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    10 Ways to Up Your Dating Game in 2021

    Dating is always tough to navigate: what do you text back, who pays the check, and why is it so hard to meet normal people!? But dating during lockdown is a whole new set of difficulties: the old rules of dating no longer apply, our go-to date spots are closed, and we totally forgot how to do our makeup (nope, just me?). But lockdown or not, you deserve a fulfilling life, fun ways to meet new people, and to actually enjoy dating (because no one should have Charlotte’s dating exhaustion). 

    We all say it every year, but 2021 can truly be the year you reach all of your goals (#newyearnewme, right?). No matter what’s going on in the world, this year can be a golden opportunity if you’re looking for love (or, you know, just looking to go on dates that don’t suck). Here are 10 ways to not only date in 2021, but to totally up your dating game, achieve a fulfilling love life, and find a happy relationship (no matter how serious you’re looking for). Read on for romantic success by 2022:

    1. Appreciate how dating is different now
    Maybe you’re getting Zoom-date fatigue, or maybe you’ve kept your dating life on hold since the stay-at-home order hit. However, a global pandemic and social distancing restrictions don’t have to harm your love life. In fact, they could even be beneficial. For example, dating during a pandemic means focusing on an emotional connection first, since the physical connection and new-relationship excitement isn’t possible. You can get to know who someone is without spending time and energy doing the actual dating. Slower connections are a new kind of intimacy (plus it’s more foreplay, you know?), unsexy topics like who pays the bill is off the table (literally), and staying at home is an opportunity to get to know each other with fewer distractions. In other words, 2021 brings a lot of potential for your love life–not in spite of the pandemic, but because of it. 

    2. Keep all options open
    Many of us have this idea that we need a movie-worthy meet-cute when finding a soulmate. But closing yourself off to any meeting that isn’t locking eyes across a crowded bar or running into a long-forgotten high school sweetheart from back home (Hallmark Channel style) limits your chances. And during a lockdown? Your chances are next to nothing. Despite what Hollywood has us believe, we can meet worthwhile people anywhere. You could meet your ideal partner over a Zoom meeting, at an online singles event, in an elevator, at the park walking your dog, or yes, on a dating app. The more options you keep open, the higher your chances of meeting people that you’ll enjoy being around. Instead of a “meet-cute,” try to find the dating apps or methods that feel right for you, and be open to any possibility.

    Source: @ashbegash

    3. Be ready for “the talk”
    No, not the “seeing other people” talk, or even the STD talk (although I urge you to have those conversations as well). I’m talking about the global pandemic talk. It may be awkward, but being on the same page about COVID safety and social distancing practices is crucial to make dating safe and enjoyable. Make sure you’re connecting with people who are taking the same safety precautions that you are and be open and honest about what you’re comfortable with. If an in-person date is on the table, let them know exactly how you’re staying safe, and what you expect from them to feel safe being together.
    As weird as the conversation might feel, one of the good things about dating in a pandemic is that you have to be more intentional and selective about who you spend your time with. Having an open and honest dialogue not only keeps you safe and worry-free, but lays the foundation for a trustworthy relationship. 

    4. Forget prerequisites
    Many of us have extensive prerequisite checklists before even considering going on a first date. Maybe you want someone who is exactly like you, whether it’s interests, religion, or background. Maybe you’re not looking twice at people who have a certain dating history, are over a certain age, or own a cat (because you’re way more of a dog person). 
    While shared values are crucial and compatibility is often determined by similarities, try getting to know someone before making assumptions based on your prerequisites. The only “prerequisites” you need are your non-negotiable values, like kindness, integrity, and humor. Otherwise, base opinions on how you feel, not off of a checklist. Pay attention to the person in front of you, and try not to project a narrative or assign meaning to traits before you even know the person. Ask questions, and genuinely care about why someone is the way they are before determining whether or not they are for you.

    Source: @missenocha

    5. Cut it off with the “maybes,” already!
    Do you have an ex that has been hanging around for years, or a f*ckboy that’s been messing with your head? What about those people you text when you’re feeling lonely or bored, or who you think you might be interested in someday (keyword: might)? I call these people the “maybes:” the exes, previous dates, and “it’s complicated” relationships that didn’t work out the first time around, but you keep their number in your phone “just in case,” or are hoping something will change.
    There’s a lot of reasons we stick around with people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe we’re lonely, or maybe we’re seeking external approval. But no matter the reason the wrong person is in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Now, if you have a friend with benefits (you don’t have feelings for) or love flirty-texting that hot coworker, you do you, girl. But those people you go to out of loneliness, comfortability, or insecurity? They’re just holding you back. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself, and don’t settle. Bonus tip: unfollow on social media. Just do it!

