by Jennifer Lang, MD
“Oh honey,” my friend sighed during a recent check-in call to see how she and her partner of fifteen years were holding up in their Venice Beach apartment. “By the end of this thing I’m gonna end up either pregnant, in prison for murder, or both.”
If we have an intimate partner sharing space with us during this quarantine it is completely normal that all of our issues — emotional, sexual, logistical and otherwise — are going to come to the surface. Even if we don’t have an intimate partner sharing space with us, these issues still arise. With many of the distractions of our pre-quarantine lives eliminated, we find ourselves with time that previously had been taken up by things like commuting to and from work, going to the gym, going out shopping or eating in restaurants. I recommend using as much of this time as possible for sex.
Whether it’s sex with a partner or sex with yourself, pleasurable, sensual physical touch and orgasm has many benefits for the mind, body and spirit. It helps with sleep quality, pain management, boosts the immune system, brings feelings of wellbeing and satisfaction, and raises oxytocin levels (the feel-good bonding hormone). This is a wonderful time to take a deep look at our lives and relationships, and really dial into our desires. It is impossible to ask for what we want and need with a partner if we haven’t done the necessary self-exploration first.
What turns you on? What feels good? What do you crave? Try getting out the massage oil or personal lubricant of your choice (and possibly a toy) and discover what feels really, really amazing. Connect to your breath. Connect to the rolling of your hips and the tensing and relaxing of your muscles. Slow. Down…. and allow yourself to feel everything. There is literally nowhere else you have to be.
If you have a partner in your quarantine space and you desire them, see what happens when you let them know. Have you ever really told them what kind of touch makes you wild, or what specific things you really love to hear them say during sex? Have you ever shared your fantasies or asked them to share theirs? Have you ever tried something totally different, challenged yourself or your partner to explore aspects of each other’s sexuality that might have seemed a little scary or fell slightly outside your comfort zone or normal routine? With careful, gentle communication and mutual respect all of this is possible.
And guess what? We have time for this now. Lots and lots of time.
Let’s take this time to love ourselves, to touch our bodies and discover all of their secrets and joys. Pleasure is our birthright. But pleasure demands time and attention and care. I hope that all of you give yourselves the gift of pleasure during this global challenge. Unless you are a frontline healthcare worker or in some other essential business, staying in your bedroom is practically your civic responsibility. Please enjoy, responsibly.
ABOUT JENNIFER LANG, MD
Jennifer Lang, MD is the founder and creator of Buzz Labs, a social impact tech start-up innovating products for the movement to end sexual violence. She received her medical education at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where she received the Dean’s Award: “Holding Promise for the Future of Medicine.” She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, then fellowship in gynecologic oncology at UCLA. She practiced as a board-certified ob-gyn and gynecologic oncologist, specializing in integrative and preventative medicine, minimally invasive and robotic surgery. In 2013, she cofounded an international medical nonprofit that delivers cervical cancer prevention services to women in resource-poor countries. Since then, the nonprofit has grown to support over 90 clinics spanning Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America. She is the author of The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start, and Consent: Every Teen’s Guide to Healthy Sexual Relationships. She is the mother of three children, and lives in Beverly Hills, California.