News & Politics

The 7 Stages of Coupled Covid Sex

We cycled through disillusionment...purpose...acceptance. And now here we are. At the end?

About Our Sex Lives and the Pandemic

This article is part of Washingtonian’s June 2021 cover story about sex in and after the pandemic. We chatted with locals about their quarantine escapades and struggles, talked to sex shop owners about the bestselling toys, heard about safer ways to get naked online, examined intimacy through a stunning series of photos, and mused about the future of sex. Dig in here.

Disillusionment (March 2020)

No kids? Ooooh, this is like one long snow day! Maybe squeeze in a quickie before your 9am, or quit at 4:30 for a glass of wine…or three. Ohhh, wait—kids? Sorry, man. Deep breaths. Zoom school is just temporary. What’s a few weeks without doing it?

Anger (April/May/June 2020)

Perhaps you skipped stage one for two, where you can’t change your T-shirt and everything, uh, down south is closed. The workday never ends, and if your partner says “I’ll circle back” again, you may actually inject bleach into your body. For now, maybe just replaying the Normal People sex scenes is enough.

Hope? (July/August 2020)

Cases are down, you score a reservation outside, and you drop the kids with the pod. You gaze at your partner, who looks like a human who showers, and forget he/she/they dropped a pickle into the sofa at 10am and then ate it. Fine, your libido is still on par with an asexual sea creature’s, but at least you’re talking about something other than Netflix.

Release (September 2020)

It’s been six months since you guys did it, but who’s counting? (Editor’s note: You are.) You finally talk about the celibate elephant in the room and book an Airbnb to GTFO of town. Away from your actual life, it finally happens—you get laid. High-five!

Purpose (October/November/December 2020)

Cases are creeping up, but you know how to pandemic bone. You’ve got a schedule, toys. You consider couples therapy, but it’d be too much Zoom. *sigh* Remember when you used to be spontaneous?

Acceptance (January 2021)

Today you did your part as an American and downloaded Bumble to catfish the Capitol rioters. Just for kicks, you take a peek around the app. It’s nice to see a face other than the one you’ve been doing everything with for 20 million eternities. Hey, there’a a guy on here with a man bun. You always did want to bang a man with a man bun. Wait, are you actually…horny right now?

Rejuvenation (April/May/June 2021)

Just got the shot? It is TIME for hot vaxx summer! You book a trip! Do the kids’ camp sign-ups! Shave! Regular life is so close you can almost smell it through your mask. You turn to your mate. It’s not on the schedule, but…wanna get weird?

This article appears in the June 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

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Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Petworth.