The coronavirus pandemic is here, honey, and she shows no signs of slowing down! As we’ve discovered after lock down, we can’t put everything in our lives on hold forever. It’s now about navigating a COVID filled world safely. Just because there is a pandemic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be dating. There is still room for pleasure in a pandemic. As long as you’re safe about it! Let’s explore pandemic dating.

Pandemic Dating

Firstly, it will be hard to meet a mate out in the wild because most places are closed, and everyone in public is wearing masks so we can’t see what each person’s face looks like. Now is the time for dating apps, baby!!! Download those apps, set up a profile, and get to swiping. There are likely more people than usual on the apps because we all need some human connection right now.

You can have a virtual date through Zoom or the dating app and video chat. That is one hundred percent corona-safe and fun! Cook the same meal and enjoy it over video call, all from the comfort of your own home!

If you really want to meet up in person, you could do a socially distant date. Meet at a park and have a socially distant picnic. Or go on a socially distant walk. If you do want to be up close and personal, bring a mask!

If you meet your new honey and sparks are flying and you want to abandon all social distancing guidelines, you could both get COVID tested before your next date. To be extra sure you’re both COVID free, you should get tested, then proceed with fun under the mask activities.

Some health experts have said that if you must have sex with someone you’re not living with, you should both wear masks! At first this might sound a little extreme and not sexy AT ALL, but you know what’s even less sexy? CORONAVIRUS! Think of it as a fun element added into the mix of your sexual rendezvous. Hooking up but not being able to kiss? Forcing you to get creative with how to connect? Kinda hot.

I also recommend going on dates outside in places where you can easily distance from other people. If you go for drinks, go somewhere with a patio and lots of seating options. Go get ice cream at a walk up ice cream stand. Pack some snacks and some wine and watch the sunset in a park. The options are endless! And not only are these options corona safe, but they’re also budget friendly.

It is of course possible to meet a mate out in the wild these days, but a little challenging. Embrace the weirdness of the moment and check out the apps. Ask your potential date if they’ve been social distancing and masking up before you even meet up with them just to be safe and go from there. Maybe you two could even get COVID tested on a date? Is that weird? Everything is weird so it’s hard to tell!

We need to embrace that everything feels a little funky right now and get creative. Just because there is a pandemic doesn’t mean we need to stop flirting and going on dates. Just make sure you are safe about it!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “inner child”?  This idea of an inner child is becoming more and more popular in psychology, and I’ve even seen mental health posts about it on Instagram. Who is she?! Why do I need to pay attention to her?

Your inner child is essentially your child-like self that lives within you. Yes, perhaps you’re an adult ~legally~ but everyone has an inner child no matter their age. My child self loved to write and sing songs, which then turned into my adult self writing poetry. Cute!

Typically “inner child work” or “healing your inner child” comes up in psychology when dealing with trauma. With inner child work, psychologists believe that our adult reactions to situations are actually our unhealed child-like self acting out.  Perhaps when you were a kid you were interrupted and talked over a lot. That could show up as an adult as you interrupting others, yelling or getting the last word in every argument. Inner child work says that if you can go back and connect with your child self, you can heal your trauma, and adjust your reactions.

Trauma is any event that shatters your sense of security and makes you feel helpless. There are varying degrees of trauma, but as a child you are so vulnerable and constantly being shaped that even things that we as adults think are not a big deal could have been traumatic, thus shaping the way we react to things now. MIND BLOWN! Trauma doesn’t have to be a super violent, explosive event. Trauma could be something as commonplace as having a lot of yelling in your home growing up.

When psychologists have people connect to their inner child, it often involves various methods to help that person get back into the mindset of who they were at the age the trauma first occurred. Perhaps you had a specific traumatic event occur when you were 10. To get back into that mindset you could write a letter to your ten year old self, then write a letter back as your ten year old self, starting a dialogue with the inner child. You could think of what you looked like at that age, imagine yourself in your favorite outfit, doing your favorite activity. Psychologists say once we are able to truly connect to that child-like state, we can work to heal the trauma, which then makes us healthier adults.

Outside of trauma work, you can also connect with your inner child for overall mental health benefits. I loved staring at the sky finding pictures in the clouds and often will make time to do that when I’m feeling stressed. It makes me feel carefree and relaxed.

Here is a great video by therapist and Youtuber Kati Morton on inner child work:

And the Holistic Psychologist (@the.holistic.psychologist) offers great commentary and explanations on inner child work.

Connecting to your inner child is great for your overall well-being, and can be especially helpful when healing trauma. If you do need to heal from a traumatic event, find a therapist you can help you. You can even find someone who specializes in inner child work. Connecting to a simpler version of yourself can be comforting and fun, and in some cases, extremely beneficial for your mental health as an adult.

