- My Sex With Face Masks Lasted All of 30 Seconds
- As a PA Seeing Covid Patients, I Only Wanted to Hook Up With Other Healthcare Workers
- I Moved in With my Boyfriend and His Wife
- Lunchtime Sex Made Me More a Productive Worker
- My Husband Left Me for Someone Else. I Was Pregnant With Our Fifth Kid.
- We’re Swingers Who Rejected More Than 60 Sex-Party Invites in the Past Year
- Happy Hour Became Masturbation Hour
- Getting Brunch-Drunk and Secretly Making Out With My Server
- After Decades of Marriage, We Were Only Having Sex Twice a Year. So We Used the Pandemic to Do Therapy.
- A Sex Partner Asked If She Could Call Me Fauci
- Covid Safety Conversations Actually Turned Me On
- How I Added My New Boyfriend to Our Polyamorous Pod
- Between Covid and the Toll of Black Lives Matter Protests, My Wife and I Didn’t Have Sex for Months
- Through a Kinky Habit-Tracking App, I Get Spanking Sessions for Completing Chores
- I Was Rapunzel: He Climbed a Rope to Sneak Into My Group House
- We Moved In Together and Had Tons of Sex—Until My Partner Got Long-Term Covid Side Effects
- With the Kids in Zoom School, We Do It in the Car or Hot Tub
- I Started Dating Women in 2020
- I Became Disabled in 2020 and Had to Relearn Pleasure
- How I Started Bottoming
- 2020 Was Finally Going to Be My Year to Date and Find a Partner.
- I Got Engaged and Married in the Same Year
- “Hide Your Car”: Attending Underground Swingers Parties
- Guys on Dating Apps Asked Me to Hook Up Because I Looked Covid-Safe
- Virtual Sex-a-Thons With Our Long-Distance Girlfriend
- I Went From One-Night Stands to Having Sex With Someone in My Pod
- I Wasn’t Attracted to Them Once We Were Inside and Unmasked. But I Was Horny, So . . .
- My Ex Tried to Hook Up With Others While Living With My Immunocompromised Mom
- My Group-House Roommate and I Started Having Sex in Secret
My Sex With Face Masks Lasted All of 30 Seconds
Justin Bensan, 30:
“I am in an open relationship; my boyfriend lives in New York. I have, like, maybe five or six friends-with-benefits in a normal year, globally. I went home for a month to LA, and I have a friend there. That was sort of a struggle because it’s the same conversation: Have you been behaving during the pandemic? We did actually attempt some Covid-safe sex. So, like, keep the N95 mask on, don’t face each other. In the back of my head, I knew we weren’t going to keep doing it, but it was also a way to keep it exciting. Like, we could try this new kinky thing where we leave the masks on and see where that goes—maybe the withholding would be its own sort of pleasure. That lasted for, like, 30 seconds before we just did our normal thing [rimming]. And one of the few things the CDC has been very clear about—that is a very high-risk activity, don’t do it. Um. I am a gay man, so. I felt most guilty about that back in LA, just ’cause I was with my family.”Back to Top
As a PA Seeing Covid Patients, I Only Wanted to Hook Up With Other Healthcare Workers
Andrea Donohoe, 30, Alexandria, ER and ICU physician assistant:
“My dating and sex life became nonexistent. Work at a Covid ICU was just so crazy. I was pretty leery about interacting with people. No matter how much PPE I wear, there’s always the concern that I can bring it home. It’s been terrible, taking care of sick, dying people. Guys would try and hang out, and after a long shift I’m not emotionally available. My job is to take care of people that are dying younger than me, having to call their parents. After somebody dies, I’ll just sit and cry sometimes. I don’t feel sexy. My nice bras are collecting dust in my underwear drawer.
“During the summer of 2020, if I would want to meet up with somebody, I would screen them first to make sure this person is actually interesting, because working 55 hours a week, I only get a day or two off here or there. I’ve gotten so thirsty for some of these doctors at the hospital. It’s so much fun to look at the eye candy. They’re stressed, we’re stressed. At least we have something in common.
“One guy I was talking with was like, ‘I made dinner reservations.’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s probably been over a year since somebody made dinner reservations for me.’ My emotional side is saying, ‘I’m sure he’s going to pay and he’s going to treat you like a lady and you get to dress up.’ And then the other half of me is like, ‘What the f— are you thinking? You could get Covid from this person.’
