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Breaking lockdown for sex
Photography Toa Heftiba, via Unsplash

Speaking to people about why they’re breaking lockdown for sex

A number of people are flouting quarantine – here’s how they’re doing it, what their housemates think, and whether they feel any guilt

In case you haven’t heard, everyone is horny AF in lockdown. Sex toy, condom, and sex doll sales are on the rise, people are wanking for the NHS, and we’re all getting crafty with our vibrators. People are even turning to virtual sex parties to get off. However, for some people, that’s still not enough. 

“I’ve never been very good at playing by the rules,” Ellie, a 35-year-old based in London, tells Dazed, “and by the end of April, I was far too horny.” Ellie is one of many flouting social distancing rules in order to have sex – something lots of people haven’t been able to do for months. According to a report by sex toy brand LELO, 23 per cent of British people have admitted to breaking lockdown to see a partner, with under 35s more likely to flout the rules. 

While Dutch officials advised single people to find a sex buddy for lockdown, the UK told couples to “test the strength of their relationship” by living together or staying apart. Strict lockdowns in Europe meant people couldn’t leave their house without a valid reason – and in some cases a permit – with sex obviously considered unessential.

Although some people in new relationships have made do with phone calls, Netflix Party, and FaceTime sex, others are desperate for the real thing. Here, four people explain why they’re escaping quarantine to get laid, what their housemates think about it, and whether they feel any guilt.

ELLIE, 35, LONDON

“I’ve broken lockdown twice for sex. I’m not in a relationship, but I am dating and have never been very good at playing by the rules. By the end of April, I was far too horny, and was really craving human contact other than my flatmate. The first time I broke lockdown for a ‘friend with benefits’ type guy who lives conveniently close. Before quarantine, we would sometimes go out, get fucked up, and end up staying together. The other guy I met on a dating app – the chat was pretty good, he looked hot, and we were mutually up for meeting. We both told each other we’d already met other people.

It’s all been on foot so far, although the dating app guy rode his bike to meet me. I might be willing to get on public transport if I was really into the person in question… maybe. In terms of breaking lockdown for anything else, I’ve socially distanced with several friends in parks or outside our houses – one friend actually came over for breakfast recently. Breaking the rules does feel naughty, but I don’t feel much guilt because everyone involved has been up for it. Everyone I’ve met has generally interacted with quite a small pool of people, and I have very little contact with anyone in public as I’m still working, and my flatmate does all the shopping and errands. My flatmate has also broken lockdown a few times to go on dates and meet friends, so she encouraged my rule-breaking.”

“My flatmate has also broken lockdown a few times to go on dates and meet friends, so she encouraged my rule-breaking” – Ellie

IZZY, 29, FLORIDA

“I’ve been ‘breaking quarantine’ with someone I’m dating – we met on Hinge back in January and have been dating ever since. We’ve not yet established a true relationship but are monogamous at this time. We both live in the same city, about 15 minutes away from each other – we drive to see one another – and we’re both working from home. Neither of us have roommates or anyone living with us, and we have been limiting our personal contacts to only each other, aside from going out for groceries and necessities. 

For me, there is a slight element of guilt by socialising, but also I live alone, am prone to depression, and really feel that I need to be around someone. We’ve both agreed that we’re not socialising with anyone else – neither of us have seen our families or friends – and are actually getting to know each other even more. Although, my friends do hate that I’m making time for him, but won’t see them.”

ERIN, 25, ATLANTA

“I break lockdown typically every Friday for sex. If not Friday, then Saturday, and I usually spend a night or two there and go back home on Sunday or Monday. The guy is someone I had actually cut off around two weeks before quarantine, and then my first day working from home, I got bored and horny. When I first started going, probably around mid-March, it was strictly a sex thing, but as time went on, we both decided to use it to spend time together. So, every Friday, we meet at the grocery store and grab what we need for dinner – I cook, we drink, then we have lots of sex. He only lives 10 minutes away from me, and he’s someone I’ve been hanging out with prior to all of this, which made me feel better about it. If he lived further away, or we had met more recently, I don’t think I’d have been up for it.

I don’t feel guilty about breaking quarantine for sex because I have other friends who have been even more relaxed about the rules than I have. They’ve been to dinner parties, cookouts, you name it – all the things I would never think about doing. I live alone, so I don’t have to worry about getting anyone sick. Also, the sex with him is so worth it – it gives me something to look forward to every week. With everything being so unpredictable in the world right now, this is one thing I can count on for some normalcy.”

“With everything being so unpredictable in the world right now, this is one thing I can count on for some normalcy” – Erin

CATHERINE, 25, LONDON

“I was dating someone before lockdown happened, and we have been seeing each other quite regularly since – around three times a week. Sex has happened in these occasions, but it hasn’t been the intention of meeting up. When this started, we’d only been dating a short while, so to be in lockdown together would have been a big step early on. At the beginning, we met up but kept two metres apart, but as quarantine continued, this didn’t happen. She only lives about a mile away, so we’ve been walking or cycling to each other – there’s also been the occasional late-night Uber, but no public transport.

I’m flouting the rules because I want to spend time with her – that may be selfish in terms of lockdown rules, but we have been really careful. We are both separately isolating, and haven’t been seeing anyone else (apart from housemates) in such close proximity. I definitely felt guilty at the start, and I guess I still do a little, but we’re both aware of how careful we need to be. Neither of us want to get sick or make our housemates sick, so we have made our own rules to avoid this. The people that know we’re seeing each other understand the precautions we’ve taken to ensure us meeting up is as safe as possible. I think they also understand the mental benefits of us seeing each other.”

All names have been changed