It’s acceptable to talk about mental health struggles now more than ever, and it’s clear that we have millennials to thank for that. Seriously. Millennials and Gen Zers seem to be the ones who helped open the door to normalize talking about mental health and taking it seriously.

Mental health includes our mental, phycological, and social well being. Everyone has mental health, and at some point in their life, everyone will struggle with a mental health issue. The severity and frequency of these struggles varies person to person, but nonetheless, mental health is something we should all care about. Keeping up with your mental health should be part of looking after yourself. Now with websites like Better Help and Zoom sessions with therapists, you might be wondering if virtual therapy is worth it. Is it better than traditional therapy? Just like most things, there are pros and cons to both.

Traditional therapy, also known as talk therapy, is a tried and true method. It has been around for ages and many people have good experiences with it. In talk therapy you visit your therapist in person, usually for an hour long session, and talk about what’s going on with you and your mental health. Your therapist might ask you some questions, give you journal prompts, lead you in exercises, and give you other tools to help you cope with the stresses of life.

Virtual therapy is essentially the same thing, but rather than in person, it’s over a phone or computer. With teletherapy you can video chat your session with your therapist, and some platforms even let you text with your therapist when you just need to check but don’t need a full session.

Virtual therapy is nice because it is often far less expensive than traditional therapy and you can check in with your therapist periodically between sessions if needed. If you do a phone therapy session, it might also be easier to really dig deep and share what’s going on because you don’t have the added pressure of being face to face with someone. You can do virtual therapy right from the comfort of your home, which also makes it easier to schedule and perhaps makes you more comfortable sharing.

A draw back of virtual therapy is that you don’t get the in person connection you have from traditional therapy. Being in the same room as your therapist, face to face, allows you to build trust and connect with them on a deeper level that you could through a screen. If you’re someone that thrives off in person connection and gets energy from being around others, perhaps in person is better suited for you. Having your therapist office be a space separate from your home that you must commute to can also provide some time for you to mentally prepare going into the session.

Virtual and in person therapy are very beneficial for your mental health and both are great options to consider. You don’t have to have a severe mental illness or have experienced a trauma to start therapy. It’s beneficial for maintaining your mental health no matter what.

Let’s Talk Period Sex

Period sex. It seems to be a taboo or even “gross” topic, but I’m here to tell you period sex is awesome and offers several benefits. Admittedly, I also can’t talk about period sex without thinking of the period sex song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the CW, but that’s beside the point.

Many people think they can’t have sex on their period or shouldn’t have sex on their period because periods are “gross” or their partner wouldn’t be into it. First thing’s first: your period is not gross. It’s a natural and ESSENTIAL part of life. Secondly, ask your partner about it and have a conversation.

Period sex is totally safe and can be super fun as well. Here are some benefits:

  1. Your blood can act as an added natural lubrication. Your vagina is slick with blood on your period, and this added bodily fluid is natural, built in lubrication, making penetrative sex easier and more enjoyable.
  2. Orgasms can help relieve cramps and headaches. During orgasm, the pelvic muscles essentially contract and release repeatedly, and this motion can help relieve cramping that commonly comes with periods. Additionally, orgasms release endorphins, which can also help relieve pain during your period. That being said, you can also masturbate and benefit from orgasm without a partner as well. 
  3. Sensations can be more intense. Your cervix is lower and softer during ovulation and your period, and breasts can also be more sensitive during your period. Because of this, sensations could feel more intense or even just different than usual. Additionally, because of the positioning of your cervix during your period, foreplay is essential for getting your body ready for any sort of penetration. The cervix will go further into the body after about 20 minutes of foreplay to prepare for penetration. 
  4. Have extra fun and a new sexual experience. Having period sex will likely provide new or different sensations for you and your partner, which can be so fun! Also engaging in something that is seen as slightly taboo can also be a turn on and allow you to feel more free during sex, which is always a bonus. Additionally, because of the sensitivity of your cervix and possible cramps, some positions might feel better than others. Move around and try some new things and see what feels good.
  5. It can inspire you to be creative and try new things. Sex doesn’t just mean penis in vagina penetration. Being on your period can inspire you and your partner to try new things if neither of you are super into the idea of penetrative sex, no matter you or your partner’s gender. You could use sex toys together, try mutual masturbation, or even still have oral sex. If you keep a tampon or menstrual cup in and have your partner only stimulate your clitoris during oral sex, you can stay mess free. But if you’re into the idea of still having oral sex and embracing your blood, go for it! There’s also a device called Flex which is a flexible period disc that catches your blood and is safe to use during penetrative and oral sex.

