“We all need a hug”

How the pandemic influences our love lives

By Melisa Salas

Because of Covid-19, it’s challenging for young people to experiment with sex, and singles are struggling to find their big love. The 25-year-old Esther van der Heide is a blogger for erotic online magazine LotteLust in which she talks openly about love, dating and sex. 

What do you think the consequences of the lockdown are on singles?

“It’s obvious that people, especially singles, are struggling with loneliness right now. They no longer feel like doing new things as dating life seems hopeless to them. This can lead to mental issues such as suffering from depression or reaching the point of a burnout. Humans are social beings; we need to be surrounded by people. To make it sound scientific: we need other brains to keep our own brains stimulated, to become smarter and to keep growing. When you’re isolated, you can go insane. People are tired of being lonely and try to be as creative as possible to still fulfill their personal needs. Especially singles like me.” 

How do you see this happening right now? 

“Online dating through apps such as Tinder is the new normal. What really surprised me is that people told me they started planning videodates. They would both ‘pop a bottle of champagne’ and have a chat. Based on this, they decide whether it’s worth it to plan a real life date or a one night stand. People don’t want to take the risk of catching the virus if they don’t see potential in that person. Other than that, I’ve noticed that people have a lot of video sex and get intimate together through a smartphone screen. And I think the virtual roleplay is quite an interesting thing that happens quite a lot now.” 

 Online or offline dating and sex: what do you think is better?  

“I can see the benefit of online dating, but I prefer a fun night offline. Not that we have much of a choice right now, but online dating can be dangerous. For young people especially: they trust strangers too easily with having video sex and sending nudes. This can have negative consequences. Besides, physical touch is very important for human development too. We all need a hug, a hand or a kiss. Nothing can replace that personal need.” 

What do you think the long term effects of the pandemic are on people who are still getting to know their sexual selves? 

“I think the pandemic can definitely have some serious long term effects on people who are still figuring out what sex all is about. Right now, they are missing out on that level of sexual tension and excitement. Usually when young people go out on adventures to meet people it all happens naturally. Meeting that one person at a party is impossible now. And if they meet someone online, they might meet up, have sex without thinking about it to regret it later. And that can completely damage their experiences with sex. I’ve seen things like that happening before. It’s really hard to climb back on the ladder and have a good relationship with your sexual self again.”

What are tips for singles to keep their heads up during these tough times? 

“I would say, do what feels right. To the people who would like to have a one night stand and meet up, go for it. It’s been proven that sex works stress relieving. If it’s one of the things that keeps us going we shouldn’t miss out on it. I must say; be smart though. I wouldn’t recommend in these times to have seven different one night stands a week. And I think the FaceTime dates are a great way of getting to know someone; so keep focusing on online dating as well. It’s better than nothing. We all are tired of those walk in the park dates, but in the end: just enjoy the opportunities you get.”