    7. Visualize your best self
    Dating highlights our biggest insecurities: we overanalyze what we say over text or Tinder, try on 15 different outfits (even if the date is just on Zoom), and maybe even expect the worst and prepare to be ghosted or for the date to go bad. Sound familiar? To cure pre-date anxieties, try visualizing the best version of yourself. Are you confident, comfortable, or friendly? How would the most confident you act on this date? What would you wear? Would you even care about what you wear? Remind yourself that you are the catch that your date is trying to impress, not the other way around. Even if you don’t feel confident or calm, the simple act of visualizing your best self can help you relax, and enjoy the date instead of getting in your head.

    Source: @missalexlarosa

    6. Remember that “no” is not a dirty word
    In fact, it’s one of the most important words in your dating vocabulary. Especially as women, we’re taught to be likable and easy-going on dates, and we focus more on how to be liked than whether or not we actually like them (but more on that below). You know what we should vow to end in 2021? Going on dates we’re not excited about, texting back people we don’t like, or not vocalizing what we want and need in our relationships to protect other people’s egos. Overall, let’s work on saying “no” when we want to say no. Compromise and empathy are crucial in relationships, but so is respect for each other’s wants and needs. Communicating what you don’t want should be just as easy as what you do. If it’s not, this person doesn’t respect you or care about you as much as they say they do. Thank you, next.

    7. Use alone time to your advantage
    While 2020 was a lonely year for many of us, being alone has allowed us to turn inward, explore our truest desires, and get to know ourselves better. When we know ourselves and what we want, our dating lives become more fulfilling, successful, and fun. Think about it: we’ve grown a lot, started new hobbies or hustles, and got to know our likes and dislikes in 2020. Even an abundance of alone time can be invested to understand what we want out of a partner. Plus, scary times make people crave connection, and hitting pause on all normalcy helps you let go of the habits, traits, or dating rules that are no longer serving you. Not only have you been subconsciously preparing yourself for a more successful dating life, but any potential partners have too.

    8. Ditch outdated rules
    Let me go on a quick tangent about a few outdated dating rules that we really should ditch, like, yesterday. To start, my least favorite of all dating rules are “don’t kiss on the first date” and the “three-date rule.” Let’s just throw out any rules that imply that what you want to do with your body, and when you want to do it, is not up to you. Make your own rules based on comfortability and what you’re feeling. 
    Next up: playing hard to get or waiting for the other person to make the first move. Besides outdated gender roles, these “rules” come from the idea that whoever cares less in the relationship is the one who has the most power. But should love be about power? It’s OK to care; we’re supposed to care about each other. So what does it matter if you “come on too strong” or “care more?” Be true to your feelings and what you want. Oh, and making the first move can save us a lot of time wondering if they like us back. It’s 2021: we’re starting side hustles, prioritizing our health, and smashing glass ceilings. Ain’t nobody got time to wait around for a phone call. 

    Source: @cmcoving

    9. Focus on finding out what you want
    Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Some people will like you and some people won’t. Whether or not someone wants to pursue a relationship or a second date with you has nothing to do with how likable you are, but has to do with compatibility. And I think we can all agree there are many people we wouldn’t mind being incompatible with. Prioritize what you want in a partner by making a list of non-negotiable qualities or values you want, and stop yourself from getting caught up in what a relationship or person could be. Instead, ask yourself if you genuinely enjoy each person you’re talking to, and whether or not they deserve you. 

    10. Know that dating is supposed to be enjoyable (and stop if it isn’t)
    Repeat after me: dating should be fun. It should not feel forced, boring, painful, or sad. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re either putting too much pressure on each date, feeling self-conscious about dating, or focusing on the wrong things. Remember that dating is not intended to have only one outcome. Every experience–whether it’s a Zoom date, Tinder conversation, or a few months of dating–brings you closer to clarity.
    The purpose of going on dates, talking to new people, and opening yourself up to meet someone new is not to feed your ego, affirm insecurities, or to find a soulmate ASAP. The purpose is to collect information that will bring you closer to a happy, fulfilling life, and to have a good time along the way. Bottom line: it should be fun meeting new people, whether or not a second date follows (yes, really!). If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life.
     