Now that you know some of the benefits, what should you do to prepare for period sex? Talk to your partner! Tell them that you want to have period sex and see what they say. Open communication is key to having a good sex life!

It’s also extremely important to note that you can still get pregnant on your period! Although the chance of getting pregnant is significantly lower than when you’re not on your period, it’s still very possible. Sperm can live in your body for up to six days, so even if implantation doesn’t occur the moment you have penetrative sex, it could still happen, so use protection. If you are on the hormonal birth control pill or use an IUD and still get a period, you can’t get pregnant on your period because those forms of birth control shut down ovulation. However, if you don’t take your pill at the same time every day, there is still a chance you could get pregnant, so use condoms just to be safe.

Period sex can also still spread STIs, so make sure you know you and your partner’s STI status, or just use a condom. Condoms can also act as a barrier between your period blood and your partner, which can make clean up even easier.

Put down a blanket, a towel, or some old sheets as well. Period sex can be messy, but that can also be part of the fun! Lay down something to protect your space. You can use an old towel or blanket, or some companies even sell period sex blankets. They are a little pricey, and a towel works just fine. You can also have sex in the shower to keep things clean if that’s a concern for you.

Period sex can be fun and provide new sensations for you and your partner, and even relieve some of the cramping you might experience during your period. If period sex is something you want to try, talk to your partner about it! Let go, embrace the mess, and have fun!

Talking Birth Control Options with Your Friends

From the pill to the IUD to the non-hormonal IUD to condoms to the injection…(should I go on? there’s more) there are MANY options for birth control in this good year of 2020, so how do you know which option is right for you, or which ones to even consider? What are the pros and cons of all these different ways to prevent pregnancy, stabilize hormones, or manage periods or acne? If you’re considering starting a form of birth control or changing to a new form of birth control, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about it before making any changes! But, sometimes it’s helpful talking birth control options with your friends before you take your big questions to the doc. 

Talking openly about birth control with your friends is not only helpful and educational, but also helps normalize women talking openly about birth control methods. There seems to be a stigma around women talking about birth control methods unless they can clearly state that they are on said birth control for a medical reason other than not wanting to get pregnant. Yes hormonal birth control can help treat many conditions such as cystic acne, PCOS, or endometriosis, but it’s also just as valid to be on birth control just to prevent pregnancy. Openly discussing your preferred method, as well as your reasons for being on birth control, help bond you and your pals in friendship, normalize this conversation, and help you make informed decisions. 

Because of the varying levels of hormones in hormonal forms of birth control, such as the pill, implant, shot, NuvaRing, or IUD for example, everyone has a different reaction to these birth controls. Talking about how your body reacted to your preferred method, or even an old method you tried and didn’t like can help inform those around you! It’s also interesting to hear about how hormones affect us differently and see how people consider the pros and cons for themselves. Also, a lot of the time women’s health issues are dismissed, our pain is minimized, or all of our symptoms are blamed on our periods. Our hormones and reproductive systems are complex, and sharing our experiences, struggles, and preferences finding what works best for us helps us be more educated and make more informed and empowered decisions in advocating for our reproductive health. 

Maybe you’ve been on the pill forever, but are wanting something with less hormones. Ask your friends if they have an IUD and hear about their experience getting it inserted, adjusting to having something in their uterus full time, and see what they think. Maybe your friend is considering starting the pill, but is fearful of having bad side effects. Tell them about your experience and how the pill did or did not affect you. Do you have really bad periods and cramps so intense you can’t get out of bed? Ask your friends about their periods, their symptoms, and how they manage it! Not only will you learn more, but having these vulnerable conversations will also bring you closer together.

After chatting with your pals about birth control options, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor and tell them everything you’ve learned and are considering. Make sure you don’t make any birth control changes without consulting your doctor first. 


What are period underwear, and how do they work?

If you’re a young person who spends any time on the Internet, you’ve probably seen advertisements for period proof underwear. One brand called Thinx burst onto the period care scene back in 2013 and remains one of the most well known period underwears today. Period proof underwear are essentially designed to fit and feel like regular underwear, but they have very slim padding in them, making them absorbent enough to wear on your period without a tampon or pad.

Created with its “signature innovative technology,” Thinx are lightweight yet absorbent enough to serve as your main period protection during your cycle. They are lightweight, absorbent, and smell proof so you can bleed right into them, no pad or tampon needed, as your main way to manage your period each month. They have five absorbency levels to accommodate all flows. Their heaviest flow underwear absorbs four tampons worth of blood. FOUR TAMPONS! That’s so much blood!! At the end of the day you can just toss them in the laundry with your other items and hang them to dry, then reuse them next month.