“I met an ER doctor on Tinder. We ended up having sex. I have more of an innate trust with a medical professional, as opposed to somebody just living at home on a computer all day. I didn’t feel like I was going to get anything or like anything bad was going to happen. It felt like old times. We talked about work, and it was a nice venting session.
“I’m vaccinated now. My threshold’s dropped a little bit. I feel a lot better. I’m looking forward to going back out and meeting people outside of medicine.”Back to Top
I Moved in With my Boyfriend and His Wife
S.S., 46, Arlington, tech:
“My partner and his wife are in their fifties. I was coming apart. He was like, ‘Well, you could test, quarantine, and move in here for a couple weeks.’ We talked about the logistics for about a month. How will we do laundry, together or separate? How will we sleep? The first time, I stayed in the finished basement with its own entrance until I got my test results, then moved to the upstairs guest room. Early on, it was hard for her to see us being goofy, hugging in the kitchen, or hearing us having sex through the walls. But she knows just because he’s having sex with me doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to have sex with her or doesn’t love her.
“We started off alternating between me and his wife every night. That got overwhelming for all of us. Now it’s two days with each of us. Often on Sundays, we all pull out our calendars; they use paper calendars, and I use Google. There are times when just because it’s her night doesn’t mean that I don’t feel like having sex. But it’s her time, so I go to bed. That kind of sucks. For the most part, it’s worked out really well. Well enough that I’ve stayed with them again and again, for longer and longer each time. Now we’re considering me moving in for real.”
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Lunchtime Sex Made Me More a Productive Worker
“Sex is something one always enjoys, but when the urge strikes and you’re right there and can take care of it, it’s really ideal—like, what else do you want to kind of energize in the middle of the workday? We’ve kinda made a habit out of it. At lunchtime, two or three times a week. We make some pretext to both be in the bedroom at some time, so that’s kinda the joke—it’s like, ‘Would you come look at this thing?’ Or ‘Do you want to take a break?’ It’s usually pretty quick. A lot of people I know, their relationship went sour. Ours really improved, also because we decided to get married.
“Now people are basically saying, ‘We’re not going to go back to work five days a week,’ and so that becomes a question: Do we plan to have the same days at home so we can have sex in the middle of the day? That’s a good idea, right? The thing that distracts you during the day—and this is everybody—your mind wanders off and you start thinking about sex. So to be able to address that urge . . . helps with focus. If I’m going to work at the end of the evening, it’s nice to have sex right before that. Nothing makes me feel more focused than that.”Back to Top
My Husband Left Me for Someone Else. I Was Pregnant With Our Fifth Kid.
J., 37, Gainesville, stay-at-home mom:
“In 2019, I found out that my husband was having an affair with a coworker. He suggested that we become sister wives. He wanted to stay married and wanted her to move in with us. She was pregnant via a different partner. We had four children. I was like, ‘If we’re going to stay married, you’re going to stop talking to her.’ We tried to move on; I got pregnant with number five. But in February 2020, I found messages—they were sexting and sending videos and pictures. So I kicked him out. Then, of course, March 13—the kids aren’t going back to school. I was pregnant and alone with our four children. Because of his job, he had been quarantined a couple times and ended up not seeing the kids very often. Zoom classes—that was all me. I had our fifth in June 2020. Around that time, she and my ex-husband got pregnant. The day before our divorce was final in February 2021, she had their child. You can’t make this stuff up.
“I started talking to a couple of guys—we had mutual friends, and a couple I met on a dating site. I did vet people. It was a couple of weeks to months to figure out if we were going to get along. Covid made me mindful of my choices. I was only talking to men who had children, so I was confident they were also being cautious.
“I met someone, and we hit it off. We get together when the kids are with their dad. The sex is way better with him. Both of us being divorced, we definitely know what we like and what we don’t. It’s the best of both worlds. I don’t have to worry about being married to him, and I still get to sleep with him.”Back to Top
We’re Swingers Who Rejected More Than 60 Sex-Party Invites in the Past Year
Leah, 36, government attorney, and Richard, 49, finance, Georgetown:
Richard: “I started swinging in 1994 and never turned back.”
Leah: “I’ve been involved since about 2003. There’s a very high percentage of Republicans, despite all of the uptightness, and a fair number of people involved in government. Military folks. It’s not a bunch of hippies—it’s a lot of extremely professional types.”
Richard: “I’ve had great political conversations lying around naked with people in the past. Pre-pandemic, we would host about four parties a year.”
