When I was given the opportunity to adopt my daughter just a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I knew that saying yes meant saying goodbye to my dating life. At least, to the dating life I’d had up to that point.
Goodbye to the wild nights out.
Goodbye to the freedom to meet up at the last second with any potential love interest.
Goodbye to the potential for something easy and uncomplicated.
And certainly goodbye to the “u up?” texts that never turned into anything substantial but were always good for a few hours of fun.
I was starting my life as a single mom by choice, which meant I wouldn’t have a parenting co-partner to trade nights and weekends with, and dating would, from that point forward, involve a lot of planning and money spent on babysitters.
I didn’t care. The second my daughter was placed in my arms, I knew I had made the right decision.
That was seven years ago. For the most part, my intuition about what my dating life would become after embracing motherhood was spot on. I have a career I’m passionate about, an amazing friend group I can always count on for support, and a daughter who is the absolute love of my life.
And I can’t remember the last time I went on a second date.
The truth is, I just haven’t tried that hard. My life is full and happy, and I have yet to meet someone worth complicating things for.
But that doesn’t mean my lady bits just shriveled up and died. I am still a sexual being with all the same desires I had pre-motherhood. I just don’t have the same time or freedom to give into those desires.
Once a year or so, since my daughter was born, I’ve found a night or two here and there to be intimate with another person while my little girl spent the night at an aunty’s house or, more recently, gone to sleep-away camp. And that’s been enough.
Until 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of a sudden, for the first time in my journey as a single mother, sex and dating are no longer just slightly out of reach; they are legitimately forbidden.
I can’t just get on Tinder and pick out an attractive potential for a night of flirting and fun. I haven’t been inside a restaurant in 9 months, or been within 6 feet of another adult. And kissing through masks isn’t really a thing.
There’s no room for casual hookups or even PG-13 dates when the risk is possibly bringing a deadly disease home. There’s no way to justify my need to get laid while public health officials beg people to keep their distance.
And so, I haven’t. My Tinder profile has been shut down, my legs closed, and my vibrators charged.
It is what it is. I’ve put dating and sex on the back burner before, and I’m more than willing to do so again in the name of protecting myself, my daughter, and our community.
But I’ll tell you this much: 2020 has definitely made me question my independent woman status, wishing I’d maybe just settled down with someone nice before this whole pandemic began.
Someone I could curl up beside in bed without fear of contracting the plague.
And sure, most of my friends are sick of their partners by now. Working from home, side-by-side, while also trying to manage their kids’ virtual schooling, trapped in seemingly tiny houses without any opportunities to simply be alone—it makes sense that so many marriages are struggling right now. That’s a lot of pressure and togetherness.
But as I keep telling all my friends: it’s still another adult to crawl into bed with at night.
Someone to talk to.
Someone to process with.
And yes, someone to fuck. On the occasion that one is not way too exhausted to make that mutual orgasm worth pursuing.
So if you have a partner (assuming they aren’t abusive or otherwise awful—because if they are, take 2020 as your excuse to leave), just think about climbing on top of them tonight.
Simply because you can.
Do it for the single parents. Take advantage of your ability to safely get laid, and don’t take that gift for granted.
Sure, your partner may have a terrible habit of leaving their dishes in the sink or talking too loud on their Zoom calls.
But it’s another adult. In your home. Hopefully aware of all the places you like to be touched.
So let them touch you there. Because there are far too many of us not being touched at all this year.
At least, not touched in the ways we want to be.
And we aren’t even sure when that might be able to happen again. So we need to know you’re not wasting the sex that is otherwise always (or mostly always) available to you.
You can thank me when you’re done.
(Psssst… hey you! Yeah, you—the one struggling in a million different ways right now, just trying to keep your head above water, incapable of thinking of anything but survival. If sex is the last thing on your mind right now, I really do get that. I’d like to think of everyone happily getting laid, simply because it feels like the one simple pleasure those in relationships can still cling to. And because I miss sex so much myself. But if that’s just not what you want at all, honor that. And know you deserve to have a partner who honors it too.)