Because of the absorbency options, Thinx or other period underwear could be a great option to replace tampons, pads, or menstrual cups completely. Some people also opt to wear Thinx as a backup with their tampon or menstrual cup on their heavier days. Knowing your cycle is key to knowing what kind of absorbency works best for you. A lot of people have turned to period underwear as a more sustainable option for managing their period. If you really think about all the wrappers, plastic, and toilet paper you go through each period because of your period products, it’s A LOT! Using a different pair of Thinx or period proof underwear each day of your cycle could be less stressful because you don’t have to think about changing a tampon throughout the day, and it’s definitely less wasteful. You could even start with just one pair and slowly incorporate them into your menstrual cycle care routine over time. Each pair of underwear costs anywhere from $24-$42, depending on the absorbency. That might seem like a lot for one pair of underwear, but if you think about how much money you spend on other period products each month, that adds up to a whole lot more. 

Since its creation back in 2013, the brand has developed multiple styles and fabrics to choose from, including an absorbent cotton kind. It almost sounds too good to be true, right?

In addition to providing a sustainable and cute option for managing your period, Thinx also has a giveback program where they donate money to providing menstrual products and menstrual education to people around the world. 

Having a period each month can be stressful, painful, and sometimes downright annoying. It’s exciting that in 2020 there are so many innovations around period products and ways to manage your period, allowing you to choose the option that works best for you. Although period proof underwear are a little pricey, if you continue to use them as a replacement for all other period products, it would definitely be worth it. Do a little research and check out Thinx or other period underwear brands and try them out for yourself! 

Coronavirus found in sperm – what does that mean for sexual health?

Traces of coronavirus were recently found in infected men’s sperm in China. Yikes, right?! 

Coronavirus in Sperm

This was discovered earlier in May by a group at Shangqui Municipal Hospital in China. Thirty-eight male patients who had recovered from the virus or were currently infected were tested. Roughly 16% of these patients had traces of the virus in their sperm. Some of the men were at the height of infection and were symptomatic, while about 9% of the men had entered a stage of recovery.  

Another study done by American and Chinese researchers in Wuhan, China found that infected men’s semen was coronavirus free after about 31 days. With this conflicting information, it’s hard to know what the norm is and how long after infection traces of coronavirus can stay in the body, whether that be in sperm or not. 

Upon first reading this I wondered, does this mean that coronavirus is in fact sexually transmitted?! We’ve already known that it can be spread through coughing, sneezing, and saliva a.k.a kissing, but so far it hasn’t been proven that it can be spread through other sexual contact such as penetrative sex. After the findings of these studies coming to light, the researchers still say it’s unclear if COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted. We just don’t know.

So what does this mean for us and our sexual health going forward? Practice safe sex! Practicing safe sex is important at all times to prevent the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Although it isn’t clear if coronavirus constitutes as a sexually transmitted disease, it’s not worth risking. 

You should not have any sexual contact with someone who has symptoms of the virus or has tested positive. That includes kissing or being within six feet of them. Once someone is no longer infected and they’ve been quarantined for at least two weeks, your chance of getting the virus from them through close contact has gone way down. However, you should still maintain safe sex practices just in case those traces of the virus in semen are in fact spreading the disease. As I mentioned, we still don’t know for sure!

In addition to asking a new partner when they last had their STD check up, it would probably be wise to also ask them if they’ve had coronavirus or experienced any of the symptoms. It might feel awkward, silly, or even like you’re being paranoid, but since so much is unknown from this virus, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

This means barrier methods for birth control are your best friend right now! Use condoms when performing oral sex on someone with a penis, and dental dams on someone with a vulva. Regular STDs can still be transmitted through oral sex, so it’s best to use one just in case. Use a condom during penetrative sex as well, whether it’s P in V sex or anal. No studies have been done about the virus being found in vaginal fluids, but gloves and dental dams can be used for extra protection as well if your partner has a vagina. 

Being extra cautious and strictly using safe sex practices is especially important in the coming months if you have a new partner. If your partner is someone you live with or have been quarantining with this whole time, you likely would have infected each other by now and perhaps you don’t need to be as diligent in preventing spreading the virus to one another. With new partners you should always enforce safe sex practices anyway, but with the uncertainty of how long the virus can stay in someone’s system and whether or not it can be spread sexually, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Knowing you’re being safe will put you and your partner’s minds at ease and make for a more enjoyable sexual experience any way. 