    How are you updating your dating game this year? More

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    How to Keep Your Sex Life Alive During a Dry Spell

    Through most of quarantine, I’ve kept my social distance. In fact, I’ve kept too much of a distance because I’ve not had nearly as much sex as I’d like. This era of contact isolation precautions has led me into a season of what I affectionately call: vaginal depression. Vaginal depression is what happens when you’re not getting any. Signs and symptoms include not feeling particularly sexy, unable to get aroused by any of the recurring penises in your phone, and/or overgrown pubic hair that’s grown into something oddly similar to a bush.Yeah, I think most of us have experienced vaginal depression at least once in our lives. I was on a slow downward spiral into my vaginal woes when I decided to take charge of my sexless life and do something about it. Here’s what rebalanced my hormones, turned me on, and made my vagina happy. 

    1. Take a trip down memory lane
    When I was going through my imagination searching for “inspiration” for my “me time,” I really thought about what was it that I enjoyed by the sex I was most inspired by. Often times, sex is a lot of kiss here, touch there, rub this, lick that, and then someone moans and before you know it, sex is over. What I realized when I thought back on some intimate moments is that I enjoyed being rubbed sensually and often. I enjoyed lovers who were vocal and complimented me before, during, and after sex. I love a good performance review, honey! Seriously, taking the time to think about what actually turned me on about the experiences that came to mind helped me to learn more about what I really like, what actually turns me on, and what types of partners I need to ensure I’m involving myself with. 

    2. Get hands-on
    Alright, people with vaginas! Now is the time to pull out those toys, those fingers, a mirror, and whatever you feel you need. When you’re in a sexless era, it could be the perfect time to explore your body a little bit more. It’s great to let your lover do some exploration, but don’t cheat yourself out of a good time. When you’re sans partner, you can use that time to get to know your body a bit better and not just in a sexual sense. I attended an event recently that focused on sex and sensuality. To my surprise, many women were not familiar with their own anatomy. Some didn’t know the difference between their vulva and vagina. Can you find your labia minora? Where is your clitoris? Our private area shouldn’t be this thing we tuck away until it’s someone else’s turn to have their way with it. We aren’t Barbie dolls; our private area isn’t some nebulous plastic region that we birth babies out of. It’s a beautiful part of our bodies that we should learn more about. 

    3. Turn yourself on
    Hey, like I said before when I go through bouts of vaginal depression, I feel anything other than sexy. I don’t feel ugly, but I don’t feel sexy and sensual as much as I usually do. Vaginal depression can rob even the sexiest, most confident of us from feeling our best, so it’s important to be intentional about turning ourselves on. Take a trip to a local sex store (online or in-person) to see what toys, gidgets, and gadgets pique your curiosity or make you feel good. My go-to thing to do is to buy cute lingerie or underwear. I feel so sexy when I look delicious. Toss out the period panties for a spell and throw on some lace undies. Don’t be so practical with your desires. Try things you never thought you would. Maybe you’re into whips, chains, and other things that excite you (word to Rihanna), but you just don’t know it. Buy some new toys (I personally recommend a glass dildo, but that’s neither here nor there). See if you’d like to incorporate feathers, massage oils, or ball gags into your sex sesh.

    4. Reevaluate your partners
    Ok, so this may be a lot harder, but after thinking on what you enjoy and what you may need from your sexual partner or experience, it may be time to reflect on what type of people you’re actually having sex with. Do you want to make love or just make out? Do you want meaningless sex, or do you need something a little more intimate? Going at sex alone is important, but sharing your sexual self with someone should come with some level of consideration, especially if you’re opening yourself up to some new experiences. Are your current partner(s) able to satisfy you in the way you want? Are they willing to learn and explore with you? Do you think they’ll kink shame you out of a good time? All of these are questions worth asking. 

    What I learned is that your “dry season” doesn’t have to be a season of vaginal depression like it has been. You can enjoy your sex life with or without a partner. In some ways, your sex life may be better without a partner because it’ll give you time to focus on yourself, your desires, and your needs. Sex isn’t a performance, but it’s an experience. Don’t allow your dry season to leave you hot and bothered. You can have just as much fun by yourself. Now, pull out your vibrator, your mirror, and get to work. More

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    Why I Talk About Feminism on First Dates

    “I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to meet someone,” I said to my friends one day. But one of my friends quickly told me exactly why: it was because I expected too much from men. I even expected them to be feminists.I was immediately disheartened when I heard that she thought this was a lot to ask. I don’t expect the men I date to wear “women’s rights are human rights” T-shirts or have a PhD in gender studies. I don’t even expect them to identify as feminists, because it’s just a label and doesn’t carry much weight—I’ve met sexist men who call themselves “feminists.” But I do expect them to believe in gender equality, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
    Still, her comment got to me, and for a period of time, I was less outspoken about my beliefs, at least on first dates. It didn’t take me long to realize that holding these views back didn’t make dating any easier for me—in fact, it made it even more difficult. There are several reasons why I continue to talk about feminism on first dates.

