Without a doubt, the pandemic has made a catastrophic impact on our lives, changing whom we see, how we study, our job prospects and our health concerns. Perhaps the crisis is nowhere more acutely felt — or touch more glaringly absent — than in our sex lives. While our sexuality feels more insular than ever, the choice to date, or not, has taken on the burden of a public health crisis, as we weigh our desires with the latest case count and try to think clearly against the natural nonsense of romance.
Not needing to plan elaborate dates, this Valentine’s Day season, we’ve been free to compile the Sex issue, in which we reflect on past romantic encounters and look to the future. One day, we will again meet people at parties and have crushes in classes, but for now, we will just have to make do with kissing through the phone.
In an admirable effort to stay sane, students have turned to one of the 21st century’s greatest and most controversial innovations: the dating app.
— Samantha Lim
I’ve learned a lot about myself this past year, and I wouldn’t have been able to do so without a forced hiatus from dating and hookup culture.
— Mia Horne
It’s become more acceptable for women to be openly interested in sex. What about the years of generational shame and trauma that lay below the surface?
— Dina Katgara
Given the catastrophe that was 2020, I think we can all agree we could use some ways to relieve stress. And what better way to relax than through an orgasm?
— Stella Kotik
Like far too many others, I’m guilty of faking a climax during sex. If lying about orgasms was a crime, I’d be serving life in prison.
— Natalie Gott
Even though my first time may not have been the pure ecstasy I wanted, it confirmed what I held in my mind to be true: You can be a virgin and still have kinks.
— Annie Lin
As pole dancing becomes an increasingly popular exercise form and enters mainstream media, two UC Berkeley students shared their experience as pole artists.
— Sebastian Cahill
When racist, misogynist and abusive pornographic depictions are monetized, those themes seep into the understandings of sexuality we carry with us for the rest of our lives.
— Luke Stiles
If users are unable to recognize that dating apps are making the courtship process easier, then they may struggle with long-term relationships down the line.
— Amrita Bhasin
In a typical year, more than 1,800 UC Berkeley students apply for a visa, get their passports stamped and move into some small apartment far from Berkeley. Navigating their new surroundings, students often turn to not only Google Maps but also dating apps to orient themselves.
— Francesca Hodges and Ruby Sutton