Leah: “We’d go to five outside of that. We probably had a thing to go to once a month, whether it was a meet-and-greet or a party party. This past year, mostly it was a shift because it was such a big part of our social life. Our sex life didn’t change a whole lot. The more frustrating thing for us has been watching people where—just a couple months in—they decided, ‘You know what, I don’t care anymore, I’m gonna host a party.’ We actually have a list—like, if you were one of these people, we’re not interested, ever. Sorry.”
Richard: “People were like, ‘You have to wear masks to come in.’ At a play party, you’re going to wear masks? That’s gonna be interesting. We’ve probably gotten easily 60 or so invites. In the last three months, it’s almost weekly—from people I don’t even know.”
Leah: “Some of them are saying, ‘We’re only letting people in who’ve been vaccinated.’ Are you really asking everybody for their proof? I am going to trust a random person on the internet to be doing this—do I look stupid? A lot of the people we would not have been interested in to start with. But there have been, like, ten people that we’ve [rejected] that we’re actually sad about.”
Richard: “One of the forums I’m on had this question, like, ‘What are you going to do when the pandemic is over?’ Basically: I’m going on a bender of playing with people. We have a year and a half to make up for.”Back to Top
Happy Hour Became Masturbation Hour
J., 36, Arlington, designer:
“I have not had any sex life—I have not even kissed anyone. I do not sleep with men on a first or second date. At the beginning of quarantine, I bought a dildo, and oh, my God, it is the largest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’s like the size of my arm—just comically large. I don’t know what to do with it. It’s sitting in my underwear drawer, this huge, pink dildo. So that was a fail. But I have three or four trusty vibrators. Those have definitely gotten used. When you’re working from home, it’s hard to put your computer down at the end of the workday and transition. Masturbation is something to turn my brain off. Before this, I was never the person who would be out at a crowded bar bumping into strangers. But I’ve found myself craving that. I cannot wait to get out to a bar and meet a sweaty stranger.”Back to Top
Getting Brunch-Drunk and Secretly Making Out With My Server
Amy Schwartz, 35, Brookland, tech:
“I was drunk during a Sunday brunch at Takoda. He was our server. I never saw him without the mask; all I could see was his eyes. After he gave me his number, I texted him: ‘Downstairs? You wanna quick make out in the hall?’ That was not my best choice, probably very unsanitary.”
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After Decades of Marriage, We Were Only Having Sex Twice a Year. So We Used the Pandemic to Do Therapy.
S.M., 69, Annandale, retired:
“Over 25 years of marriage, we had slowly petered off in the sex department. It was down to once or twice a year. It started while she went through menopause, and I also have erectile-dysfunction issues. But neither of us was willing to do anything about it. Then when we were stuck at home, staring at each other all the time, we decided to do something. The pandemic made it obvious that something had to happen. We found a marriage counselor-slash-sex-counselor who helped us open up communication and understand each other and told us, ‘Just schedule [sex] once a week. It’s not going to be as spontaneous as your thirties.’
“Now we have sex weekly. Our fun time is on the schedule as Tuesdays at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. We’re old enough that by the end of the day, we’re tired. So after lunch was good—we’re both functional and awake, we’ve had enough to eat, we’re not cranky. And the light coming in with the shades partly drawn is nice. Over the months, we’ve bought a couple sex toys. We’ve done a little light bondage. I tie my wife up. She’s not very good at knots. We’re trying to get back to what we did when it was fresh and exciting. We didn’t realize our sex life was going downhill because our emotional intimacy was going downhill. So getting back to where we’re a team again and we’re emotionally open and trusting—life is so much better.”Back to Top
A Sex Partner Asked If She Could Call Me Fauci
Nicholas, 26, NoMa, lawyer:
“My entire sex life since summer 2020 has consisted of dating apps—meeting someone in a bar is a no-go. During that time, I probably had three or four dates a week. There were six or seven people that I hooked up with. I wasn’t going home to see my family, so I wasn’t worried about getting Covid. There were a couple of women who made it pretty clear they were over the restrictions and they just couldn’t be alone.
