fresh in the bedroom, even during quarantine.
It Never Hurts to Ask
Like any good partner, begin by asking your significant other (or casual hook-up) what they’re comfortable with exploring. Consent and consistent communication are key when trying to explore new ideas in the bedroom. This can be done in a variety of ways!
Start by writing down a list of things you’ve been curious about trying, but have never had the opportunity to explore. Role play, bondage, and even playing with sex-toys can be a fun way to stir things up in the bedroom. Place these ideas in a hat, or buy a pair of die and roll for a number. Depending on what you select or the number you land upon, you should have your next idea for what to try in the bedroom.
There are also several templates available online, such as this one, that come in the form of a checklist. Try going through this checklist with your partner and try to gauge each other’s willingness to try new things. Many of these checklists are flexible, and do not require simply a yes or no answer. If you are both hesitant about using sex toys, for example, simply mark the box that says “maybe.”
Use What You Have to Your Advantage
Using what you already have, or what you already know, can be an exciting way to mix things up in the bedroom. If your partner is familiar, and comfortable with using sex toys in the bedroom, this can provide an exciting – and sometimes rewarding – new sexual experience.
Relying on your five senses is also an incredibly underrated strategy when looking to expand upon ideas to use during sex – or leading up to it. While sometimes considered an eye-roll inducing cliche, music and fun colorful lighting can transform a once “vanilla” sex encounter into something completely different. Try creating a “sexytime” playlist and sharing it with your partner to play during sex, or simply taking turns blindfolding each other and exploring each other’s bodies are fantastic ideas to incorporate to foreplay and increase the sexual tension in any scenario.
There are also a variety of different condoms, lubes, essential oils and sensory toys couples can use to try to boost their experiences in the bedroom. For instance, Condomania sells condoms that provide a sensory experience for both men and women. Ultra-thin condoms allow men and women to practice safe sex, while providing the illusion that they are not. Moreover, Condomania’s website also possesses a wide variety of different lubricants – including those that heat up or cool down when they make contact with human skin.
While using food in the bedroom – such as chocolate or whipped cream – is often critcized for leading to accidental yeast infections, men can experiment by purchasing flavored condoms, also available via Condomania, to practice safe oral sex with their respective partners.
Vibrators are incredibly powerful sensory tools, often preferred by women, that add an extra element of touch that may not be achievable by simply using one’s hands. Condomania’s website provides insight into a wide array of vibrators to suit each individual’s needs. Couples can explore different brands of vibrators with customizable vibration speeds and patterns to take sex to the next level.
Playing with blindfolds or colorful lighting and relying on touch, taste, smell and music can completely transform a sexual encounter between two people, leaving more room for intimacy and exploration in the future.
Why Role Play is Here to Stay
Despite being less common among millennials and other younger generations, role play is a great way to step outside of a safe-comfort zone. Role play involves a detachment of self. It allows all participants involved to become someone else – someone who maybe might be comfortable having sex in a new environment or wearing something completely different.
While roleplay is usually associated with cheesy nurse or school-girl costumes, it doesn’t always have to be this cliche. Roleplaying can be as simple as changing up your name for the evening, putting on a nice outfit and planning to meet each other at a new location – such as a hotel. Some couples like to approach roleplay by participating in a classic cat and mouse chase, where one participant is charged with “picking-up” their partner, while pretending they have never met each other at all.
Couples can expand as much or as little as they’d like with roleplay. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
Harnessing the Power of the Internet
Last, but certainly not least, couples can take advantage of the power of the internet to create a whole new sexual experience in the bedroom. Using the internet can help intimate couples in a variety of ways, particularly when looking for new ideas to use in bed or new ways to create sexual tension.
Depending on each participant’s preferences and willingness to try new things, watching an X-Rated film together or reading through a sexy book all about different sex positions can be an excellent way to either gain inspiration and new insights as to what to try in the bedroom – and can be a fun way to increase suspense.
Moreover, consenting adults can also opt to send each other naughty pictures and videos – provided that each individual is over the age of 18 – as a way to show off their bodies and build anticipation for what’s to come (wink, wink) later in the bedroom. For women, this can include wearing lingerie sets or playing with different environments and lighting to try to tease their partner. If photos aren’t up your alley, voice notes are also a great way to play around the visual senses and rely purely on audio to create suspense for later on.
While COVID may have put a damper on the social-side of sex, the global pandemic doens’t have to entirely rain on our parades…or our one night stands. Additionally, while it may seem intimidating to openly discuss sex, open communication is the only way sex can ever improve for both parties in the long run. Communication is actually the most powerful tool couples can use in the bedroom. As long as couples practice safe, consistent and consensual sex, the possibilities for having a good time, even during quarantine, are virtually limitless.