Bodies and blooms burst into life, and suddenly sex is on our minds.
Spring fever means different things to different people.
This year, the spring of 2020, it means coronavirus, or to use its technical term, COVID-19. As people from all over the world succumb to fever and respiratory issues, this can be described as nothing less than a global pandemic. People are freaking out, and I’m not immune to anxiety.
In conjunction with anxiety, there is something else—my own inherent, powerful urge to live, to create, to be of benefit. Underneath my anxiety is a lust for life.
In my little mountain town, my sap is rising even as the thermometer, once again, plummets; that’s spring in the Rockies. Meanwhile, I find myself navigating another kind of thrill. I’ve been chatting with a guy who I have yet to meet, but our interactions give me butterflies, nonetheless. More important than the butterflies, is a feeling of mutual intrigue. Now, that either sounds like the beginning of a great first date, or a murder mystery novel. I suppose if I can’t get the date, I can always write the novel. “Love in the Time of COVID-19.” seems like a more appropriate title.
How dare I think about sex when half the world is facing illness, loss of wages, food and supply shortages, childcare crisis, quarantine, and even death? I’m selfish. I’m human. We all are.
That is why there has been a run on toilet paper. Selfish, freaked out people—thinking only of covering their own asses, running on their survival instincts, grabbing supplies, and hoarding everything essential—are losing their sh*t.
I get it, it’s scary. And it’s not their fault. People will respond to any crisis the same way that they react to their deepest, internalized wound.
When a person is hurt, abandoned, or traumatized, they tend to react in four ways. The first three are physiological: fight, flight, or freeze. The fourth is a psychological response—fawn.
I promise we’ll get to the sex. Consider this intellectual foreplay:
People who fight when faced with fear will lash out, become defensive, or deck a nice old lady over a roll of toilet paper. (I do hope that is an exaggeration.) People inclined to flight will try to flee. The last physiological trauma response is freeze. Have you seen the fainting goats? They are a prime example of what a freeze response looks like. People who freeze also tend to withdraw and avoid. Considering that limited social interaction is recommended right now, withdrawing a bit is not a bad option. We must, however, be careful of avoidance, as we also need to stay informed.
Fawning, or trauma bonding, is a psychological response to pain, confusion, and shock. Survival is deemed the priority over preserving the sense of self, or integrity. We need each other for mental, emotional and physical well being. And to thrive, we need to know we belong. However, in the absence of emotional stability, we may lose ourselves in a herd mentality. This, I believe, is why throngs of people are crowding into stores—their unresolved, unrecognized wounds rising to the surface—and acting out their deepest survival mechanisms. And it’s most likely going to get uglier before it gets better.
We don’t want to suppress fear—or any emotion, or impulse right now, or ever—it weakens our immune system. We want to befriend all aspects of ourselves, and be friendly to others. And during trying times, we can practice Tonglen, a meditation practice for a world that is falling apart. In that, maybe we can come together.
We can explore ways to look after ourselves, and each other. Connect, check in, phone and text people. We can flirt—it’s contagious, in the best way. And we can masturbate, as well as meditate. Both are self-love practices, and relieve stress.
Now is the time to open, be honest, and even play. For some that is acknowledging fear, panic, and uncertainty. I get it. I too have been feeling anxious. Anxiety is a familiar companion to me. I have ways to soothe it. I drink water, eat well, get into nature, rest, and limit my time with overstimulating activities.
Along with anxiety, another energy is rising in me right now. They feel similar, but different, depending on my mental context—feeling crushed? Or having a crush!—this brings us back to sex and immunity.
This is where being honest about what is coming up is a healthy response to any stimuli, and what is coming up for me is arousal. I’m excited. Something sensual bubbles just beneath my skin. Is that weird? Maybe. It’s also part of being human, and I feel so human right now.
Suppressing my own arousal is a strategy I have employed in the past, and as with denying any other emotion, it led to fatigue, depression, and—most likely—lowered immunity. Coincidentally, denial also fuels my anxiety. I can’t afford to suppress anything in myself right now, none of us can.
Even as my mind juggles the logistics of how a guy and I would get together, I’m recognizing there is also the suggested social distancing right now. Maybe it’s not the best time to start a new relationship. Way to thwart my mojo, corona, not the bad beer, the damn virus. Le sigh.
Since I cannot ignore, I must explore. I wake up so turned on most mornings, the first thing I do is let my mind wander through my body. Sensations dance over my skin, fluttering deep in my belly. I imagine a lover with me, his hands on me, deep kisses that draw my soul out and leave me shaking and hungry. His face shifts from that of my geek crush, to the sexy rancher I’d like to get to know. As I relish my own touch, I long to touch him, to dig my nails into his shoulder, to pull his hips toward me, and once again, drink in his kiss. Then I reach for my vibrator.
Life floods through me. This is self-full, to be full of life, full of care is good for all.
Cells dance, coming to life. I feel my white blood cells waking up as if saying, “Ayi! Hi ho! We have work to do.” I know this is my imagination, but why not imagine something useful, something healthy, and a little fun right now? I send that energy through my body, and into the body of the collective, along with this little prayer:
“May all living beings know peace, health, and prosperity; and may this orgasm be of benefit.”