“There are people on the apps that want to do something socially distanced or on Zoom. I would hit the X button. It has nothing to do with not respecting how people feel about Covid. But a slow build isn’t what I wanted. There was a girl—we met in Old Town. We hit it off the first date. We had been sexting and I was like, ‘You should come over.’ But she had a roommate and didn’t want to expose her. So she suggested that we go to my rooftop and have sex outside. That was something I hadn’t done yet. Another girl did ask if she could call me Fauci during sex. She said it with a straight face. I pretended that I didn’t hear and kept going, because how do you even address that? I’m not going to say yes, because that’s going to be weird. And if I say no, that kills the vibe. She didn’t say anything else, and she never called me Fauci. I think the only way you can make that weirder is if she had brought a Fauci mask and asked me to put it on.”Back to Top
Covid Safety Conversations Actually Turned Me On
N.S., 48, Alexandria, Smithsonian employee:
“I’m divorced and met someone through a friend. There was an instant attraction. On the third date, we started getting physical, but before we did, there was a lot of conversation about Covid circles, like an STD conversation before. ‘Who have you been around when you’ve taken your mask off?’ It really turned me on, strangely enough. It’s a very intimate and a very trusting conversation to have. If you want me to take off my mask and my clothes, I need to be confident that this is a safe environment. Once things were clarified, it was very liberating—I could do whatever I wanted and practice safe sex. It brought us closer. The sex was very good! There was a stronger bond that gave me confidence—a nice transition to jumping back into the dating world.”Back to Top
How I Added My New Boyfriend to Our Polyamorous Pod
Rebecca Rose Vassy, 47, Montgomery County, freelance writer/burlesque performer:
“I am a queer polyamorous kinky person, and I’ve lived pretty much my entire adult life with my partner. He has another long-term partner who lives nearby with her husband and kid. When everything shut down, I decided: Maybe this is a good time to get brave about approaching my crushes. I had been friends with this guy in this Facebook group, and turns out he was interested. But afterward, my partner was hospitalized with chronic illness. We were isolated in our own household, and his partner hadn’t been able to see him, which obviously is extra distressing.
“We don’t have a real hierarchy in our relationship. For all intents and purposes, she’s as important to him as I am, so it didn’t seem fair that they wouldn’t be able to see each other for God knows how many months. And it wasn’t realistic to manage the logistics of life completely on our own. There were weeks where he could barely do anything for himself—I had to put his shoes on for him. So we negotiated really carefully with her and her immediate household and one of her husband’s partners to form a little pod. It’s a high level of trust, obviously, to keep this as tight as it was. The simple act of his partner making dinner was a Godsend. She’s a pharmacist, so she’s really good at navigating medical stuff, helping with setting up appointments. It was honestly a lifesaver.
“I kinda took a chance on getting my new boyfriend to be my Covid plus-one. It was a big thing, to come in and be like, ‘Hey, everyone! There’s this guy I’ve been talking to online. He’s totally isolated and on the same protocols as we are, so is that cool?’ It was a slow process, taking steps, like me and him meeting outside so that we could kinda make sure that the chemistry was there in person—and that it wasn’t a complete waste of everyone’s time. Beyond my household, everyone was like, ‘If you guys have all signed off on this, we’re willing to give it a shot.’ The relationship just completely took off—we fell wildly in love. We see each other all the time.”Back to Top
Between Covid and the Toll of Black Lives Matter Protests, My Wife and I Didn’t Have Sex for Months
Robert, 38, Fairfax, IT manager:
“Five people we know died from Covid. The anxiety slowed everything down with my wife. I’m African American, so for me last year was also really about racial equality. For the first time, I really felt afraid, especially in Fairfax—I’m surrounded by people who don’t look like me and a political environment and a pandemic that in part is stoked by politics and not science. Prior to Covid, we had sex pretty regularly, several times a month. It was months before we started again. To our credit, we shifted into other ways of enjoying each other. We jumped into shows that we haven’t watched before, like Schitt’s Creek; we did puzzles. We switched from physical intimacy to an emotional intimacy around things we could do together that would help with the depression.
“The topic of sex did not come up until the summer. We got out of town, somewhere in northern Maryland at a log cabin, and just shut everything out and focused on one another and finally had sex. And it was like we’d never missed a beat. Now we’re back to, like, once a month, but really not the pre-pandemic levels.”Back to Top
Through a Kinky Habit-Tracking App, I Get Spanking Sessions for Completing Chores
“We’re using Obedience, a kinky-flavored habit-tracker app, as something that we can do when we’re not physically able to see each other. He assigns me tasks that aren’t terribly sexy—self-care or chores—and I get reward points. Eat three meals a day, pick up trash, do dishes. Fifty points and he’ll give me a back massage, or 100 points and I’ll get a spanking session. If I miss enough of them, I get punished—and that has been negotiated and consented to. It’s been really helpful, actually—with ADHD, I have a hard time remembering things. Currently, the grand prize is a weekend trip, sexy bath included.”Back to Top
I Was Rapunzel: He Climbed a Rope to Sneak Into My Group House
Lea, 30, H Street:
“We met playing basketball on a DC Fray team. The day he told me he was married, I’m like, cool. I’d never felt a connection like this in my life. My roommates were like, ‘We don’t wanna have anybody over at the house,’ so we had to get creative. You know those sun-shade blinders for your car? You can buy them for every single window. We would put those up and hang out in my car in the mornings before work or when he got back.
