Today, I want to discuss polyamory and COVID-19 and staying connected. A lot of this advice can be applied to anyone who’s trying to stay connected with people they’re socially isolated from, including friends, although some of it does, of course, deal with staying connected in a sexual sense.
I’m focusing specifically on polyamorous relationships, because people in non-traditional relationships often have a harder time than those in more traditional relationships. Usually, they have a smaller support network; they can’t talk to just anyone about their relationship and their relationship struggles. My heart has a special place for people who are struggling in polyamorous relationships, socially-distanced from one or more partners, and trying to figure out ways to stay connected.
Today, I’m going to be sharing some practical tips for how you might stay connected with a partner that you’ve decided to be socially distanced from in order to protect them, yourself, or someone in either of your circles.
There are plenty of technological options for staying in touch. Videochatting may feel like a lesser substitute for in-person interaction, but if you remember that, right now, in-person interaction would probably mean staying six feet apart and/or facing away from one another, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to snuggle, you can see that videochatting actually provides a real opportunity for face-to-face, eye-to-eye connection. Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype are all options, as are apps like Marco Polo which you can use to send little videos back and forth, which is nice if you might want to watch it over and over again. There’s also some interesting technology for distance-connected sex–for instance, there’s phone app you can use to control a sex toy that your partner has (for one, google wevibe), and multiple other sex technology you might be interseted in investigating.
I think texting or sexting is a really great way to stay in touch. One thing I recommend is developing a way of doing an activity simultaneously, without actually being online together while you do it. For instance, maybe you work out simultaneously in your separate spaces. You can text between activities, send each other pictures, and then after the fact you can sit down together on Zoom and drink your smoothie (or whatever) and chat. That kind of arrangement can help you feel really emotionally connected, in a pretty intimate way, without having to be in the same space together.
If you want to have a sexual interaction, you can use the same concept: you could have a self-pleasure interaction separately and not online, but where you’re relating to each other about it, and you know that your partner is doing the same thing at the same time. It’s possible to create a very intimate experience in this way.
If you have a crowded house, and are having trouble getting a little privacy to talk, there are a few ways to get around that. You might want to go for a walk, and have your private phone conversation while one or both of you are walking. You can have a more intimate conversation that way than you could if you were worried about someone overhearing from the other side of the door. Obviously, if there are other people around you outdoors you can’t have a sexual conversation, but you can have emotional intimacy and privacy from household members.
Alternatively, you can also use white noise on the outside of a closed door, or play some music outside the door, to create a sense of privacy and help you feel a little more relaxed and comfortable chatting with your socially-distanced partner.
When it comes to connecting over technology, a lot of people are concerned about privacy, especially if they’re considering connecting sexually over technology. One way to protect your privacy is to come up with euphemisms to use when sexting with your partners.
But, of course, any form of technological communication comes with security risks, so that’s just a factor you have to take into account. As you’re weighing the risk of some kind of breach of privacy, be sure to also consider the mental health benefits of that connection. For many people, it comes out clearly that the mental health benefit is worth the tech risk. However, if you have a lot to lose if there is a breach, use euphemisms, don’t send intimate pictures, and use secure platforms.
I hope that you’re getting creative about ways that you can connect and feel connected, and I’m sure you can come up with some great ideas that I haven’t thought of. Stay tuned for my next installment, in which I’m going to be talking about staying sane when you may be getting a little too much connection with the people in your home.