Virtual Sex, Masturbation, No Mouth-to-Mouth: Intimacy Amid Corona
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.(GIF: Altered by Arnica Kala / The Quint)

Virtual Sex, Masturbation, No Mouth-to-Mouth: Intimacy Amid Corona

“So yaar, when did you masturbate last?” I said to an ex who is particularly shy. Because what else to do in times of corona? “Kya bakwaas hai yaar – what nonsense are you talking man,” was his instantaneous reply. It’s sort of my specialty. To embarrass decent folk with my lewdness, especially when we are all in confined spaces. Since I wasn’t successful this one time, I decided to spread it around a little, by curating the best sex stories in times of corona.

This does NOT come with a health warning, people.

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During Corona, Is ‘Sex As Popular As An Empty Loo Roll Shelf’?

First, New York. The health department was concerned about queries that must’ve been pouring in from all over – “if we are COVID-19 positive… can we have sex?” So they came up with a very matter-of-fact answer. Matter of fact to you and me perhaps, but the New York Post was a bit more squeamish, so they prefixed the news with a judgemental headline – ‘NYC Health Department gets graphic in coronavirus sex memo.’ Here’s what the notification actually said. Pretty mundane.

“You are your safest sex partner,” the document reads. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”

‘The Telegraph’ in the UK decided to lean on a poll that a market research company called YouGov did to find out if people in this era of lockdown were making COVID-19 babies.

They titled the piece ‘The Hard Truth’ just for fun – and because they are British.

The article pointed out that of the 1,634 they polled, “it turns out that sex is about as popular as an empty loo roll shelf.” In percentage terms, “just three percent of women said that they’d be having self-isolation sex, and five percent of men.”

Also Read : Fake Orgasms to Turn-Ons: Indians Open Up on Their Sex Lives

What’s ‘Virtual Sex With Real People’ All About?

For those outside this demographic, luckily, there seem to be some online solutions at hand. An American website called TechCrunch published a piece by someone called John Biggs, who claims that an adult web-streaming service is offering VIRP or “virtual intercourse with real people”, where you can sit in a virtual chatroom and have virtual sex using robots to represent you.

There is a very helpful picture on the site for those who are unable to picture this in their mind.

White dude sits with virtual reality or VR glasses on. A virtual white doll is sitting astride him with slim white panties on, while his hand cups her firm, round, perfectly-shaped breast.

While we’re on virtual sex, I do have some gyaan of my own to add. I’ve always wondered about the complete lack of creativity in this virtual space. I’ve experimented with online chats in the early 2000s when it had just arrived in India. And I found myself using the online space to do things that you cannot in the real world. Like have sex in the 13th century. I’ve invented scenarios where I am posing naked for a painting and the artist goes nuts while colouring in my breasts. Or I walk down to a cheap Chinese takeaway, get onto the table, strip and instruct the waiter to spoon in platefuls of steamed noodles into me while the restaurant watches in amazement.

I mean, in an age of Marvel comics and fantasy movies, why is online sex so literal?

Also Read : How I Learned to Masturbate In My Crowded Bedroom Growing Up

Sex Is OK During COVID-19, Just No Mouth-to-Mouth

Back to more curation. I got sidetracked. Or shall I say, CO-VID-eoed? These are diseased times and I tend to overkill. Closer home, The Print did a story on cancelled dates and sex parties in India and around the world. The bit that grabbed me most was where a respondent came up with this great line – “Are we in ‘Pretty Woman’?” referring to the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere movie where Julia plays a sex worker who does not kiss clients on the mouth because it’s too personal. The Print says this respondent was reacting to the health advisories that said sex was okay as long as there is no mouth-to-mouth.

Also Read : Meet, Greet, Delete: How’s India’s ‘Hookup’ Culture Faring?

Victorian-Era Mindsets Amid Corona

Think of the predicament of people stuck in countries where sex outside a marriage is strictly prohibited. One such couple was apparently making out in a car on the outskirts of Milan, defying the strictly enforced Italian curfew, when they were caught and arrested. My heart went out to them when I read that one was Egyptian and the other, Tunisian. Tunisia only just started sex education in school last year and for this, it’s been reported all around as the ‘trail-blazer’ in the Arab world. To make matters worse, The Sun, that reported the story of this couple, added some 19th century propriety of their own by headlining the story – ‘Randy Italian couple arrested for having public sex in a car breaching strict quarantine rules.’

Really, ‘The Sun’??? Is the flip side of all your salacious news a lurking Victorian-ness?

At the other end of the planet, the New York Post informs us that China is trying to cash in on the virus with its sex doll companies, by telling potential buyers that “its dolls are free of COVID-19.” If I showed this piece to my mother, I know what she’d say: ‘This is a bit rich coming from the country that started the whole thing’. She is livid with China.

Also Read : ‘My Desires Are A Pandora’s Box’: Confessions From A Sex Workshop

How Has Corona Pandemic Affected the Life of a Dominatrix?

Sticking with the Far East, my favourite story comes from a website called Rice Media that describes itself as ‘Asia’s alternative voice’. Alternative is right, because they decided to speak to people no one else has, about how the coronavirus has affected their lives. A dominatrix, a drag queen, and a sex worker.

Mistress Eva, all dressed in patent black leather, says that the pandemic has badly affected her business and she’s had to restructure, as follows.

“Because of the way I’ve structured my business, I feel pretty safe,” Eva explains. “I live with my main slave, and then have a few inner-circle slaves I regularly see, so I have them as a safety net. Apart from those, I have not been able to meet the other slaves I used to see. Many are in China, which was on lockdown, while many others can’t travel to see me… I also keep a tab on all the travel itineraries of my inner-circle slaves, so I can see where they have been going. Since I already do a lot of humiliation play, I incorporate all the screening and the tropes of the virus in my play. I like to work with the idea of touch, distance, and the limits of when they are allowed to come into my space and when not. So I make them get into hoods, and when we are out, I make sure they are always 3 feet away from me.”

Got it? Stay safe people, and since we come from the land of gurus and gyaan, let’s end this by breathing in, breathing out. And spreading the good vibrations.

Also Read : Boom of Sex Toys and Porn in India: What do Market Trends Suggest?

(Revati Laul is an independent journalist and film-maker and the author of `The Anatomy of Hate,’ published by Westland/Context. She tweets @revatilaul. This is a personal blog, and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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