Sex toys, sexual wellness and self-love in the age of Coronavirus

Niki Bruce
Contributor
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

For many of us the forced intimacy that has come with the imposition of the global coronavirus lockdown, has been either a blessing, a curse, or sometimes both at the same time. 

Single people, particularly those at home alone, are not only experiencing the isolating nature of the lockdown, but they could also be at risk of ‘skin hunger’ - described by therapists and psychologists as the “longing for physical connection”.

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Why we need to care about our sex lives

The importance of intimacy and physical touch is something that many of us dismiss, thinking that we’re too busy to take the time for it, or that it isn’t necessary in our daily life. In fact, according to a 2019 article in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, sex, intimacy, physical touch, and self-love are all things humans need for well-being and better mental health.

“What we have to remember is this – coronavirus or no coronavirus, sexual wellness is key in maintaining total well-being. Whether you have sex with yourself and/or with a partner, sexual pleasure is important as part of Self Love and Self Care,” explains Janice Lee, who consults for adult toy brand VēDO to help promote sexual wellness in Southeast Asia.

Lee also hosts a platform for creating healthy discussions about sexual wellness in Asia at @janicitaying.

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the link between sexual health and quality of life was of very high importance in the case of adult men - 65% - and adult women - 42.8%.

“Currently, with social distancing and everyone being asked to 'stay at home', we have no choice but to turn to self-pleasure as the default choice of sexual activity. 

“This holds true especially for singles who can no longer date 'in person', especially women,” says Lee, also pointing out that sex toy sales, particularly those for women, has recently increased around the world, and in Singapore.

It’s not just single people who are looking for assistance in creating personal intimacy, couples are also discovering that they may need a little help in the bedroom to help their relationships.

“For couples who are stuck at home together, this would in fact be a good time for them to renew and/or deepen their sexual intimacy,” say Lee, “...thus improving their relationship which then makes for better individual well-being too.”

Don’t be scared of sex toys, they can help

Lee says that sales on the brand’s website have seen an increase, which shows that people are interested in exploring their sexual relationships; products like the Ohhh Bunny range of “Rabbit” Vibrators are the most popular buys. 

Singles and couples find different products more helpful explains Lee: “Depending on the type of play the couple prefers, C-rings are very popular, especially the Frisky Bunny Rechargeable Vibrating Ring or the ROQ Rechargeable Ring.

“The Kinky Bunny Rechargeable Dual Vibe is the top most popular product amongst women,” says Lee.

How to deal with ‘skin hunger’

While it is great that there are more products easily available to help people create deeper intimacy with their partner or to help build self-love and improve their general wellbeing, what do we do about ‘skin hunger’.

Is there any way that we can mimic the benefits of physical touch without actually being able to touch anyone?

“Personally, I would recommend hugging oneself to show more self-love and self-care – do it for a good 20 seconds. One actually does feel better due to the oxytocin released. And of course, [using] sex toys – self-pleasure is the new sexy,” says Lee.

Go to www.thatslife.com.au/how-to-hug-yourself, to learn how to hug yourself. 

SINGAPORE

For information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore go to https://www.gov.sg/features/covid-19

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact SOS on 1800 221 4444 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact Emergency Helpline (IMH) on 6389 2222 (24hrs). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to www.healthhub.sg/findhelp_servicesformentalhealthsupport

MALAYSIA

For information about the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia go to http://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/2019-ncov-wuhan.  

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (+603) 4265 7995 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the Malaysian Mental Health Association on (+603) 7782 5499. For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, contact the Befrienders on (+603) 79568144 or (+603) 7956 8145; or go to www.befrienders.org.my.

PHILIPPINES

For information about the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines go to https://www.doh.gov.ph/2019-nCoV.

If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (02) 8969191 or 0917 854 9191. If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline on 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to the National Center for Mental Health at ncmh.gov.ph