Sex Stories is an ongoing series focused on the relationship with our sexual partners, our community, and ultimately, with our physical and spiritual self. In this weekly series, we will feature short and long prose, that examines the layers of sex (or none at all) during a pandemic. This series aims to not only demystify the sexual experience for folks right not, but hopefully, narrows in on the reality that sex is an integral aspect of our very unique pandemic journeys. No matter where you are physically, spiritually and mentally, our hope is that by sharing these stories, we will all continue to hold each other.“
The Higher Risk
“When the pandemic struck hard in March 2020 and my office sent everybody home to work, a lot of my colleagues made jokes to each other regarding how many maternity leaves would occur due to all this time spent at home. Because I am the only childless person on my team, if by any chance I missed a text from them on our group chat, I’d get a sex joke, “She must be having a spicy coffee break.” I have to admit, even I imagined my boyfriend and I would have some mid-afternoon “spicy coffee breaks.” We were all so very wrong.
My boyfriend suffers from kidney failure…
Although dialysis affects his libido (not to mention how exhausted he is most days after treatment), since his transplant kidney failed, we’ve managed to still have a satisfying sex life. I knew that sex would most likely happen on the weekend (when he’s less tired). I also knew he wouldn’t go for a “second round.” We found what worked for us, and then came the pandemic. Because he is a high risk patient, he suffered from severe anxiety during the first two months. He’s usually very calm and positive about everything and suddenly he wouldn’t even kiss me. Then he got better, and then he got worse again. Sex became less frequent and worse. It was as if it was such a rare occasion that it meant it had to be worth it and therefore there was all this unconscious pressure, then it stopped all together.
Just like him, many friends of mine have told me they feel so worried they have no sex drive at all. Yet I feel like a horny teenager. I find myself rewatching what I call” sexy movies” on purpose (“Call me by your name”, of course). I watched Bridgerton just because the Duke was very hot and the sex seemed steamy. When my boyfriend goes off to treatment, I’ll have fun all by myself. I’ll even do it in bed after he falls asleep. I’ve had the most intense orgasms of my life these past months. And yet, for me, that still doesn’t compare to feeling a warm body, several kisses on the neck, the physical touch of the person I love.
I have read a lot of material regarding the mental effect of the pandemic on high risk patients. I’ve even talked to his doctor. And I’ve talked about it to my boyfriend, of course. Yet nothing has changed these last few months. Last night he suggested we’d go to bed earlier and I felt hopeful. It was the weekend, afterall. I finished brushing my teeth and he was already asleep (I’m thinking now maybe I shouldn’t have brushed my teeth). So I did the next best thing of course.
I wasn’t expecting the impact all of this would have on my self esteem. I was used to being with guys that were “sex ready” all the time, so somehow I felt this meant he wasn’t attracted to me anymore. And no matter how much he says he’s just not feeling like himself, that it’s not my fault and compliments my ass on my quarantine sweatpants, I still feel it. The other day we had a video call with a couple of our closest friends and when one of them said enthusiastically “you look so pretty with your hair like that!”. I felt like crying. We still support each other through everything, we still laugh out loud together, we cuddle and kiss all the time… yet I wonder what will become of our sex life in the near future. But just in case, I’m ordering a new sex toy.”
P.S Cláudia has recently added that her boyfriend has since been vaccinated, and things have gotten better. Thank you, Claudia! More Sex Stories, right this way.