While it’s snowing, all I can think about is how Pride is around the corner. I am itching to get out and join all festivities the community feels safe to do this year. I am fully “vaxed” (vaccinated) and waxed and ready to mingle — that is, with other vaccinated folks. While we seem to be leaning into some semblance of normalcy, some real hesitations are going forward.
It’s normal to feel a bit wary. Most of us have been living isolated for so long that socializing can feel overwhelming. I’ve spoken with many who want to socialize again and face some anxiety about it. With the glow of Pride approaching, those feelings to socialize and the angst will increase. Over the past year, I’ve written a lot about safer sex and social practices in times of a global pandemic. Now that so many of us are getting vaccinated, it’s time to revisit a few things.
If you’re vaccinated, you may be feeling a bit invincible
It’s like holding a golden ticket to venture now that anything pre-pandemic feels like an adventure. For those who are vaccinated, the risk of feeling ill has been greatly reduced. However, it’s possible to infect others with this nasty bug. The best way to play (socially or sexually) should be between other vaccinated people. I’ve seen several people posting their vax status on dating apps. Honestly, it’s a good idea to share this with your friends and family. It may be gloating, but having a safer-sex talk about STIs is important.
Keep up with your hygiene
Let’s be real for a minute — hopefully, this is something you’re doing anyway. If you want someone to get naked with you, it’s a good idea to be fresh and groomed. If your body is what you’re inviting someone to enjoy, then make it inviting. Good hygiene also wards off germs and rates of possible infections. Wash your body, and especially your hands, often.
Think about what you’re putting in your mouth.
This not only applies to shared foods at social events but body parts as well. Our hands are the quickest way to transmit germs. Most of us don’t realize how much we lick our fingers or touch our faces. We use our hands for everything without much thought. And sexually — sucking the fingers of a play partner may be your desire, but unless you’re in the shower, hold off. Honestly, sucking genitals (clean ones, that is) is probably safer than sucking someone’s fingers.
Yes, sharing is caring
Currently, caring requires keeping some things just for yourself. Normally I’d encourage the sharing of toys, but unless they’re completely sanitized between partners, it’s not a good idea. Wash hands, bodies, and toys thoroughly between partners and users. To stay healthy and cautious now, the opportunity to share later will be greater.
So you want to get with that hottie who isn’t vaxed?
If it’s just a date and or social gathering, consider meeting outside and keeping a bit of physical distance between each other. Throw a frisbee. Play horseshoes. Go for a bike ride. If it’s sexual fun you want, limit kissing. In fact, you could incorporate your mask-wearing into some kinky fun. Why not add a blindfold while you’re at it?
I get it, as for the past year, this does feel like a lot of cock- and pussy-blocking, but things are looking better. Meanwhile, hold out and practice some variations of physical fun. As for Pride, get out and stay safe and healthy.
Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a Clinical Sexologist with a private counseling practice and currently sees all clients virtually. She divides her time between Palm Springs, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. She can be reached at [email protected]