6 Women On Giving Up Sex Until The Pandemic Is Over (& Maybe Longer)

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
When the first guidelines on how to have safe COVID sex were released in Canada all the way back in July 2020, the advice was pretty damn clear: “You are your safest sex partner.” Many of us laughed, many of us cried, but most of us hoped the pandemic (and therefore our dry spell) would be over and done with by the end of the summer.
That, um, didn't happen. A year into quarantine, and with a third wave now crashing down, a new sex-free reality has settled in. And while some are undoubtedly still dating and hooking up (cue side-eye), the world certainly hasn't been this laced-up in some time.
Based on a national survey by researchers at the University of British Columbia, we know Canadians have been having less sex throughout the pandemic. The main reason recorded? High stress levels. (For the record, sex has been shown to reduce stress levels.) The story is similar in the U.S.: Research from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that about 40% of people surveyed reported less sexual activity during the pandemic as well. For example, those having vaginal intercourse once a week on average in 2019 reported doing so only once a month in 2020.
For some Canadian women, skipping sex has felt like a punishment. But for many others, abstinence in the service of social distancing has been an opportunity for self-love and growth. They've used this time to reframe what they want from their sex and romantic lives, change the ways they approach potential partners (if at all), and rediscover their own goals and desires.
We spoke to six Canadians about what celibacy has taught them during this difficult time.

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