Six Important Things You’ll Learn by Listening to Love in the Time of Corona
We’ve all been impacted by COVID-19. Between lockdowns and physical distancing, one very large, important impact has been on our relationships. Experiencing personal connections during COVID has proven to be challenging for many people and for many different reasons. That’s why Centennial College has partnered with Humber College to launch a new podcast, called Love in the Time of Corona.
The first episode, which you can listen to now, features a panel discussion moderated by Rick Ezekiel, Director of Equitable Learning, Health and Wellness and Amita Singh, Councillor. It includes a panel of experts, including Aaron Brown, Monique Chambers, Dr. Silvia D’Addario and Seán Kinsella,
who all represent a diverse range of backgrounds, gender identities, relationship types and sexualities. They’ve all come to discuss and share stories about one subject: Intimacy and connection during a pandemic. Here are just a few of the topics they touch on.
1. Why relationships are important.
Intimacy and connection are essential to our wellness. This includes physical connections, emotional connections, and connections to land and space. For some speakers, the most challenging part of COVID-19 is simply their inability to be around people and experience tactile connection, especially because, in some instances, abstaining from relationships is said to be a way to keep safe during the pandemic.
2. How relationships mean many different things.
There’s more than one kind of romantic relationship. The panel discusses monogamous relationships, polyamorous relationships and more. Beyond that, intimacy can come from more than romance. There are different kinds of relationships, like self-compassion and care, deep friendships, deep colleague relationships, even relationships with the land, plants and animals. One speaker even finds comfort in their very needy dog.
3. How to creatively maintain intimate connections.
One method to meet our intimacy needs right now is through digital engagement, and we’re fortunate enough to live in a time when there are many apps you can use to connect with people. Some of the panelists have their community needs to be met just by chatting with their work friends every day. Meanwhile, some go low-tech and venture out into nature to reconnect with the world.
4. How different cultures have vastly different perspectives on relationships.
There are real consequences to assuming relationships work the same way for everyone. One discussed topic is how a lot of public health information on COVID-19 assumes the audience is made up of monogamous nuclear families living in singular homes, when that isn’t the truth for many of us, for example, Indigenous people who cohabitate with elders, the keepers of community knowledge that is culturally important, but who also are at increased risk of infection.
5. What consent means in the current world.
For some, intimacy means vulnerability, comfort and trust. Many of us agree consent is essential in intimacy, but few actually understand all the components of consent, which has only gotten more complicated thanks to COVID-19. These days, though, an important piece of consent is disclosing our risk-taking behaviours, and being honest about our social circles, because that could really impact another person's health. Another difficult angle with modern consent is how challenging it is digitally when you can’t read body language or tone in the same way, so attentiveness to our distant companions is more important than ever.
6. How to protect yourself.
It’s hard to make and maintain personal connections when there’s a fear of getting sick, and making others sick. At the same time, quarantine protocols and social isolation means that those who are in precarious relationships are now in even more dangerous situations. Add in pandemic-related stressors like job loss, reduced income, food insecurity and exacerbated mental health issues, and it’s especially important to engage in harm reduction right now, not just between one another, but in our relationships with the Earth. So how are we supposed to navigate intimacy and connection? Listen to the first episode of the Love in the Time of Corona podcast to find out, and keep listening for more on how to practice connection and intimacy during these challenging times.
Written By: Anthony Geremia