"By staying present and taking small steps, you'll be able to actually enjoy the pleasure of being around humans again."While these anxieties and challenges might seem daunting, Wright assures us that there are additional steps we can take to be gentle with ourselves and our communities as we move forward with both social interaction and new sexual connections. “Take baby steps and talk yourself through it,” she says. “I know this sounds simple—and it's so incredibly profound. By staying present and taking small steps instead of trying to figure the whole thing out at the beginning, you'll be able to actually enjoy the pleasure of being around humans again. One moment at a time, as corny as it may sound.” Some folks find themselves counting down the days until they’re fully immunized so they can jump back into having more physical sexual connections, while others are more wary. If you find yourself having reservations about seeing other people face to face, it might be helpful to try out some super low-pressure interactions at first. “Re-connect with people that are low-stakes,” Wright says. “New or old friend, you're both vaccinated, sitting outside? That feels so low risk, low stakes, and still social (and you can hug!). If it feels scary to take a step forward, pause and stay present. Assess where you are and then decide what you want to feel. Then, you can take action from there.” Whether it’s starting small or jumping right in, do what feels best for you as you begin to ease out of isolation. We’ve all been through such an unsettling collective experience and many of us have suffered loss and trauma during this time, so communication is more important now than ever. You may want to talk to your partner(s) about the trauma you’ve experienced to help you move forward. It may also be helpful to seek the support of a sex-positive therapist or mental health professional. Despite the hesitation you may feel, you can take heart in the fact that you’ve thoughtfully navigated into and out of isolation with the best possible intentions.
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