Coping with no sex: Alternatives for personal pleasure

Illustration of a person laying in bed with their arms up and clutching their sheets.
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For some, sex is an essential part of life. Getting off with someone else can make you feel good, relieve stress and potentially improve your health. Social distancing and the threat of COVID-19 pose challenges to regular appointments with sexual partners. Only you can decide what’s best for your health and well-being, but consider reviewing resources such as the sex and COVID-19 handout by the Tang Center’s Sexual Health Education Program.

Sex might not be available to you right now, but don’t let that disrupt your inner peace. If you’re missing some regular action, here are some alternatives for personal pleasure you can try right now. 

Get freaky on Zoom 

Phone sex is so 2019. Ask your sexual partner if they are interested in a Zoom call. Consent is essential for any sexual activity, including virtual sex. Never get naked or expose your genitals on a Zoom call without the consent of anyone who will be present. Once your partner has consented, schedule a meeting, plan a fantasy together and get freaky. 

Splurge on a toy or three 

Thank the internet for cheap sex toys delivered discreetly to your door. Babeland, GoodVibes, Overkink and Feel More 510 are good places to start. Not all sex toys are made equally, and while some cost more than $100, you don’t need to spend a lot to feel good. If you’re crafty, consider experimenting with DIY sex toys such as binder clip nipple clamps or condom-wrapped cucumbers. 

Explore sexual fantasies, ethical porn and erotica

You’d be surprised what your imagination can do for your sex life. Try writing or simply thinking about a sexual fantasy of your choice. Let your mind wander and forget judgment! When you’ve exhausted your imagination, watch ethical, well-vetted porn or read and listen to erotic texts. There are a lot of erotic libraries online. Even Spotify has erotic stories for you to listen to. 

Record yourself or use a mirror 

You are sexy, and you can definitely get off to yourself. Masturbating in front of a mirror can be exciting if you’re into it. Recording yourself on video or audio might also help you feel sexy; just be sure that you ask for consent before you send the footage to anyone. If it’s just for yourself, be sure to keep it in a safe place where people won’t stumble upon it. 

Learn about sex 

You know yourself better than anyone, especially when it comes to what turns you on. But you might want to consider talking to a counselor or sex professional. The Tang Center offers health coaching and workshops through the Sexual Health Education Program. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and learn more from others about sexuality, orgasms or sex in general. 

When it comes to sex, there isn’t a right or wrong way to enjoy yourself. Nobody can tell you what turns you on or what you should or shouldn’t do. Everybody’s different, and part of life is learning what gets you going and what doesn’t. However, if you choose to get off, just be sure to be safe and do what makes you feel good!

Contact Sera Smith at [email protected].