Covid-19 has created a multitude of challenges for a lot of people—including in the bedroom. Between a potential lack of privacy, low libidos, mismatched sexual urges, too much together time or no together time due to physical distance, there are plenty of opportunities to feel disconnected and out of sync right now.

Reconnect with your partner and build physical, sensual, and sexual intimacy with my suggestions below. Bonus: a lot of my suggestions work even if you happen to be physically apart!

Sensual Touch

We’re often in so much of a rush to get to the “good stuff,” that we end up missing out on opportunities for the full body arousal that can accompany a slow build up.

  1. Rub it up: Massages are underrated. There’s just something sexy about having someone’s genitals straddling your back (or yours straddling theirs) while using hands to rub nice-smelling things all over bare skin. You can even use massage oil candles to play with temperature!
  2. Slow it down: Undress in front of each other. Do it slowly, intentionally—building up anticipation. Once naked, spend at least 30 minutes taking turns touching and exploring without making contact with any obvious erogenous zones. You’ll likely find that as you touch one another, new, often ignored body parts will experience arousing sensations.

Pro-tip: If you’re far apart, video connect and watch each other undress. Then, take turns telling each other where to touch. Be descriptive (eg. using your pointer and middle fingers, run your nails across your arm from fingertip to shoulder). You can also guide each other in masturbation with or without toys. Watch each other’s reactions so you know what to try next time you’re together.

Caring Touch

Personally, feeling cared for and caring for my partners in turn make me feel super connected to them. Our society’s weird relationship to body, as well as histories of trauma, can sometimes make body care feel awkward or scary. If you’re safely able to push past that though, the vulnerability feels super intimate. (Note: these suggestions are limited to in-person contact.)

  1. Scrub-a-dub: Wash your partner in the shower. Take your time and enjoy the feeling of being cared for/caring. Paying special attention to all of the nooks and crannies is a reminder that the whole body is beautiful and worthy of­­ loving touch.
  2. Wipe it up: Sex can be messy. Bodily fluids from genitals, sweat, lubricants, saliva, etc. can get all over when having a passionate sex session. Taking the time to help clean partners up afterwards, whether with tissues or your tongue, can feel very intimate.

Exploring Erotica

It can feel scary to share our intimate desires with one another, but when we do share with supportive partners, it opens up a new world of eroticism and arousal. Whether together or apart, creating personalized erotic material is a great way to get intimate and turned on!

  1. Sexy photoshoot: Taking pictures of yourself is an exercise in self-love that, for some of us, can be arousing in and of itself. When we share those images with others (with their consent) we’re sharing our confidence and sensuality. You can swap image requests and get to know what you and your partner get most excited by!
  2. Personalized sex stories: For those who enjoy reading their porn, there is nothing better than personalized erotica. Share with a partner the kinds of steamy tales you’d like to read and wait to see what they write. You can even swap stories for images if one of you likes erotica and the other visuals. Knowing that you’re inspiring your partner’s masturbation session can make you feel closer to one another.
  3. Home-made movies: Try filming your sexual interactions (you can avoid face shots if concerned the videos could get leaked). You can then watch together, or on your own, for a sexy reminder of your sessions, inspiration for masturbation, or as a way to get aroused together. Even if you aren’t generally into porn, seeing you and your partner might be enough to get you going while feeling connected. You can also record solo videos of yourself masturbating, doing sexy dances, or other erotic actions for yourself or to share with partners.

This is the first part of a two-part series exploring intimacy. Next up? Ideas on how to build better emotional intimacy with partners. Got more ideas? Wanna share how these tips worked or didn’t work for you? Feel free to reach out! [email protected]

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez

Yael R. Rosenstock Gonzalez

Sex Educator, Researcher, Author, Speaker
Yael R Rosenstock Gonzalez is a sex educator, researcher, author, speaker, and curriculum developer. As a queer, polyamorous, white-presenting Nuyorican Jew, Yael has always been interested in understanding the multi-level experiences of individuals. This led her to found Kaleidoscope Vibrations, LLC, a company dedicated to supporting and creating spaces for individuals to explore and find community in their personal identities. Through her company, she facilitates workshops, develops curriculum, offers Identity Exploration Coaching, and publishes narratives often left out of mainstream publishing.

Yael has been engaged in workshop development and facilitation since she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as a teen peer reproductive rights educator at 15 years old. Since then, she has served as an educator with children ranging from 10 months old to adults in their 70s with different organizations and communities. In her work as first Program Coordinator, then Director of Programming, and finally Associate Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding, Yael developed and led events, workshops, and programs with an intersectionality lens.