Venus: Why be a jerk when you can jerk off

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Illustration by Meher Yeda

The Daily’s opinion desk is introducing Sock on the Door, a weekly sex and love column.

Venus, Columnist

Dear Daily readers,

What does dating look like in a pandemic? When the world is crumbling around us, dating might be the last thing on your mind. Or, it might be your main distraction from the disaster we experience every day. Whichever one it is, love and sex are still an important part of our lives, and the pandemic has unquestionably changed how we date, hook up and maintain relationships. 

College was always advertised to me as a time to explore — get to know myself, get to know others, go on dates, find hookups, friends and everything in between. Before, I considered these a huge part of my college experience, but this pandemonium has made these look really different for over a year now. 

Currently, we’re faced with questions like: is it even safe to go on a first date? Can I visit my long-term partner without risking our safety? What do I do if I’m horny as hell, but I live in a double? 

As we social distance and lose touch with acquaintances, it’s hard to know what everyone is up to. Social media lies, so how are we supposed to know what dating practices are okay, safe and normal? We already know the dirt on our best friends and roommates, but what about everyone else?

According to a study by College Pulse, 70 percent of students surveyed have been single at some point during the pandora. And 69 percent of those people have been dating less than they would have normally. It sucks, but it makes sense. To those of you who’ve been cutting back, thank you! It’s important that we take actions to keep ourselves and our communities safe. To those who haven’t cut back, you better be wearing a mask.

To those other 30 percent who have been dating throughout the pandemic, uh, wow, congratulations! Don’t forget to be respectful to those around you. Be transparent with your roommates and those in your bubble, because making out these days is risky business. 

Honestly, pandemic dating is a lot like regular dating should be. You need to communicate with your partner and ask if they’ve been tested (for COVID-19 and STIs)! But unfortunately, it seems like a lot of you didn’t pay attention during sex-ed because less than half of college students having sex with someone new asked their partner about recent COVID-19 test results, according to the study.

And I’m disappointed — but not surprised — to say that men are about three times as likely to “date normally” during the pandemic than women and other genders.

This is a good time to remind everyone that “you are your safest sex partner,” according to the New York City Health Department. In June, the department released some COVID-19 sex guidelines which are unintentionally hilarious but have some good info too. It suggested to have sex with your roommates…. But I personally don’t encourage this for the sake of your social life. 

“Make it a little kinky. Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact,” the safer sex guide said. 

So, what now? I’m also just a college student, and I don’t have all the answers for you. This time is tough for a multitude of reasons. But here’s some reminders and advice just for the hell of it.

If you really, absolutely need to hook up with someone, do it with someone you trust, get tested beforehand and make sure your bubbles know about it and are okay with it. If you’re already seeing a lot of people, 1) stop 2) this option is not for you.

In the end, give yourself grace. There was no perfect way to do this before the pandemic and now it’s even harder. Listen to your body and health guidelines, be safe and maybe just get a vibrator instead.

Sincerely,
Venus

Venus can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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