Going solosexual: Keeping an erotic spark alive
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I write about sex, relationships, and associated communities. How can I be useful amid such a crisis? I'm emotionally exhausted. The pandemic's impact leaves me a bit numb sitting in front of my laptop.
In my last column, "Sex in the era of COVID-19," I discussed why we must be cautious for a while having sex with people we don't know well. Some will decide they're not having any in-person sex until the health landscape becomes safer.
Sex is vital to our well-being. Even if it's masturbation with an active fantasy life, it's necessary to have that outlet. Some people might be fine without sex, but they're the minority. Most of us need some sexual outlet to feel balanced.
If you have a live-in sex partner and that suffices, great! If you don't have a live-in partner or require outside engagement, perhaps it's time to embrace the solosexual inside you. A solosexual is one who prefers masturbation over other forms of sex. While that might not be your mainstay, it's a viable option now.
There is no way to make long-distance sex happen without technology; phone, tablet or laptop. Make sure your online security is optimized to make it as safe as possible.
Update your device's operating system, anti-virus and anti-malware software, and communications applications. Current updates ensure that known security flaws are likely fixed. There's no assurance your device or communications mechanisms are entirely secure. Do the best you can.
There's always at least a modicum of risk. We live with that reality every day we send email, post on social media, or receive an unsolicited text. Think of precautions as technological harm reduction.
Recent news reports point out security concerns among various online web conferencing and communication platforms. Companies are scrambling to address those problems, but this is a 'buyer beware' scenario. Search for the latest security news on whatever platforms or applications you're using.
Never use a company-issued work device for sexual communications or accessing adult sites.
If you've got a great fantasy life, good old masturbation can work just fine. Technological assistance may not be needed. As my friend, author and masturbation expert, Dr. Gloria Brame, once said, "An orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available."
So, jerk off. The orgasms feel amazing, engender some much-needed euphoria, and they're safe and free. There's always online porn to add a visual assist.
To engage someone outside of your household, start considering ways to do that. If you're open about such things, start by asking friends what systems they use and for their advice.
Then do some research online. Search for every permutation of online sex, cybersex, or other such search strings. Add in your orientation to narrow results. Look for both news and how-to articles. The news might alert you to any current pitfalls with certain platforms. The how-to articles will give you tutorials and advice.
Do what it takes to ensure privacy and the best of use of platforms. For example, when using web meeting applications, require a password if that's an option to keep unwanted malicious trollers out.
Many of the dating and hookups apps are now currently acting primarily as hot chat systems. Some have video components built into their technology that are quite useful.
If you want to have online sex with strangers, try to vet everyone with whom you interact. I know that's not easy, but a bit of caution is wise. Don't divulge any private information until you really know them. Maybe don't show your face or live webcam image at all to start.
Consent matters whenever sex is involved, and that goes for cybersex too. Don't just send a naked photo or activate your web cam. Ask if you can. Maybe don't send photos with your face showing with your naked body at all. Same for how you frame yourself when using a webcam. Ask if there are off-limit topics in their cybersex and let them know yours.
If using a webcam, make sure nothing in the background potentially divulges private information. Perhaps think the worst of people, at least when first interacting, and assume they're capturing your image or recording a video of your interactions.
I know some of these warnings might seem radically paranoid. I'm not suggesting you avoid online sex. In fact, I'm strongly encouraging you to give it a try if you haven't yet in order to more easily make it through the next weeks of sheltering in place.
Just do so with some forethought and attention to best practices. I want you to have as much amazing solosex as you want, whether alone or with a virtual partner. I'd rather people did that than choosing a hookup in person that hasn't fully considered all the potential risk factors.
Stay safe. Now, as our friends across the pond might say, go have a wank!
Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. www.bannon.com
The LGBTQ Leather, Kink and Sexuality Communities Resources Guide is a "living" document and will be updated ongoing as more information is made available.https://bit.ly/2Jpcxud
Sex in the Era of COVID-19: on www.ebar.com
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