Your heart is beating fast. Your palms are sweating. You can hear your partner’s breath speed up, and you know it’s going to happen: for the first time, you and that special someone are about to take your face masks off.
Dating has been a little different during the coronavirus pandemic, to say the least. While those (un)lucky enough to be quarantined with partners have dealt with the ups and downs of unmitigated togetherness, the singles among us have gotten intimate with our phones and face masks, as virtual dates lead to socially distanced walks in the park and, perhaps, genuine intimacy.
Now, as we adapt to the new normal of intermittent lockdowns and restricted social interactions, many of us are left unsure how to keep ourselves safe while dating. Some, especially those of us who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, may have taken a step back from IRL dating for the time being. But many of us are choosing to navigate the already-choppy waters of real-life intimacy with the added threat of the virus.
How do we determine our physical and emotional boundaries, and have those important conversations with a new partner? How can we make potentially life-or-death decisions about pandemic safety with someone we may not yet know?