h2>Dating : Sex Outside of the Quarantine Bubble
In order to compromise with a strict abstinence-only approach to new partners outside of our “bubbles,” some have suggested the Netherlands “sex buddy” model, which emphasises monogamy with a new partner in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
In the case of a “sex buddy” model, couples have to negotiate a monogamy agreement early on in their relationship, potentially before they even have an opportunity to be in close contact with each other for the first time.
The Netherlands model may work for some people, but monogamy may not be a realistic option for everyone.
Monogamy has historically and repeatedly been used as an unrealistic and morally charged intervention in public health to reduce the spread of disease, such as HIV and other STIs. A more extreme example of this concept is “no sex before marriage” which is a core tenant of ineffective abstinence-only education.
Government health agencies reducing sexual relationships to one of two choices, monogamy or abstinence, is an unrealistic long-term strategy to a pandemic that may continue for months to come.
Due to the morally charged nature of monogamy, people are often hesitant to admit to their partner if they have broken their promise to be monogamous. If people are already afraid of being labeled as a ‘cheater,’ they most likely will be additionally afraid of being labeled as a potential vector of a deadly virus during a pandemic.
In the case of COVID-19, a quarantine monogamy agreement could also mean negotiating whether or not you engage in other higher risk behaviors, such as going to a social gathering with a larger group of people. Negotiating COVID-19 transmission risk goes beyond sexual contact, and will need to apply to conversations around other forms of social contact.
With all of these complex dilemmas in mind, people may find themselves feeling intense social pressure to keep these higher risk behaviors a secret in order to not face negative social consequences (such as getting dumped).
Without transparency and a de-escalation of these morally charged labels, people will resort to secrets and feelings of shame instead of proactively seeking testing, communicating honestly with their partner, or quarantining in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to their partner. Communication, education, and testing are going to be key aspects of moving forward with sex outside of quarantine, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.