COVID-19 and skin hunger: Vancouver sex therapist Diana Sadat talks about feeding need for intimacy

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      Humans yearn to be touched, says Vancouver sex therapist Diana Sadat.

      Physical contact with others feeds that desire.

      If humans are deprived of this connection, it results in “skin hunger”, according to Sadat, founder and clinical director of the Allura Sex Therapy Centre.

      With the world currently under seige by a virus, close contact poses health risk.

      When it comes to sex, the New York City Health Department has said that masturbation will not spread COVID-19, and so you are your safest sex partner.

      The next safest sex partner is the one you live with, according to the agency.

      For couples living the same home, Sadat encourages them to talk about what they're comfortable with.

      According to her, there may be cases wherein one person works in the healthcare industry, and the other person doesn’t.

      “So then you'd want to talk about what they feel is appropriate for them, given that they share the same space, but one person is still going out and working with people who could possibly be sick, and then coming home and transmitting that,” Sadat told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      “So some couples might decide, you know, we're already at the same risk because we share a same bed. So I'm okay with kind of continuing on as is.

      “Whereas other couples might decide, hey, you know, let's maybe sleep in separate beds, but during the day, we might is to kind of maybe do some kind of back massage or something that doesn't have facing one another as much because if we're facing one another, then we're breathing in each other's areas,” Sadat continued.

      The bottomline: “Having this conversation and making things explicit, not just assuming things of what one might be comfortable with. And yeah, just making sure that we're we know what our partner is and isn't okay with during this time.”

      Sadat said that couples may also want to think about “safer sex practices”.

      “So maybe you want to, if you don't use condoms, you might want to use condoms,” Sadat said.

      And, “positions that are maybe facing away from one another, not as face to face”.

      “So things like that if you're still wanting to engage in intercourse, but again, this has to be a conversation you have together. You want to kind of assess the case for one another.

      “So if you, let's say, haven't left the house for two weeks, and it's just the two of you, and neither of you are showing symptoms, then chances are, you know, maybe you're okay with having more physical contact, but still using some sort of barrier method for fluids,” Sadat explained.

      Diana Sadat is the founder and clinical director of the Allura Sex Therapy Centre in Vancouver.

      Sadat said there are other ways to express affection.

      “We go and wash our hands and then we come and lay on the couch, and we can maybe hold hands together while we watch TV side by side,” Sadat said.

      During this COVID-19 pandemic, Sadat said couples can come up with “creative ways of being physically affectionate… if we can't, you know, do our regular thing”.

      “Maybe that's the time where you try other things that you normally wouldn't. And you just keep your mind open to different ways of expressing love during this time and being aware that this doesn't have this won't be your normal forever.

      “You might actually learn some really, really interesting things about the way that you like to receive love, and the way your partner likes to receive love,” Sadat said.

      “And if it can't be directly touching one another, we can find verbal ways to express it,” Sadat also said.