2/26/2021

Dating During COVID-19: The Reality of Keeping Safe

 

If you're wondering when it'll be safe to date again - and how to do it without increasing your risk for COVID-19 - you're not alone. Via social media posts and actual conversations with friends and loved ones, common queries concerning dating during the pandemic are:


  • "Do we need to get tested before the masks come off?"
  • "Will I ever be able to impress my date with my cooking skills or do we need to keep all dates outdoors?
  • "Is it possible to still meet people in bars or should I just trust online dating or ask professional matchmakersto search for me?"

Like the other aspects of life in the middle of a pandemic, safety is a concern when it comes to dating. If only dating apps can also assess potential partners by their efforts to keep safe during COVID-19. Until that happens, it's important to practice safe dating yourself first.

So what's the first step to take? Just like the dating days before COVID-19, open and honest communication matters.


Start with the COVID Talk

When you're dating someone new, you usually ask about common interests, hobbies and political viewpoints to determine if you're a good match. Now, there's a new level of compatibility to consider: a potential partner's approach to COVID-19 safety.


This involves questions, like: "Do you live with other people?" "How do you reduce the risk of transmission at home?" "Are you work from home or do you report to work? What precautions do you take after you get home from work?" "Do you often dine-in when eating out?"


It's important to ask potential partners these questions early on, ideally before you meet them in-person. Their answer will help you gain a better sense of a person's exposure to other people or environments that pose a risk of contracting the virus.


Although asking these questions can be uncomfortable, it's essential for everyone's health and wellness. Keep in mind: exposing yourself to a new partner doesn't just affect you; it also impacts the people you live and work with, as well as your neighbors. No matter how uncomfortable or awkward you may feel asking these questions, consider that if someone is taking their health seriously too, they should be eager to discuss these safety precautions with you.


Transitioning From Outdoor and Virtual Dates to Indoor Intimacy

In-person dates are not off the table until COVID-19 ends. If you met someone online and have gone on several FaceTime dates, it's natural to want to meet them in person - and you can.


But before you take the big leap, it's time for another round of questions:

  • What are your community's current transmission rates?
  • Do you or your partner have any pre-existing health risks or conditions to keep in mind?
  • What are the risks of the date you plan to do? (For instance, having a picnic or eating outdoor is less risky compared to eating indoors)

COVID-19 case numbers and community transmission rates within your neighborhood or county are good benchmarks that can help you decide if you should meet in-person and dine-in. For instance, if the transmission rates are high, dining at a café or restaurant may increase your risk for COVID-19. On the other hand, if transmission rates are low, indoor dining may be an option.


Other factors to consider before going on an in-person date: the location. Are the tables at least six feet apart? Does the café or restaurant follow strict safety precautions?


Whether you're planning for some gentle lovemaking or long rough sex, make sure you're both COVID-19-free. It's best to get tested first or quarantine for two weeks without symptoms.


What About Sex?

If you are planning to get intimate, another factor to consider is the mask. Are masks necessary during intercourse?


Dr. Theresa Tham, Canada's public health officer, suggests that when it comes to physical intimacy, people should refrain from kissing and wear masks. New York City health officials also encouraged people to engage in positions that face away from one another to avoid the exchange of air droplets - aka the primary mode of transmission of COVID-19.


While wearing masks during intercourse may reduce the risk of transmission, measuring their effectiveness is difficult. Ultimately, having sex six feet apart isn't an option so it's going to be a high-risk activity - without or with the mask.


Although dating during COVID-19 presents a series of risks, assessing your health together and practicing safety precautions can still help you date and fall in love. After all, meaningful emotional connections are more important now than ever.;

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