Stay safe, stay educated and stay sexy!

May is also Masturbation Month!

In addition to being Mental Health Awareness Month and the month where many beautiful flowers start to bloom, May is also Masturbation Month! 

Masturbation is the act of touching your body or genitals for pleasure. Masturbation is totally normal and healthy, and people of all ages and genders do it. People masturbate for many different reasons, and some people don’t masturbate at all. All options are healthy and normal. 

In short, masturbation feels good and has a lot of great health benefits. Orgasm can help people relax, relieve period cramps and headache pain, and some studies have even suggested that people who masturbate or have regular orgasms live longer. Sign me up! 

People self-pleasure to release stress and relax, help them fall asleep, feel connected to their body, discover what feels good for them on their own, discover what feels good so they can communicate that to their partner, or they could just because they’re feeling horny. It’s totally okay to masturbate whether you have a sex partner or not. Masturbation while in a relationship doesn’t mean your partner isn’t sexually satisfying you. It can be used as a time for you to connect with your sexuality and body alone, just for you. And if you’re not in a relationship, it can also be used as a great way to communicate to casual sex partners what you like, as well as connect you to your own body and pleasure. 

You can masturbate many different ways. As long as you’re not hurting someone else or doing something without their consent, there is no wrong way to self-pleasure. It’s about exploring and finding what feels good. The only goal of masturbation is pleasure! Masturbation should feel good and be positive! You can use sex toys such as vibrators (if you have a clitoris), dildos (for your vagina or anus), or fleshlights (for your penis), just to name a few. You can use your hands to touch your genitals or other parts of your body such as your nipples or inner thighs. You could even use a pillow to grind up against or a detachable shower head to spray your genitals with some water pressure. Explore yourself and enjoy the process.

Some people also like to watch porn or read erotic stories to get them in the mood. Some people fantasize about different sexual scenarios. It’s important to note that just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually want it to happen in real life. It’s supposed to help you explore your imagination and see what turns you on. 

Masturbation is totally healthy, normal, and good for you. During this Masturbation May take some time to explore your body and pay attention to what feels good! You can share your discoveries with a partner or just keep them to yourself. Masturbation is technically the safest form of sexual pleasure you can engage in since it involves no one but yourself. There’s no risk of getting pregnant or STDs (unless you share unsanitized toys with someone). Masturbate as much or as little as you’d like. There’s no wrong way to self-pleasure!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Hooray! 

Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” Our mental health is ever changing and evolving throughout our lives, just as our physical health does. Mental Health Awareness Month started back in 1949 as a way to bring attention to the importance of mental health, and to celebrate people dealing with their own mental health issues to find balance in their lives. Now in 2020 we have a bunch of awesome resources for people to learn about mental health, different types of mental health issues, and find resources to best care for our mental wellbeing. 

Over 450 million people across the world are living with a mental illness, and even more people have experienced bouts of mental health challenges throughout their lives, or perhaps have a mental illness that is undiagnosed. Mental health issues are common and a part of life. Anxiety and depression are most common, and even people without a diagnosed mental illness will experience these feelings at some point. It’s best to seek professional help when you feel that your mental health is affecting your life. Professional help can look like going to a therapist, seeing a psychologist to get a prescription to help you manage your symptoms, or finding support groups to attend. It’s also important to note you can see a therapist as a way to maintain your mental health and process life events. You don’t have to wait until you’re struggling to start therapy.  

You can find a therapist through your primary care doctor, or you can use resources such as Psychology Today to find therapists in your area. There are other mental health resources readily available to us as well because of the Internet! 

Youtube channels for mental health are great to gain an understanding of mental health issues and help us understand our feelings. One of my favorites is licensed therapist Kati Morton who makes videos on mental health every week. Online therapy resources such as Better Help, Theralink, and Talk Space also make therapy accessible and inexpensive for people that need it.  For a little dose of mental health resources, Instagram can be good too. I wouldn’t recommend replacing seeing an in person therapist for following therapists on Instagram or Youtube, but following some good therapy accounts can serve as good reminders for us throughout the day. My favorites are The Holistic Psychologist, Sit With Sharon, Dr. Jenn Hardy, and Lisa Olivera Therapy. 

As I mentioned, these resources are no replacement for actual therapy or a consultation from your doctor, they are just great resources to help normalize talking about mental health and give you some food for thought throughout your day. 

When it comes to mental health, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s normal to experience challenges with your mental health, it’s normal to feel really great and on top of your mental health as well. It’s important to share your feelings, talk openly about your mental health issues, and seek professional help when needed. 

If you or someone you know is really struggling with their mental health, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255.