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Out in the Bay: Searching for intimacy during COVID

by Truc Nguyen

Chef Avery Hines sits on a bench at Buena Vista Park in San Francisco. Photo: Truc Nguyen
Chef Avery Hines sits on a bench at Buena Vista Park in San Francisco. Photo: Truc Nguyen  

In the Bay Area and across the country, we're nearly 10 months into COVID restrictions. Some of us are skin-starved, many of us even love-starved. No hugs, no spooning, no sex, no friends and no family.

It's a lot to deal with, but the truth is, many of us felt lonesome even before the pandemic pushed us further into isolation. Getting what we truly need is always a challenge, so how are we coping now?

To find out, Out in the Bay producer Truc Nguyen got intimate with Bay Area residents.

Avery Hines is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and a chef at San Francisco's Walden House, which serves clients with mental health and substance use disorder issues. He lives with his girlfriend in Oakland and they're both polyamorous. While they're both using apps to get to know people, Hines "misses having other intimate connections with people, and it's not necessarily a sexual thing."

For Bay Area musician Olivia Lee of There's Talk, dating non-monogamously has been demanding. "It's required a lot of communicating and checking in and having a bunch of agreements," she said. There have been two COVID scares in Lee's pod, and each time, Lee's "cap moon kicks in," and there's a "total lockdown."

On this week's Out in the Bay, people share their social-distance stories and offer some sexy and sweet solutions to the lack of connection we all feel from time to time, pandemic or not.

We hear from Hines, Lee, and other people dating non-monogamously, using dating apps, and finding creative ways to stay connected to sexuality and community.

We also hear from Kristina Loring, head story producer aka "erotic audio doula" for the feminist erotic audio app Dipsea — and hear parts of a few steamy Dipsea stories! — and from the late Black lesbian writer Audre Lorde, reading from "Uses of the Erotic."

Hear more from Loring, Hines, Lee, and others finding connection during COVID on this week's Out in the Bay — Queer Radio from San Francisco.

The episode airs at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 2, on KSFP Radio, 102.5 FM in San Francisco only, and is available anytime on Out in the Bay's website.

Out in the Bay also airs 10 p.m. Tuesdays on KALW, 91.7 FM throughout the central Bay Area.

Truc Nguyen is a producer of Out in the Bay — Queer Radio from San Francisco. Learn more and listen at https://www.outinthebay.org/

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