    1. Gender equality should not be a radical idea. 
    I get that talking about politics, religion, or social justice issues on a first date could be perceived as intense. At the same time, gender equality should not be a radical idea. If I’m out with someone who is offended or discomforted by the idea that all genders are equal, that’s a red flag. 

    2. I don’t want to be several months in and find out that he harbors sexist views. 
    Speaking of red flags, I’d rather identify them early on than be several months into a relationship only to find out that my partner and I have opposing fundamental beliefs. Gender equality is not something minor to me. There are some things that I’m willing to agree to disagree about, and this is not one of them. The kinds of beliefs someone has about gender tells me a lot about their expectations for our relationship. During the time that I was avoiding talking about feminism on first dates, I still talked about politics and assumed that a guy I went out with was compatible with me because he was anti-racist and fairly left-wing. I only later found out that in addition to being mostly liberal, he’s also anti-abortion and is a strong proponent of traditional gender roles. Because I had already spent a bit of time getting to know him and I liked other things about him, I tried to make it work, but we argued on a regular basis, and I would never be the “good wife” he was truly looking for (and I didn’t want to be). If I’m dating a sexist man, I will find out eventually. Why wait until I’m already in deep? 

    3. I’m not scared of scaring someone away.
    We’ve heard it time and time again: don’t talk about religion or politics on the first date. But from my perspective, everything is political in some way. To avoid all political discussions is to have a pretty shallow conversation. I’m not dating to talk about the weather. I’m dating to truly get to know someone. During the time that I stopped talking about gender issues on first dates, I felt as if I was hiding part of myself. It’s not that my first dates are a two-hour long gender studies lecture; usually, gender issues come up organically because they’re connected to something else we’re talking about. If not, it’s natural for me to mention gender issues when someone asks about my passions or interests. Talking about feminist issues might scare some people away, but if I scare sexist guys away, I’m doing exactly what I want to do: filtering out people I’m not compatible with. 

    4. I want him to like me for who I am.
    When I had my first childhood crush, I actively tried to be the kind of girl I thought he would like. I was a proper chameleon, buying a jacket with his favorite football team’s logo on it, and adapting myself according to his interests. But I’ve lived and learned, and I’m not dating to stroke someone’s ego or to change myself until they finally accept me. I want to date someone who I truly like, and I want to date someone who truly likes me—not the idea of me or an altered, watered-down version of me. I once went out with a man who stopped me mid-sentence when I started talking about gender issues. “I don’t want to hear about this,” he said. “I want to hear about you.” Maybe he thought he was being romantic in a way, but he didn’t realize that they’re one in the same. I’m passionate about gender issues, and it’s part of who I am, not a separate entity. If a man doesn’t believe in gender equality, he’s not going to like me for who I am. It’s that simple. I now realize that the kind of man I want to date is one who is willing to engage in these conversations. 

    5. I can learn more about who this person truly is. 
    I don’t expect anyone to be perfect. I don’t expect a person I’m dating to know everything about gender issues (I don’t either, of course), or to fully understand something that he hasn’t experienced firsthand. But I do expect him to be open to listening. I do expect him to not be defensive. Talking about issues like this shows me how he reacts when faced with something uncomfortable or challenging. Is he just defensive when I’m simply having a discussion and not trying to argue, or does he want to know more? I once went out with a guy who said he didn’t believe some survivors of sexual assault because they reported it years after it happened. Extreme red flags aside, I tried to talk to him about why women might wait to come forward about sexual assault. As I was talking, he got up to add more sugar to his coffee and asked to change the subject once he returned. That told me exactly how he liked his version of reality: sugar-coated and easy to swallow. 

