Pin It
ashley armitage photography sex valentines day
Photography Ashley Armitage, via @ladyist

How to survive Valentine’s Day in lockdown as a sex-starved singleton

Craving the touch of another? We can’t help with that, but we can help you find an alternative to get through what might be the loneliest V-Day of all time

Let me guess, you hate Valentine’s Day? Do you think it’s some money-making scheme devised to sell greetings cards, browning supermarket roses, and innuendo chocolates? Convenient, isn’t it, how such subversive displays of anti-capitalism always crop up around February 14. Especially when it’s all Amazon Prime, Deliveroo, and RuPaul’s Drag Race the rest of the year. “I mean, wasn’t it made up by like Clintons Cards or something?” Yeah, it could never be you indulging in this consumerist nonsense. Because on Valentine’s Day your loneliness isn’t just abject, it’s a political statement. God, it makes me want to take a romantic walk to Highgate and leave one of those giant Tatty Teddys at Marx’s grave. 

Even if you are in a relationship, it’s likely that you’re apart, which means (god forbid) another FaceTime wank. Nothing says I love you more than seeing your partner’s bits jittering about in slow-mo while your flatshare’s bandwidth struggles to keep up. Still, single people have had a particularly rough ride over the pandemic. A year of limited social and physical contact has got people rubbing up against walls and risking contamination to pay in cash, just to savour the brush of another person’s hand. Should we all go outside and clap for single people? Valentine’s can be a joyless day as it is, but the pandemic just makes loving hard. 

“Single people have had a particularly rough ride over the pandemic. A year of limited social and physical contact has got people rubbing up against walls and risking contamination to pay in cash, just to savour the brush of another person’s hand”

Thankfully, for Ericka Hart, a sex educator based in New York, loving yourself is not necessarily an entry requirement for self-love. “You don’t have to love yourself to appreciate and get to know your body,” they say. This Valentine’s, Hart advocates for a day spent with radical and realistic self-empathy, which is no easy feat given the events of the past year, “especially for those whose bodies have been traditionally marginalised”. Not to mention the added rigmarole of lockdown, which means that “there are lots of folks whose everyday material concerns far outweigh” any naff holiday obligations. To counter this, Hart stresses the importance of wielding compassion to “understand that you are not the problem”. 

This can start with “intentionally resting and lying with yourself”, but once you’ve done this and have inevitably stared into and beyond the abyss, here are some other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day even when you are all alone. 


“Is that too blunt?” asks Scotty Unfamous, award-winning erotic romance author and sexfluencer. “I’m serious, do a Samantha Jones and spend the entire day pleasuring yourself,” she says. While for many, this is just another Sunday in lockdown, Scotty says you’ve got to start luxuriating in the process. “It relaxes you, helps with cramps, it can help send you off to sleep, and it’s great for your skin. What’s not to love?”

“So seduce the hell out of yourself. Light some candles, put on a sexy playlist that makes you practice your heaux dances in the mirror, wear some shit that makes you feel like you are the baddest that ever lived. Love up on yourself. You deserve!”


At the beginning of the pandemic, supermarkets had to put a limit on the amount of toilet paper each person could buy. The global horn brought on by quarantine saw the mega-rise of OnlyFans, record-breaking levels of traffic on PornHub, and last week people complained in a national newspaper about “completing Grindr”. The world has not encountered such chaotic levels of horniness since that Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes Instagram snog sesh.

Might it be time to upgrade what’s in your arsenal? “We love sex toys in the Haus of Unfamous,” says Scotty. “If you’re a beginner I’d recommend starting with something simple like a wand or a bullet. If you’re more experienced, look into trying something that can deliver sensations your hands can’t. A suction toy or a dual-stimulation toy is a beautiful thing.”


Healthy routines are a cornerstone of positive mental wellbeing and over the course of the pandemic, people have taken solace in skincare as a way to mitigate stress. You want mindful, minimalist, and powerful products from affordable Korean brands like IUNIK. Its Beta-Glucan Serum is a level up from your standard hyaluronic acid and its Tea Tree Relief Serum is god tier for calming redness, acne, and aggravated skin barriers. 

But on Valentine's Day, you might just want something a bit more indulgent, like Harley Street’s 111skin. Its brightening, healing, and anti-blemish masks are small self-care investments. Just because your love life’s drying up doesn’t mean that your epidermis should be too. 


Ever tried to host a socially distanced orgy? It’s impossible, corona has put a sledgehammer through the adult party scene. Chariots, the iconic east London sauna, has even gone into liquidation. And this isn’t to mention the havoc that 2m distances have wreaked on the dogging community. Like every other aspect of our lives, these encounters now take place over Zoom. Killing Kittens and NSFW have got you covered on Valentine's Day if you’re feeling at all voyeuristic. Or, you know, there’s always Chatroulette…


Literally. “I’ve always been a little trepidatious of exploring my back end orifice,” says Samuel Douek, founder of HOWL, a sex-positive CBD lube brand, “but in all honesty, it’s surprisingly enjoyable”. Could the next frontier in wellness be…ass play?  

“You have to harness your sexual power through exploration,” says Samuel. And this Valentine's, his “self-care playtime” comes courtesy of the HOWL VRBTN Kit, a collaboration with kink club Verboten. “Being alone does not mean self-effacing abstinence. Look after your physical, emotional and spiritual self by investing in your sexual wellness”. And after all of that, you can relax into a gorgeous bum mask


As the population slowly gets pumped full of Pfizer, some semblance of normality might be on the horizon. But it got me thinking, will I have to wait until my vaccine for someone to pump me? It’s the kind of question that only a professional can really answer.  

Thank god Selfridges is doing virtual tarot readings. Or otherwise, there’s Liz, Scottish psychic to the stars who my own great-grandfather once spoke through to inform me that he had come out as gay in the afterlife. So that’s nice for him. She’s a hoot. Call her.


The temporary rush of meeting someone new can often be replicated by the simple act of getting a haircut. Nothing convinces you that you are the main character like that journey back home from getting a fresh trim. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. 

But we do have Bleach, where you can book a free virtual consultation along with a hit of newness from changing your appearance. We’ve grown since the last lockdown, so that means no more accidental TERF bangs or coppery dye jobs. They’ll even help you to wear your heart on your hair if you’re feeling especially gooey.  


There’s nothing sexy about getting swabbed, or pissing into a pot, or pricking your finger (unless you’re Armie Hammer, allegedly). What is hot, though, is knowing your status. And you don’t need to traipse into a clinic to get tested, you can do it yourself at home.

With 84 per cent of people abstaining from sex, lockdown could break the chain on many infections. Namely, HIV, which the government aims to end new cases by 2030. Think of it as a pre-workout. By getting a test you’re prepping yourself for the best possible time post-lockdown.