“I’m not a person that would’ve ever imagined having sex in a government building or my [former] office, but these circumstances just push people. There was a conference room at his federal office that has been on television before that I have been laid upon, because we’d go in on the weekends and, y’know, just have some fun on the chairs. I had to get signed in and go through a metal detector. I would just dress up like I was going to work. We sanitized everything afterwards! I made sure to do that. I brought Clorox wipes. My God, that probably sounds disgusting. I was just like, well, if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right. We didn’t really have any close calls. I guess we were pretty lucky.
“We cycled. The weekends would be more at my office or his office. But then it became pretty normal for him to climb up a rope into my room every morning. He’s in the military and very physically fit. At one point, he was like, ‘We just need to buy a rope.’ I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a great workaround. Because you’re not in the public spaces of my house, and I pay for my own room, right?’ So I literally tied this rope around my waist, put both of my feet below the windowsill, and hoisted him up. He had put knots in it, and also my lower windows all have grates on them, so he could get up easily.
“The hardest part is that I have a very lovely neighbor who loves to sit outside, who would always comment on our interactions. So sometimes he would have to chat with her for, like, 20 minutes until she went back inside, and then he’d be like, ‘Throw the rope down.’ ”
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We Moved In Together and Had Tons of Sex—Until My Partner Got Long-Term Covid Side Effects
W., 23, Fairfax, software development:
“My roommate and I have had a semi-relationship. It’s mostly monogamous. That benefited my sex life at first. It was exciting. It was daily for about a week, then every other day, then weekly. But he got affected by long-term symptoms of Covid. He now has pericarditis, swelling of the heart sac, which has affected us a lot. He’s in some pain, and he’s on short-term disability. He’s not able to do as much as he used to physically, and more than just sex—getting out of bed takes a few hours sometimes.
“Once that intimacy slowed down, I looked for it elsewhere. We both have dating apps, and we use those to talk to other people. I’ll flirt with them a little bit, some sexting. When we were having sex, I almost never masturbated. But now it’s increased a little bit. But we’re committed to each other. We’re waiting for the pericarditis swelling to go down. When that stops, we should be able to pick sex back up. If the swelling doesn’t go down, there is a non-intrusive surgical option. And then there’s open-heart surgery, which is a little more concerning. But the doctors are optimistic. It’ll be something we went through together and hopefully come out stronger on the other side. I really do appreciate my time with him, especially given all he’s going through. He just keeps going.”Back to Top
With the Kids in Zoom School, We Do It in the Car or Hot Tub
A.P., 39, Arlington, consultant:
“This is going to sound so nerdy, but my husband keeps track of how often we have sex. He has notes on his iPhone. He loves figures and statistics. So I know we are having way more sex in 2021 than we did in 2020, and 2020 was way more than 2019. March and April of 2020—it was scary. We clung to each other a little more closely than pushing each other away. For us, sex is an expression of taking care of one another.
“We have three kids. They’re home most of the time. Our bedroom wall is against one of my son’s walls, so we are constantly getting creative on where and how to do it. We have a lot of morning sessions, so showers and bathrooms. We like to do it outside. In the car, in our hot tub. There have been a lot of close encounters. To make it even worse, we have a super-old house. All the doorknobs are those old-fashioned jewel handles, so they don’t lock. There has been a lot of, like, knocking on the doors and starting to come in. I’ll run into the bathroom and my husband will throw on gym shorts. He’ll be like, ‘Mom’s in the shower. What do you need?’ They think I take showers constantly.”Back to Top
I Started Dating Women in 2020
“I had figured I was somewhere on the queer spectrum for a while but never dated women. I hooked up with a friend in February 2020, and that was a good intro—not scary. It’s your own anatomy, right, not like some alien. I happened to know my now-girlfriend from mutual friends whom I came across on Hinge. I have a wonderful time having sex with her but never get to orgasming. I’ve never been able to—it’s not that unusual. I would have to explain: ‘Look, this isn’t you, this isn’t my sexuality, this is just how I’m built and don’t worry about it.’ She orgasms very quickly and easily, which is satisfying and confidence-building for me. In the summer, we would just have sex outside, like out on Hains Point where there’s not many people around. It’s a funny intersection, exploring my queerness in a time when physicality wasn’t allowed. Absent the pandemic, I would’ve dated probably a lot more women. ”Back to Top
I Became Disabled in 2020 and Had to Relearn Pleasure
Emmett Patterson, 27, public-health worker:
“I was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses right at the start of the pandemic. I have different types of arthritis, and I immediately had to start drugs that compromised my immune system. I became super high risk for Covid, and all of a sudden this part of my life [sex] that I had so relied on for stress release and to connect with people was just gone. I started visibly presenting as a disabled person. I use a cane. This was a very rapid shift for me. I’m very flirtatious; I love my body. I’ve done a lot of work, especially as a trans person, to love my body in a world that does not want me to love or flaunt my body. I was in this isolation within isolation. And I was really angry that this was happening.
