Social distancing is already hard enough, but if you’re not in a relationship, the lack of physical contact can be extremely frustrating. In the Netherlands, many singletons have been voicing their frustration at the social distancing rules for single people.
One writer, Linda Duits, a journalist specializing in gender issues, argued in an opinion piece for Het Parool newspaper that sex is a human right. “Proximity and physical contact are not a luxury, they are basic needs,” Duits wrote. “If we have learned anything from the Aids epidemic, it is that not having sex is not an option.”
In a typically open-minded intervention, official guidance from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has advised single men and women to organize a seksbuddy (sex buddy) after criticism of rules dictating that home visitors maintain a 1.5-meter distance from their hosts during the coronavirus lockdown. The official guidance has now been amended to suggest those without a permanent sexual partner come to mutually satisfactory agreements with like-minded individuals.
On the advice of scientists at the RIVM, the Netherlands has been on what the government describes as an “intelligent lockdown” since 23 March, allowing up to three visitors into homes on the strict condition that they keep their distance. But the RIVM now concedes that “it makes sense that as a single [person] you also want to have physical contact” while warning that the risks of such intimacy should be managed.
“Discuss how best to do this together,” the RIVM suggests. “For example, meet with the same person to have physical or sexual contact (for example, a cuddle buddy or ‘sex buddy’), provided you are free of illness. Make good arrangements with this person about how many other people you both see. The more people you see, the greater the chance of (spreading) the coronavirus.”
The RIVM also has advice for those in a relationship with someone infected by coronavirus or in quarantine with suspected symptoms of the disease. “Don’t have sex with your partner if they have been isolated because of (suspected) coronavirus infection,” the RIVM says. “Sex with yourself or with others at a distance is possible (think of telling erotic stories, masturbating together).”
Yes folks, this is how the Dutch government speaks to its people, recognizing sex as a real necessity rather than a taboo. That’s a solution to us.