Sex and the city: 'Dear boyfriend, no making out in times of coronavirus!'

My live-in boyfriend is working during the lockdown as his restaurant is doing food deliveries. He comes in contact with his kitchen staff and others. He comes home at night, has a shower and then wants to have sex with me. I have been refusing to share a bed with him due to the fear of coronavirus. I keep a distance from him, wear a mask around him and sanitise the house. He says we are young and will recover if we get the virus. We are now fighting over the fact that I refuse sex. What should I do?

Ans: The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented stir in geopolitics and psycho-social dynamics. When faced with a global health emergency, people risk losing their sense of objectivity. An emotional person has impaired judgement. His/her ability to make rational and logical assessments gets compromised. A difficult situation becomes a psychological moot point. While it’s true that physical and social distancing is being recommended, nothing that has spoken about refraining from physical intimacy with a live-in partner.

If you are taking the all the necessary hygiene precautions in keeping with medically sound, government approved guidelines that are blessed by the World Health Organization, sex isn’t known to be a cause of the COVID-19 virus spreading between two people. If you feel choked by anxiety and fear and that prevents you from getting close to your partner, could it be possible that he too if feeling similar if not identical emotions based in uncertainty and stress - since he is out there orchestrating food deliveries? At such a time, it is quite possible that you will need each other emotionally. What if he was to reveal that he seeks to address his emotional needs (maybe even his own anxiety & fear) - by getting sexually intimate with you? How does that make you feel? Maybe that’s the part of his day he looks forward to.

You could speak to him about this in an honest and empathetic manner. If you are aware that your boyfriend is taking a shower (presumably using soap) would that not serve the purpose of disinfecting his body? Then what prevents you coming close to him? I suppose the reason you’re writing in to this column is because you have become uncomfortable with the fights taking place between both of you over your refusal to have sex with him.

Take note of any other topics over which you both tend to have fights. Could sexual intimacy just be a proxy that stands between some other uncomfortable issues that you both are facing as a couple? What other areas of dissent are not being addressed between you two? Online counselling services are available to help couples in most cities. You have every right to refuse to have sex with someone you're not in a mood to have sex with but when it happens repeatedly, it may harrow your partner if he starts to sense that he is being subjected to hokey excuses. Does your partner trust you? Do you trust him? Without trust, your relationship could wane.

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