“One thing I tried was what I called ‘the on-demand.’ I asked some of my favorite doms if they could send an emoji or a code word and I would have to drop whatever I’m doing and submit to whatever they wanted. It connected me back to that spontaneity that I felt like my sex life had before. If I can even have 20 minutes on a bed of needles, it brings me this immense pleasure that I had only ever associated with sex. I’m not necessarily looking for sexual pleasure, but I’m looking for body pleasure and distracting from the ways that my body has been in pain.”Back to Top
How I Started Bottoming
Tom, 42, Shaw, corporate strategy:
“We both came into our relationship only ever having topped, but we still wanted to have anal sex together, and we were unwilling to open the relationship in the pandemic. It’s taken most of the year, ’cause a lot of it is in your head and making sure you don’t hurt yourself. We got this training kit that had small, medium, and large butt plugs. The large was like Oh, my God—I can’t even imagine that. I talked to my friends who were bottoms for some advice. I listened to some podcasts, and I read How to Bottom Like a Porn Star. Lots of breathing and relaxing. More than anything, it was knowing that we could stop at any time and veto whatever was happening and that was fine. That psychological safety is the biggest thing for me.
“It’s so different and so amazing. The first time I orgasmed, my entire body was quaking. My legs were shaking, and I was overcome with joy and laughter because I was so happy. I guess, in retrospect, I must’ve looked and sounded crazy to him. But in the moment it was an entirely involuntary response. I purchased a larger toy than the kit, and now I’ve outgrown that as well; it feels like an arms race on some level. It’s been a really fun side of my sexuality to explore. I’m used to being the dominating force in the bedroom, but sometimes I wanna just relax and being submissive allows that.”Back to Top
2020 Was Finally Going to Be My Year to Date and Find a Partner.
P., 52, Bethesda, journalist
“On New Year’s Eve 2019, two decades of eldercare ended. And so it was like, Okay, I’m going to go online and start rebuilding my social life. The schedule is open, my time is now mine and not dictated by doctors’ visits and grocery runs. And then it was clear that Covid was going to be a big problem. I was thinking, Crap. This is not how this year was supposed to go. If we hadn’t had a pandemic, I would have gone on Match or Plenty of Fish, just tried to get out. I decided to postpone that—because I didn’t feel there was a way to meet somebody in person safely. I spend enough time on screens.
“I’ve had my moments. There have been times when I’m like, Oh, this is what being lonely and wanting to cuddle with somebody feels like? I feel like it’s a missed opportunity. Most of my friends have long been married, doing married-people things, and there hasn’t been the time or space in my life. I’ve been trying to spin it for myself in a positive way, that at least I’ve had the opportunity to work through issues so that I’m a more healthy person emotionally. So when I do finally meet someone, I’m a better partner.”
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I Got Engaged and Married in the Same Year
J.D.S., 26, Silver Spring:
“I was already considering proposing to him. I realized it had been a month of seeing him all the time, in our one-bedroom apartment, and I actually wanted more of him. We got engaged [at Rock Creek] in April, and then in October Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. I remember thinking, What if they decide to gut same-sex marriage? I panicked. We were in the shower, and I told him, ‘We have to get married soon.’ It became a home wedding. I was angry; it took a long time to accept that I would not have what I had originally pictured. But it was an amazing day. I sobbed several times. I’d never felt that kind of joy before—so overwhelming I couldn’t keep it inside of me. [After lots of Champagne and cake,] we didn’t have sex that night, but frankly, I’ve been having the best sex of my life since the pandemic.”Back to Top
“Hide Your Car”: Attending Underground Swingers Parties
M.K., 40, Loudoun County:
“I live on a dirt road alone. I started seeing this guy in August—the sexual chemistry was off the charts. I went to a couple swingers parties with him and had such an amazing time. You could suspend your disbelief and pretend like there wasn’t a pandemic going on. Both were way scaled down from what they usually are. The first one was maybe 50 people. The second one, probably half that. It was definitely like, ‘Hide your car so that the police don’t know there’s an event going on here.’
