Virtual intimacy: is the era of actual sexual contact under threat?


Name: Virtual intimacy.

Age: As old as the telephone, or possibly even the postage stamp.

Appearance: Virtual, digital, not safe for work.

Are we talking about sex? It’s sex-based, yes.

But it’s not sex. Well, no, but only in the sense that you’re not actually there.

Not actually where? In the same room as the other person, or persons.

Doesn’t that make sex difficult? Are you kidding? It makes it much easier.

I suppose it cuts down on transport costs. It’s more than that. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll for the dating site Plenty of Fish, nearly half of young single Americans haven’t managed to be physically intimate with anyone since the pandemic started.

I bet they can’t wait to be out there, and at it, again. About 42% feel that way, but two-thirds of respondents said they would continue to rely on virtual intimacy after the pandemic, including sexting, phone sex and video sex.

Doesn’t all this virtual sex make them anxious? On the contrary: 45% of singles had more confidence in their virtual intimacy skills than in their in-person techniques, including 54% of men.

And what exactly counts as a virtual intimacy skill? I don’t know – good spelling, I suppose. Some experience with lighting couldn’t hurt, and knowing when to shut up probably comes in handy.

I don’t have the bandwidth for this at the moment. I know – it’s hard to process, and we’ve all been under a lot of stress lately.

No, I mean I literally don’t have the bandwidth. I’m never going to be virtually intimate with upload speeds like these. There’s probably a lot of it in your area.

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Is there no future for the old fashioned one-night stand? Not if the young people of today have anything to say about it. According to the survey, 57% of millennials think one-night stands have been consigned to a pre-Covid past.

Are we saying that no one is ever going to have meaningless, non-virtual sex again? It’s still happening, through a process called “room-mate-ing”.

Does that mean mating, but in an actual room? No, it means having sex with your roommate, or housemate, out of sheer expediency.

Needs must – I won’t judge. Thanks, just don’t tell my virtual boyfriend or he’ll unsubscribe.

Do say: “I can’t tell you what I’d do to you if I was there, because if I was there I wouldn’t do it.”

Don’t say: “Get dressed, Frank – this is the Wednesday planning meeting.”



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