    6. I don’t want to tolerate sexist behavior anymore. 
    Gone are the days in which I would ignore casual and benevolent sexism because it “could be worse.” I’m willing to give second chances. People can change, especially if they didn’t recognize that the way they were thinking was sexist. But if he just doesn’t really care about sexism, thinks it’s not a big deal or says something along the lines of, “Well, that’s just the way things are,” I’m not here for that. Benevolent sexism is still sexism, and I don’t want it in my relationships. I want an equal partnership. Unfortunately, maybe that’s a lot to ask from a heterosexual relationship at this point in time. But I’m going to keep asking.  More

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    Online Dating as a Plus Sized Woman

    These days, online dating is basically just dating. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, Her (great for lesbian and bisexual women!), Match, The League (if you’re accepted — I just was and am ELATED) — there are so many options! These apps have entirely changed the way our society views dating and relationships. Many people have found short and long-term relationships and marriage through dating apps, but if that isn’t necessarily what you’re looking for, hook-ups and friendships can be possibly even easier to find.Being a plus size woman, however, there come even more challenges than the usual. Since the start of my dating app days, I have learned a lot about how to navigate these apps in a way that is empowering and builds my confidence rather than doing the opposite.

    Ignore the Voices In Your Head
    “Do I look larger than I am in that photo?” “Will he still be interested in me when he sees me in real life?” “Will I ever find someone who wants to do more than hook up?” I am constantly questioning how people will respond to how I look in my photos, especially in a world where photos on a dating site are so crucial. I can recall meeting a guy from Tinder in real life and him completely rejecting me because he thought I looked different in my pictures. After that, I was terrified to meet up with anyone, changed all my pictures, and basically stopped opening the app. Rather than getting down on myself, I really should have remembered that it was his fault for wanting to tear me down like that. Once I stopped paying attention to my inner dialogue, I started having fun and swiping right on whoever interested me rather than who I “thought I could get.” This confidence worked, too, and led to way more dates!

    Unmatch Anyone Who Shames Your Body
    Aside from the internal criticism, it is incredibly common for men on these sites to comment on how I look. According to research done by WooPlus, a dating app specifically for plus sized women, 71% of its users say they were fat-shamed on “regular” apps. In a world where 67% of women identify as plus sized, this is absolutely unacceptable. For a long time, I thought that I needed to keep talking or give explanations when men would make negative comments about how I look or dress because I was worried I would miss out on a chance for a date with my “dream guy.” Turns out, my “dream guy” would never tell me I would look better if I wore skinny jeans. Keeping this negativity around would bring down anyone’s confidence, so getting rid of it is naturally a boost. Sure, it hurts to see something like that regardless of how much self-love and acceptance you have, but it acts as a reminder that you are the boss of your own life (and matches!).

    Pay Attention to the Signs of Fetishization
    There is a big difference between someone desiring your body and loving you for your perceived flaws and them fetishizing your weight. If a match constantly makes comments about your size, asks about specific numbers in regards to your weight, encourages you to eat more or gain weight in an unhealthy way, or refers to you in common fetishizing words, that probably means he or she is a hard no. It is important for someone to be attracted to who you are rather than being obsessed with a specific trait about you. Understanding that these are two different things has stopped me from potentially harmful relationships many times.

    Be YOU!
    I know this is a given, but learning to be myself and finding new ways to share my personality has changed the dating game for me. Finding my favorite gifs to say “hi,” adding all my favorite emojis to my bio, and not being afraid to ask a guy out for Taco Tuesday all allow me to express who I am without the pressure of looks or my weight. If a guy really wants to make a connection rather than a one night thing, he should appreciate who I am over how I look.

    Take Risks Without Fear of Rejection
    When I first started using dating apps, I never asked anyone out first, and I always waited for the guy to message me first. Bumble definitely helped get over the latter issue, but it took understanding that I have some power too to comprehend how important it is to take the risk of asking someone to coffee or out for drinks. The fear of rejection can get to anyone, especially if you’ve experienced situations like the ones above, but the risk is so worth it sometimes. Being able to go after what I want rather than waiting for it to happen applies to more than just my career, and the confidence that has given me is way more important than any date I’ve ever gotten.
     
    How do you navigate the online dating world? Are there any tips we missed? Let us know in the comments!

