In terms of bad years for getting laid, 2020 will go down in the history books as one of the worst. Thanks to COVID-19, singles considering casual hookups were forced to ask themselves, “is dick really worth dying for?” (Even Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders recently rued the sad state of sex among single people.) Meanwhile, cohabitating couples complain that their sex drives have drastically plummeted, and polyamorous couples have become considerably less poly due to social distancing.
A year into the pandemic, if you were to ask most people how their sex lives were going a la Tommy Wiseau, you’d probably hear some variation of “eh, could be a lot better” or “ugh, ask. Me again after I’m vaccinated.”
Earlier in the pandemic, the New York City Department Of Health reminded folks that sex with yourself is the safest option. Many did just that, pushing aside their day-to-day horniness for an entire year to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
We spoke to eight people who’ve gone a year without sex ― in some cases, longer ― due to the coronavirus. Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.
Bret, a 39-year-old in Oklahoma
“I had sex last on March 8, 2020. I had a busy work week ahead, and to cut the stress, I found random trade on Grindr like any single gay on the go would do. I made a choice to not have sex since then for my safety.
Then I was vaccinated as a part of the Moderna trial in September. I found out I [had received an actual vaccine] in January and have continued to be sex-free because the dangers to others are still unclear. Vaccinated people may pass it on to others, and I would feel terrible if I got someone else sick. Now that more and more people are vaccinated, I hope my situation changes soon!
My attitude about sex has changed a bit. I have found a lot more productive use of my time. I’ve never been a fan of masturbation, so I have poured all the extra time usually used for Grindr and trips to the bar on self-improvement. I’m reading three new books a week and have lost 60 pounds during the pandemic. Even after things are back to normal, I’ll likely invest less time in looking for sex.
I feel like I learned a lot about the people around me and who prioritize pleasure over their safety and the safety of others. It will be hard to sincerely trust those people again after all this. When I see people still risking it and hooking up, I try not to judge, but I am a Virgo and can’t help myself. I totally feel like a martyr and am calling people out left and right for endangering themselves and others.