“They take your temperature, but then you walk in, no mask. There’s a DJ and couches and a bar, although there’s not much drinking ’cause a lot of people are doing MDMA or other drugs. They open up the back sexy rooms around 11 o’clock. It’s just a bunch of mattresses on the ground. The first time, he brought two dates, so we had a threesome. People that you didn’t know would reach over and touch you when you’re f—ing someone—like, Excuse me? Consent? No? Except you’re trying not to be a jerk, so are you actually gonna say that? Maybe not. Because my partner was an organizer, after everybody had left, it would just be 10 or 12 of us. I’d suck his dick while he’s inhaling nitrous oxide and hanging out with friends. The next morning, we’d clean up, maybe order some Thai food. Then I’d go home and feel so much guilt and shame.
“My depression is such that I’m struggling to get out of bed, and this is the only joy in a totally joyless life. But I can’t tell any of my kinky friends because they are responsible people who will judge me. My motto has been: Minimize the bad decisions. Probably my worst decision was when I went off my antidepressants to do MDMA with this man, which made the sexy times more fun. I told my psychiatrist, ‘I’ve done something really stupid. I went off my meds so that I can do this drug on occasion.’ His response was ‘Well, don’t do drugs at home because you might die and no one will find you.’ I hung up the video call and cried.”Back to Top
Guys on Dating Apps Asked Me to Hook Up Because I Looked Covid-Safe
Mike, 44, Alexandria, government employee:
“Pre-pandemic, I wouldn’t say I was prolific. But I could find sex if I needed it. I have a lot of pulmonary issues, so I’ve been very, very conservative during Covid. It’s killed my sex life. What amazed me was I was still getting solicitations on OkCupid and Scruff. I had one young man who was 21 and basically like, ‘Hey, I haven’t had an encounter in a long time. Would you like to come over and blow me?’ I was just chatting. So I was a little shocked— I’m thinking, This is a pandemic, I don’t know who you are. He’s like, ‘You look like someone who’s safe.’ There were others saying the same thing. It was ‘You seem responsible’ or ‘You seem like someone who knows how to take care of himself.’ I’m going to assume it’s because none of the profile pictures I had were wild. I was clean-cut. I’m that geeky kind of gay guy that’s not putting it all out there in my photos. It’s like, This guy, he’s not going to be a problem.
“I deleted the accounts. I think it’ll take me a bit before I dive back in. But I don’t know—maybe my hot ticket now is being the safe, responsible guy and I should go with it.”Back to Top
Virtual Sex-a-Thons With Our Long-Distance Girlfriend
Majic Dyke, 26, Gaithersburg, drag king:
“My partner and I have had threesomes, but it was never in a relationship. In December, we entered a throuple: My live-in partner is a sex therapist, our girlfriend is a sex educator who lives in Kenya, and I’m just really horny. In the pandemic, she and I had so much time to talk; we got closer and she approached us. Our first virtual sex session, it was really hard for me to figure out the right position where she could see what my partner was doing to my body. I had to prop up some books and pillows for a raised angle, ’cause otherwise it’s just gonna be feet in front of the camera. Sometimes the angles might not even matter—if I can hear her and be part of the experience, even if my eyes are closed, that can also be fulfilling. People get intimidated, but you don’t have to be a porn star.
“We got an Airbnb and planned a sex-a-thon. We like mountainous areas where people can’t hear us moaning and screaming. We had this little fake studio DIY situation with multiple cameras where you could see everything. I had my laptop near the window, so there was natural lighting. I called our girlfriend on FaceTime so she could see two different angles. She was on her laptop and her phone. And it was just a lot of f—ing.”
