Our voices

Love in the time of Corona

As we shelter in place, we’ve got time for more sex—and to develop intentional intimacy. Marnika Shelton shares creative ideas for combating the loneliness and isolation that can come from self-quarantine.

Do you remember phone sex? Back in the days when you could spend hours on the phone just getting to know someone? Before this fast-paced, rigorous world became inundated with snaps, pics and posts. Before swiping and sexting replaced a glance and a shy smile, you could really take your time getting to know someone. I believe those times have returned.

Before the fall of COVID-19 the world moved so quickly that the amount of time allotted for building intimacy had dwindled down to what could be accomplished in a few seconds on the latest dating platform. Swipe, like, look-up, and then hook-up was the common way to make moves on the social scene.

Now, with shelter-in-place in effect, we have so much time on our hands and no one to do with them. Once the shock of the shelter-in-place wears off we are going to need fun and exciting ways to fill our time. Combating social distancing, loneliness and isolation with intentional intimacy is one way we can bridge this gap.

It is true that the course of this virus has altered every aspect of our style of living. This post-apocalyptic pandemonium has my sci-fi brain excited and curious about all of the changes on the horizon for humanity. I keep asking myself, “What is the world asking of us?,” and, “What lesson do we need now?” Consistently, the answer I get is, “Slow down.” This is a time for us to create more intimacy with ourselves, and the world around us. Once we get beyond the initial shock of being cooped up with time on our hands, the one thing we can expect is time for more sex.

If you and your partner are sheltered together, consider yourselves the lucky ones. Now is a time for creativity and adventure. Try on your negotiation and domination skills with an adult game of Simon Says, Red Light Green Light or my favorite, Marco Polo. Make your own kink gear at home by taking a thought-provoking walk through your kitchen or garage. If you have never experimented with kink before, I recommend you stay away from the hard stuff such as power tools and jumper cables.  A great place to start is with light sensation play, and always talk to your partner about what they are into before you begin. There are also many online workshops happening now to help you increase intimacy and communication.

As always, keep safer sex practices in mind. (For safer sex tips and recommendations, check out my video.)

If you do not have a partner, are seeking a partner or if you and your partner are not sheltered together, it’s a good time to give a nod to Black Mirror (most definitely the 21st century version of the twilight zone–a great depiction of a potential future in technology).  

Setting up a VR session, planning a Zoom video chat or sending love letters can give you and your love (or lust) interest something to look forward to. Although it’s not recommended that you meet up in-person with new partners right now, don’t be afraid to keep things virtual with people you meet on your hookup/dating app of choice.

Gaming and avatar platforms are great ways to create intimacy while maintaining social distancing. IMVU, Second Life and Redlight Center have great interfaces and don’t require special equipment. It is clear that meeting online is the way of the near future. So, however you chose to connect, remember: good old-fashioned phone sex is a great way to make sure you don’t accidentally end up making amateur porn.

We have tools and technology that can facilitate connection—so I encourage you to use your imagination and get creative.

Additional note about COVID-19 and sex

If you have deemed yourself healthy and fit, take measures to stay that way. By practicing shelter-in-place with your partner(s), you have the highest likelihood of keeping COVID-19 at bay. While COVID-19 is not specifically sexually transmitted, it can be transmitted through contact that can occur during sex. If you or your partner(s) are displaying symptoms, be sure to take the necessary steps to manage your wellbeing and get tested. We all know the word “virus” comes riddled with shame, however together we can overcome that by being informed and allowing others to make informed decisions.

About the author

Marnika Shelton

Marnika Shelton, AKA Nika Cherrelle, is an engaging, vibrant, creative artist, educator, and activist with over 25 years of experience in the fine arts. Classically trained in sculpture and specializing in figurative ceramics and portraiture, Marnika uses the visual arts as a platform to drive home complex, layered and controversial narratives. Her works are designed to engage the viewer in conversations that challenge socially and culturally normative viewpoints around race, gender, sexuality, class and religion. Taking on topics such as indoctrination and historical prejudice by recreating stories from unexplored angles to expose long-standing impacts on society. Views of masculinity, prejudice, violence, shame, sexuality and how fear creates difference are all within the scope of her work.

Marnika enjoys speaking in communities, classrooms and institutions about Art, Sexuality and Politics. Her work exists to empower and inspire people across all cultural backgrounds. By breaking down taboo, She aims to create a world where all people feel loved, honored and respected. Marnika Shelton is the Founder and operator of Nika Cherrelle’s LLC. Nika Cherrelle’s LLC is a hybrid organization that designs and distributes unique, artisan quality, adult novelties and sex toys. Nika Cherrelle’s LLC also has a community outreach podcast and is launching a 2020 event series.

“Our mission is to empower and inspire everyone to enjoy their sexuality and there sex lives; by creating a world where people are educated, empowered to live at choice and consent is the framework for human interaction.”