Friday Polynews Roundup — Safer sex in the pandemic. Move a metamour in for the duration? Skills for bottled-together partners, and more.
It's Friday Polynews Roundup again — for March 27, 2020.
So when I said that Moose and I were isolating from most of the world but not from our close couple? Well, that was then and this is now. This morning we wrote them, "Sadly, we have decided we shouldn't come this weekend. [Moose] tells me, 'I would never forgive myself if I gave either of them the illness.' I agree."
And I noted that, judging from the growth of known cases in our state, "any random contact now is 7 times more likely to pass the infection than a week ago," the last time we were together.
It turned out that they were also just about to call off the date. We happened to email first.
There hasn't been much poly in the news this week, with the pandemic pushing most other news aside. However,
● Cunning Minx's Polyamory Weekly podcast this week, episode 587, is Love in the Time of Coronavirus (March 24). Here's some of what she discusses:
How do we practice poly responsibly during a pandemic? Is it OK to move my metamour in with me rather than not see her for the duration of enforced social isolation?
If you’re considering cohabitation that you wouldn’t have considered [until the] coronavirus social isolation requirements, some advice:
– As always, make sure your existing relationships are relatively healthy first.
– Ask everyone involved what they need to be happy and healthy in a communal space; consider personal space, alone time, sexual, and physical needs.
– Discuss how finances will work in terms of rent, groceries, and other bills.
– Discuss expectations for chores and other responsibilities.
– Ask your kids how they feel about your metamour moving in.
– Have the pets been introduced? Is there a danger that they might attack each other?
– Set up regular check-ins after the move-in. These provide opportunities to bring up what it working well, what isn’t, to express gratitude and appreciations, and to bring up issues before they become bigger.
– Take a break from news coverage if it increases anxiety or feelings of depression.
● Here's Sex and the Coronavirus Disease, a two-page flyer from the New York City Department of Health at the epicenter (PDF download). It's clear and very frank. For instance,
2. Have sex with people close to you.
• You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.
• The next safest partner is someone you live with. Having close contact — including sex — with only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19. Have sex only with consenting partners.
• You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household. If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible.
• If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.
And while kissing transmits the disease readily, "COVID-19 has not yet been found in semen or vaginal fluid." But it is in feces. The flyer is continuously updated.
Go read it. You've got time now, right? When it first appeared the wave of downloads was said to have crashed the site, but now it comes up fine.
● As many of us become more tightly bottled up with partners than we're used to, and will be for many weeks to come, Cosmopolitan offers a few simple but advanced communication skills and annoyance-resolvers used by HR departments everywhere: Is your partner annoying you? Here's how to tell them. "These women share how they let their partner know something they're doing irritates them. Take. Notes." (March 25. Also reprinted by Yahoo News.)
They give a nod to polyfolks at the start:
...Even those in healthy relationships can get wound up by their partner(s) every now and then, and that is totally normal. You are, after all, two (or more, if you're polyamorous) humans trying to enmesh your lives despite being separate entities....
Here are the first two of the eight paragraphs. Go read the whole thing and save it for reference.
2. The keys here are to: validate first, give the constructive criticism second, and then show some manners at the end. ...
This might also be a good time to make a project of learning and practicing the deeper communication skills that the poly movement has long been pushing: nonviolent-communication tricks (NVC), "I" statements, active listening with mirroring for clarity, etc. I recommend Robert McGarey's classic little book, the Polyamory Communication Survival Kit. Available in paperback or as a cheaper PDF download.
● Tiffany muses on her Poly Mama blog, The Pros and Cons of Being Poly during COVID-19 (March 17-22). Excerpts:
Harry Tenant / Quartz
...This is written from my perspective as a stay-at-home mom with two live-in partners, one of whom works at home and the other who works outside the home but not on the frontlines of this pandemic. I do understand that not everyone is in my position and most have it harder during this time.)...
Deepen relationships (if that’s what you’re into)
So, here we are, quarantined in our homes, stuck with our partners, kids, pets, etc., and let me tell you, I think this is a great thing. It’s only been a couple of days into the call to stay home and I already feel like I’m bonding more with my partners and my children. I feel like life has slowed down; there is less to worry about in terms of ‘am I taking my kids enough places to enrich their lives?’ and ‘am I spending enough time with each partner?’ ...
More time to get things done....
More income in uncertain times.
...One of the pros of living polyamorously is having increased household income. So, naturally, that extends to a time like this. And in an uncertain economic and social climate like we are in now, it is even nicer than normal to have that extra stability.
Can’t see partners you don’t live with in person (but, hey, you can still video chat, right?)
I feel bad because my husband just officially started dating his girlfriend a few days before this whole thing started, and now they will not be able to hang out for quite a while (we both have multiple adults and children in our households, so there’s no point in increasing our exposure risk just for them to hang out). ...
More people home to make messes
So, I talked in the pros section about more people being home to help clean and do chores. On the flip side, more people being home also means more... garbage, more spills, more food dropped on the floor. ...The mere fact that my toddler is not at his morning school program....
Contamination risks go up
The more adults you have in your household that must work outside the home, the more risk you have of contracting the virus. It’s just simple statistics. ...
More people to support if some lose jobs
...If one partner is out of work, the other(s) may have to support that person for a while. This can cause economic hardships that you may not have been expecting when you entered into this type of relationship. ...
Of course, these are just a snippet of the pros and cons that exist during this interesting time we live in. Feel free to email me (tiffany @ polymama.blog) or comment any other ideas you have, and I’ll incorporate them into a follow-up article as we get deeper into this time of limited interaction.
● And, how about a poly relationship-exploration board game? Tikva Wolf (of Kimchi Cuddles) is offering, for these times, her board game Polycule Orbit for free. It's not a manufactured product yet; you download it as a PDF, print it out (must be able to print two-sided), cut out the cards, set up the papers, and you're off. I got to try it at a polycon where she demonstrated it, and it does get a group of people going deep quick. She writes,
In light of the recent pandemic, families being separated, and general weird times worldwide, I am currently making this resource available as a FREE digital download. POLYCULE ORBIT is a creative communication tool that can be used to connect over distance as well as in the same house, or you can play in Solo Mode to gain deeper insight and clarity on a specific topic!
Thanks to tosii2 for the tip.
That's it for now. See you next Friday, unless some big poly in the media pops up sooner.