The rapid spread of COVID-19 changed routines, imposed lockdowns and made us question whether others had the disease or not. All this has made people rethink and reframe their relationships with others.
According to several studies, the social isolation caused by the health crisis has triggered reactions such as fear, rage, depression, anxiety, insomnia and euphoria, all of which affect our relationships.
In this regard, Raida Semanat, researcher at the Centre for Youth Studies in the Cuban capital, told Prensa Latina that COVID-19 has set new standards among young people in establishing romantic ties. For example, some delayed the desired time to meet a partner, while others delayed starting sexual relationships.
There are also challenges for relationship dynamics, such as lack of personal space, caring responsibilities, the stress of household chores, work, providing food and other essential resources, she indicated.
An investigation by the Cuban Multidisciplinary Society for the Study of Sexuality revealed that couples separated by distance, because they were in different countries or provinces, suffered the most from the pandemic, despite keeping in contact virtually.
The scientific study also revealed the damaging effects of cohabitation in relationships that were already in difficulty before the pandemic.
In many cases, couples that already lived together and experienced conflict saw these problems get worse, even causing relationship breakdown.
While relationships that could be flexible and seek out new ways of adapting to the context, were strengthened.
A study by the University of Texas in the United States drew similar conclusions; while research in Argentina found that couples were more satisfied cohabiting in environments in which the couple lived alone.
As Spanish writer Celia Blanco told Euronews, the health emergency further encouraged seduction via social media, already a widespread practice before coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
“The Internet was the alternative to the impossibility of kissing, wearing a mask from 1m away,” the publication affirmed, referring to a different way of communicating, relating to others and having sex.
For English journalist Alix Fox, the pandemic has forced people to reconsider what constitutes a pleasurable exchange.
“I’ve heard of people writing erotic stories to each other, and people who are dating but quarantined in different places taking advantage of the time and the distance,” she told the British news channel, the BBC.
The warnings from various media outlets about increased sales of sex toys in countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Spain and Italy, complement this picture of relationships in the face of the disease.
Sources agree that, generally speaking, the time of COVID-19 demands new skills in our ways of expressing sexuality and relationship dynamics, so that pleasure and responsibility are combined and take precedence to safeguard health, both for individuals and couples. (PL)