Love in the Time of COVID [Part I]: Safely Exploring Virtual Intimacy
People have been meeting online and engaging in online intimacy through social media platforms and dating apps since long before the pandemic. But physically meeting up usually came next and, thanks to COVID-19, that’s currently not an option. These social distancing and quarantine protocols make it much more difficult to maintain relationships and establish new ones. Lucky for us, technology grants us a way to connect despite the distance, this is through virtual intimacy.
Fostering and maintaining intimacy while physically apart, or rather online intimacy, requires a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness. Much like with managing work and travel, we’ve had to adapt the way we date and handle relationships. Those in long-distance relationships may have already mastered this art, but “unintentional LDRs” and single people still have quite the adjustment to make.
IRL Intimacy Is Now Virtual Intimacy
Video dates, sexting, exchanging nudes, and phone sex now makes up much of the language of online intimacy for new connections and long-term relationships alike, and this makes sense. After all, sticking to these long-distance solutions mean you remain safe inside your home and reduce your risk of catching (and spreading) COVID-19.
For some, virtual meet-ups and the like are the only way to spend quality time with each other. They rely on these avenues to combat the feelings of loneliness and monotony. But nothing is perfect. Even though the internet has made it possible to be close and far apart at the same time, there are also plenty of disadvantages to this online setup.
Your Online Safety Matters
Dima Health wants to ensure you are safe while engaging in virtual intimacy. Communicating through screens can make it easier to reach out to people, but it also makes it easier for privacy to be invaded. Remember, no matter what activity you engage in and which platform you choose, there are always risks to keep in mind.
Anyone can potentially screenshot sexts, download nudes, share personal videos, or Zoom-bomb video calls. So while you may be excited to dive into the world of virtual intimacy, first take a moment to learn how to protect yourself online and educate yourself on online safety measures.
Here are several tips to help keep you and your privacy safe:
- Check the settings – You should never settle for the default settings. Always look through the privacy options of your apps to ensure that you’re not putting yourself at risk. You should also check whether you’re giving the company permission to store and share your data.
- Don’t include identifiable features – Not including your face in risque shots is Nudes-101, but you should also avoid including identifiable features in the shot. Your tattoos or furniture might give away your identity if the photo ever gets leaked.
- Download apps that hide your explicit content – Use apps like Secret Calculator to separate your nudes from your regular photos. No longer will you have the recurring nightmare of showing someone a photo and having them swipe too far.
- Utilize platforms with end-to-end encryption – Give yourself another layer of online protection by taking the conversation somewhere safer. Make use of self-destructing messages and screenshot-blocking features of secure apps like Telegram and Signal.
- Keep up with the latest updates – Update all your devices, software, and applications. This will ensure that you stay up to date with the latest security fixes. While you’re at it, also check if your laptop’s anti-virus is still working.
Of course, Tip #1 Dima, wants to make sure (both IRL and online intimacy) that you trust the people you’re being intimate with. However, you can’t just rely solely on other people to do the right thing–it’s still important to take steps to protect yourself and your online safety.
Virtual intimacy may become a central part of the new normal for us all. It’s still unfamiliar territory for many, but (just like with not-socially-distant intimacy!) as long as you’re safe about it, it can also be lots of fun.
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