    This article was originally published on May 18, 2018. More

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    Social Distancing Doesn’t Have to Mean the End of Your Sex Life—Here’s How to Keep It Going

    It’s well-known that a healthy sex life can help our physical and mental well-being. And yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing many couples to isolate apart or to social distance from prospective sexual partners, many of us are finding that our intimate lives are suffering. Recent research suggests that 43.5 percent of people have experienced a decline in their sex lives during the pandemic, with only 13.6 percent reporting improvements.But being single in quarantine doesn’t have to mean a total dry spell. In fact, many individuals are finding creative ways to get kinky, both alone and with a socially-distanced sexual partner. If quarantine has left you frustrated, then here are some ways that you can feel more fulfilled:

    Invest in a sex toy
    Early on in the pandemic, the NYC health department suggested that “you are your safest sex partner.” But solo sex doesn’t have to mean that you can’t have a helping hand—the sex toy industry has been booming during the pandemic, and now is the perfect time to find a toy that you love.
    Finding a vibrator that works for you is a highly individual choice that will depend on your own experience of orgasm. Do you prefer internal or external stimulation? How much pressure works for you? Do you live with roommates, or even parents, and need something subtle and on the quiet side? There’s so much on offer, and this handy guide can help you to figure out what to try first. Order online and stock up on lube for a totally socially distanced and pleasurable experience.
    READ: 8 Sex Toys So Mind-Blowing, You’ll Want to Gift One to Your BFF
    READ: The Top-Rated Sex Toys on Amazon

    Try out audio pornography or erotica
    Although pornography is a good way to get in the mood, the male-focused nature of much of the sex depicted can be conflicting and difficult to enjoy. Fortunately, a new wave of feminist pornography is re-centering the content that we get off to, focusing on female pleasure and a more sensual experience.
    There are plenty of porn videos out there that were produced or directed by women, but if you feel like trying something different then you might like to look into audio pornography. This intimate and sensory genre ranges from sexy stories to guided masturbation—perfect for if you need to use headphones in your current living situation. You and that person that you’ve been chatting to could even tune into something at the same time for a distanced and yet mutually-satisfying experience. 
    READ: Don’t Think You Like Porn? Try This Instead
    READ: Yes, I’m a Woman and I Watch Porn

    Source: Tessa Neustadt for ALLPRACE HOMES on The Everygirl

    Suggest some flirty phone sex
    With the rise of sexting, phone sex has taken a backseat over the last few years. But with many of us relying on digital communication for our work and social life, perhaps it’s time to give our thumbs a rest when it comes to our sex life. 
    Phone sex might feel awkward at first, especially if it’s with a new partner who you have yet to do the dirty in real life with. Test out what feels comfortable to you—you might be turned on simply by discussing your favorite positions. If you’re feeling more creative, you can describe your fantasies, and the things that you’d like to do with your prospective partner, once social distancing measures allow, and if you’re feeling really confident, describe what you’re doing to yourself right now and get them to do the same.
    READ: 7 Ways to Up Your Dirty Talk

    Take a dirty picture
    Although a sexy picture pinging up on their phone is great news for the recipient, this can also be an incredibly gratifying experience for you. If you’ve been spending all day in your pajamas, getting dressed up in your best underwear can be a total turn-on and boost your sexual confidence.
    It’s worth noting that sharing explicit pictures comes with a host of risks, and there are numerous examples of intimate images being used against women. If you choose to share a sexual image, think carefully about how you’d feel if it was shared with anyone other than the intended recipient, and only send content that you would be comfortable with others seeing. Protect your privacy by ensuring that your face and any other identifying features are not visible, and don’t feel pressured into sending images or footage if you’re not comfortable doing so and if the experience isn’t gratifying for you as well as for the recipient.

    Source: Jonathan Borba | Pexels

    Take the time to connect with someone
    The rise of digital dating means that encounters can be fleeting, and sex is readily available. Although this can be liberating, it also means that new and casual partners may be less invested in our pleasure. Relying on sexting, Zoom dates, and socially-distanced walks might be frustrating, but it can also give you the opportunity to connect with someone on a deeper level, to explore each other’s turn-ons, and to build sexual tension. By the time that you feel comfortable initiating physical intimacy, or even just exploring some distanced play, you might find that getting to know a new partner better leads to a sexier experience.
    READ: I Stopped Giving Out My Number on Dating Apps—Here’s Why

    Find a safe sexual partner
    For some of us, nothing beats the real thing, and in-person intimacy and sex can be important for well-being. There’s no way to guarantee a completely safe way to have sex during the COVID pandemic, but if you find that socially-distanced sex isn’t cutting it for you, then you should try and take all precautions possible.
    Make sure that you are having open conversations and setting boundaries with any sexual partner about what behavior is acceptable and what you are both comfortable with. If a new sexual interest lives alone and is following social distancing guidance strictly, then you may feel safe to stay over at their place. If you do so, make sure that you are following all government guidance on hand-washing, limiting contact with others, and following usual safe sex procedures to protect against all kinds of infections.
    READ: What “Finding The One” Really Means in 2020 More