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I Went From One-Night Stands to Having Sex With Someone in My Pod
G.C., 25, Navy Yard:
“Pre-Covid, I enjoyed dating around, the occasional one-night stand. I’m not a Casanova or anything—it’s the good place between being a f— boy and an incel. The pandemic obviously precludes anything like that. So I started having casual sex with a friend in my pod of four people all hanging out in the early months of the pandemic. We had hooked up before over the years, but this time it was pretty secretive—75 percent discomfort with the pod knowing and 25 percent it was kind of fun, the secrecy. It happened when we were all hanging out at my place. It was like, Oh, we’re both the last two people awake or here. My roommate probably knew, but we haven’t discussed it. We share a wall—I imagine that he would be able to put two and two together, just the fact that we’d all been hanging out that night.
“There was a tacit understanding that it was a relationship born of necessity that wouldn’t develop into anything long-term. So like an actually pretty healthy situation that, when it plays out in a sitcom, usually turns out poorly. A couple months ago, she started dating someone else. I got back from Christmas—we hadn’t seen each other in a while. And I sent a text like, Let’s get together for a hookup. She didn’t really respond. I found out from a friend she was dating someone, and I apologized for that text. I wasn’t necessarily that bummed. If anything, it was a kick in the ass to get back out there—I’ve since downloaded Hinge and had a couple of socially distanced dates. The pandemic sucks, but you’ve got to at least try. You know, I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve got no responsibility to anything outside myself. It’s theoretically, like, the sexual prime of my life. I can’t feel like I’ve wasted a year.”Back to Top
I Wasn’t Attracted to Them Once We Were Inside and Unmasked. But I Was Horny, So . . .
C, 36, Eckington, teacher:
“I hooked up with three people during Covid, one of whom was my ex. I went over to one person’s house, and two came over to my house. For one, we had both been quarantining for two weeks. It just happened that way. For the others, we got tested before. We didn’t talk about having sex in advance. The testing and quarantining were just prerequisites for being in an enclosed space. It’s hard to gauge attraction when you’re not in person. You end up talking to people a lot longer before meeting. So there’s all this pressure and expectation. It’s not casual. Sometimes you’re like, ‘Oh, this isn’t gonna work for me—it just doesn’t feel right.’ But then you still go through with it because it’s like, I might as well get laid. When I met these people, I didn’t see my friends for two weeks. Then it isn’t even worth it, you know? If I could switch it, I would take the time with my friends.”Back to Top
My Ex Tried to Hook Up With Others While Living With My Immunocompromised Mom
Andrea, 27, Frederick, self-employed
“I’m pansexual and polyamorous. I live with my mother. So my ex moved in with me and my mother and quarantined with us. My mother has lupus, and my father ended up getting diagnosed with cancer. There were a lot of immunocompromised people in my immediate circle. My ex didn’t have that same feeling of responsibility—she had a wider circle than I had. Her autonomy felt threatened because I didn’t want her to hang out with certain people. They would drink together and share cups and joints.
“Sex was hot and heavy when the pandemic started and then slowly started to dwindle out. I didn’t have the energy. It was like, there are days where I don’t want to be touched or looked at, and I felt like a complete mess. And to have another person be like, I want to have sex—sometimes it kind of felt like I was a tool. It got to the point where she was talking about other partners. She had someone she wanted to date, she kissed him a couple times. I was very clear about my boundaries. I misinterpreted that we would be each other’s single partners during the pandemic. I thought she would do everything to protect my family. We broke up.”Back to Top
My Group-House Roommate and I Started Having Sex in Secret
H.S., 26, Eastern Market, communications:
“I had four roommates. One guy was French. We first had sex in January of 2020. Once the pandemic hit, we had a house rule that people from outside weren’t allowed to hang out. Obviously, it was easy to rely on my roommate for sexual purposes in that period. It was nice to have someone down the hallway to be like, ‘Hey, do you want to walk down and have sex?’ It helped a lot.
“We didn’t want to throw off the house dynamic, so we didn’t tell anyone. I feel like my female roommate had an inkling about it. When we were hooking up, I would listen to see if I could hear someone in the hallway. We would pause and try to be as quiet as possible. There were times he would sleep in my room, and the next morning, if we heard someone awake, he would immediately go into the bathroom so it seemed like he wasn’t coming out of my room.
“It’s weird to just be intimate with someone sexually and then essentially be around them the whole day. It was hard to balance that aspect. There were definitely times where we would spend too much time together and then felt like not being near each other. And then eventually it would happen again. We hooked up for a pretty long time, on and off, and then in December he moved back to France. There were definitely feelings involved. The pandemic has been so isolating. When you are able to connect with someone sexually, you rely on that.”
*Name has been changed.
This article appears in the June 2021 issue of Washingtonian.