How to stay intimate if you're separated from your partner in quarantine

We’ve heard a lot about people discovering new things about their partners in quarantine – but what about the couples who are living apart at the moment?

There are a number of reasons why a couple might not be spending lockdown together. This could be down to limited space, if one of them is a key worker, if one is in the high-risk coronavirus category – or they simply don’t want to put an intense strain on a happy and healthy relationship. 

Lockdown presents its own difficulties for separated couples – particularly in regards to staying intimate, both physically and emotionally. 

Being unable to kiss, cuddle and touch their partners for so long – especially for those used to seeing each other regularly – is challenging.

Relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan tells ‘We humans are wired for connection, it provides a sense of belonging and so when couples are separated during quarantine it can be such a trying time.

‘There are so many ways in which we can stay connected intimately despite the fact that physical touch is not available between two people. It can be tricky to navigate especially for couples who are used to being in close quarters.’

Here’s what experts had to say…

Communicate consistently but not constantly 

Sarah says that it’s not about the quantity of conversation you have when you’re apart – it’s the quality.

She adds: ‘Couples will want their conversations to be meaningful and deeply connected and this can fall by the wayside if you communicate via texts or calls throughout the day. 

‘It might seem counterproductive to bringing the connection closer at first, but when you have a scheduled slot of time for a meaningful catch up, it can give you more structure and a greater sense of “you-time”.’

Sex and relationship coach Gillian Myhill – founder of BARE Dating – says it’s important to allocate specific time together, so that you are both solely focussed on one another.

She says: ‘Sharing a simple routine for yourself and together can help you both feel connected without the constant need to communicate. 

‘Schedule specific times where you come together away from these routines, step away from your work or other distractions at these times and focus on each other. See this as “protected time” – the time where the outside world doesn’t penetrate.’

Virtual date nights

You might not be physically with one another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have virtual date nights. It’s also an excuse to get dressed up and feel good about yourself. 

Sarah adds: ‘Couples can have virtual picnics in the garden or on their balcony – or in the living room if they don’t have the luxury of outdoor space.

‘Romantic connection in relationships really thrives off the unknown and the air of mystery, so keeping up with innovative ways to virtually date is key.’

Write letters to each other

Dominnique Karetsos – the co founder of online school of sexual wellness Intimology Institute – says that writing letters is another romantic way to stay intimate and gives a couple something to look back on.

She says: ‘This is how relationships have survived in the past and can still be a lovely thing to share with your partner.

‘Creating offline memories is always so important – even at this time when we have never needed the internet more.’

Get experimental with sex

Sienna Halliburton, from sex toy brand Je Joue, says that time apart is a great time to reconnect sexually and gives an opportunity to try things you usually wouldn’t.

Sinena says: ‘Being separated is a great chance to try new things sexually, like sexting, phone sex and mutual masturbation. 

‘It’s a really great opportunity to describe to your partner in detail exactly how you like to be touched and to discover new ways you enjoy touching yourself as well.

‘This can be an incredible connecting experience, and something that you may never have tried before when being able to physically see each other often.’

Use the time to listen to each other’s needs

Lifestyle and relationship coach Miia Koponen says that kissing, cuddling, touch and sexual intimacy are all part of fulfilling relationships – but it’s easy to let this dwindle when we’re swept up in the realities of everyday life.

Or in other words – it’s easy to become complacent.

Miia says: ‘I see this situation as a brilliant opportunity to enhance, increase and develop your understanding of each other’s sexual needs and wants.

‘Open communication can often get, well, not so open, when we are excited about a new relationship – intimacy, touch and sex are just happening naturally. 

‘However, as relationships develop things can get stuck in a routine and even though the desire might be there to get things more varied, life takes over and the time or energy is not there to do so.

‘Now all we have is time, so what better way to start opening up and communicating about those sexual needs and wants.’

Plan for the future

Sarah adds: ‘A lack of connection can be linked to low mood, so in order to keep mood and spirits high you should try to inject fun for you both during this time.’

A great way to do this is to plan fun things to do after lockdown – this will help with bonding, too.

She says: ‘This could be anything from the dates you would like to have all the way to the holiday you would like to have next year.

‘This can be created into a fun game where each person writes down a place they would like to go, a date they would like to have and put it in a box.

‘When couples come back together they could combine their pieces of paper and perhaps spontaneously pick one out each date night.’

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