Love and sex in the time of coronaviruses

Image of Nana Darkoa

I haven’t had sex (with another person) this year, and just when I felt ready to get my groove on Rona hit! I signed on to Bumble, the dating site where women make the first move just a week or two before the first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ghana. My choice of Bumble was deliberate. Sometime at the beginning of last year I had tried Tinder but in a few days deleted my account in desperation. Two people I already knew and been intimate with, had messaged to ask me, “was it really you that I just saw on Tinder?” Yes it was me, but what did this mean? They were no new people out there? In truth, there were lots of new people but the work of sifting to find a few gems was sooooo time consuming that I gave up. 

Then in May last year I went to an intimate gathering at the home of a dear friend.  She had carefully invited 3 men, and 2 women to come over to her house that evening. Half the group knew each other, the other half were strangers. What we all had in common was a love of salsa dancing, and so we pushed the chairs to the side of the room, connected a bluetooth speaker to someone’s phone, paired up and started dancing. I ended up dancing a lot with a guy whom I shall refer to here as E. After twirling over the makeshift dance floor over and over ago we both collapsed on the nearby sofa. At some point in time he leaned over and said to me, “I feel like doing something.” When I said, “what do you feel like doing?” He leaned over and kissed me. I enjoyed the kiss, and the voyeur in me liked that we were kissing openly in a room where there were two other couples. Later that night E and I shared an uber, we kissed some more on the journey home, and then I was dropped off. For the rest of the year we saw each other every 2-3 weeks, it felt like an easy comfortable relationship. Our routine was usually this: E would come over to my house, we would have drinks, have sex, and then later he would go home.  Occasionally he would come to an event which I had organised, or accompany me to an event. There was no question of me going to his house because he lived at home with his family. I saw that as just one of the downsides of being involved with someone who was at least a decade younger than I am. 

This year I feel like E has low key ghosted me. Low key because he hasn’t disappeared completely. He’s always hyping me up in my IG stories (which I’m beginning to find low key irritating. If you’re going to ghost do it completely). Yesterday he messaged me to check how I was doing, and to ask if I was abiding by all the safety precautions around COVID-19. I told him I was. He’s a Dr and I imagined that part of his concern stems from his medical training.

I don’t really need or want another friend who checks up on me via whatsapp or hypes me up on IG. I have more than enough of that. What I would really like is something more intimate, something more regular, something more consistent. Over the past few months I met a guy that I really like. Over a series of weekends we’ve explored different places: we’ve had drinks whilst perched on rocks overlooking the Atlantic, we went to my favourite sushi restaurant, and one evening we ‘hanged in’ at mine. We haven’t had sex (in case you are wondering), and it will be a good idea for us not to go there. He’s meant to be in a monogamous marriage. I say meant cos you know people’s realities can be very different from their ideals. Part of what has been helpful about having this person come into my life is that it has emphasised the kind of relationship I would like to have. I would like someone that I have a regular ‘thing’ with. I don’t need to see you every day. I don’t want to see you every day, but I would like to have regular plans with you. Maybe every Thursday night is our date night, we start by you picking me at mine, we drive to my favourite spot on the beach, we clamber up to my favourite rock, and we make out in between sips of my favourite tipple. 

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