Covid-19 times: Are people seeking more meaningful bonds over casual sex?

On Valentine's Day, let's take a look at what changed about relationships and the idea of casual sex among people in the Covid-19 world.
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Friction with facial hair can cause acne. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Published: 13 Feb 2022, 17:48 pm IST
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Avantika Singh, a 30-year-old, found her prince “after kissing many frogs”, as she calls it. Since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world in 2019, change has been the only constant in people’s lives – on all fronts. Love, relationships and sex were no different. For a whole lot of people around, the move from casual sex or blind dating to stable relationships and life-long commitments, has been an organic during times of social distancing.

Avantika, an assistant manager in telecommunications , tells HealthShots, “Lockdown was a difficult period for me. I was locked away from my friends and family in Delhi. But one thing that made me devitalize was the lack of physical affection. Before the pandemic, my dating life was at its prime and it sometimes my dates progressed into casual sex experiences too. But with the onset of Covid-19, I went through a major touch starvation and it raised some emotional concerns too.”

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Giving you more reasons to find the one! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Covid-19 and the impact on relationships and casual sex

Sharing her turn-around from it, she says, “With nobody around to share my life with, I started reaching out to my friends and shunned dates. That’s when I got into talks with one guy I could never meet. Some work, a personal commitment or something or the other kept emerging every time we planned an outing. But, now I had all the time in the world, so we got talking. And only upon talking, I realized what I was missing out on. What started during the lockdown has flourished into a worthwhile and committed relationship now.”

Well, it was a silver lining in the dark Covid-19 cloud for her! But to be honest, Covid-19 came and literally turned many of our worlds upside down. Just like schools and offices, our love lives and (casual) sex shut its doors in our faces. While the virus was a super-spreader, for many it only spread drought in the already parched land of relationships.

Over two years, we have mastered terms like social distancing, lockdown, quarantine, hand sanitizer, masks and more. But, let’s give it to ourselves for our resilience through it all. Humans can turn an ‘aapda into avsar’ (disaster into a chance, duh!) if they want. That’s just what happened. From planning a socially-distant wedding to an online guest list, we did everything, so the heart does not terminate its flight.

And just like that, it seemed like several people found their soulmates during this pandemic! To stamp it, my Instagram feed was brimming with pictures of friends either getting married or attending a marriage.

An expert talks about the shift in relationship choices amid Covid-19

One question that came to my mind was ‘What made it happen? Why was everybody around us tying themselves down? “

Dr. Kedar Tilwe, Consultant-Psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Mulund and Fortis Hiranandani Hospital spoke to HealthShots regarding the shift in relationship choices.

“The uncertainty created by the pandemic had caused many people to recalibrate their expectations and re-prioritize both their short as well as long-term goals. The sense of isolation and emotional disconnect has further highlighted the importance of healthy, stable, and meaningful relationships in our life. So, a lot of people are shifting their focus from mere physical attraction to a genuine emotional connection,” said Dr Tilwe.

Unlike the physical changes, the pandemic served many with a reality check. The solitude and longing of human touch loomed on us due to the quarantine and lockdown restrictions. The people who turned to frequent casual sex as their outlet for physical needs, had a change of mind. Many started finding comfort in the idea of one partner.

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Here we are sharing some insights on casual sex! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Another person who found love amidst the Covid-19 commotion was Neha Bhatnagar, a 29-year-old sales executive in a shipping company.

“I found my now husband during the second wave of Covid-19. We met at a small family event and got to know each other well over time. After marathon phone sessions, evening coffee and dinner plans, we fell in love, and made it official.

“However, before I took the plunge, I had been on the lookout for a partner for 4 years. While some may enjoy a purely sexual relationship, it wasn’t pleasing but mentally excruciating. The one-time romances and no-strings attached sex always left me with heart palpitations and pain. I always craved for something solid and meaningful but those fleeting moments of intimacy never turned into a serious relationship,” says Bhatnagar in hindsight.

That hookups can slowly destroy people’s state of mind, is something corroborated by research by Kinsey Institute researcher Justin Garcia and his team at Binghamton University. Some people are left feeling ashamed, guilt-ridden and have low self-esteem issues. Researchers found out that people felt depressed and lonely after engaging in casual sex.

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Good emotional wellbeing may also add to your sex life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The takeaway

Since the pandemic halted the world, it gave us much time to ponder over the realities of life. People who aimed to erase their feelings of depression, loneliness and anxiety through brief but impulsive sex, got a chance to address their emotional needs. If you’re somebody whose regrets lie heavily on your conscience after a momentary closeness, you need to love yourself better!

Do not ignore the pain or guilt because your feelings are valid! If you’re undergoing any such mental or emotional worry, we suggest you speak to a friend or seek professional help to address your emotional concerns.

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About the Author

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued! ...Read More

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