Dating & Relationships

From Sexting To Hook-Ups: Navigating Sex Coming Out Of Lockdown

Now that restrictions are easing, it's time to meet IRL instead, which can be nerve-racking. Luckily, writer Rachael Davies is sharing her tips for taking things offline.
by Rachael Davies
27 May 2021

UPDATED: 29 Sep 2022


killing kittens dating after lockdown

Unable to meet with people for dates or hook-ups, getting steamy over text was pretty much the only way for us to get intimate during lockdown. But now, with more and more people getting vaccinated, social distancing restrictions are easing and your Covid-born romances can now potentially come offline.

But how can you make that jump from flirting on the phone to making a move in person? Here are some tips to make sure your first offline date post-lockdown ticks every box for both you and your partner/s.

Translating fantasies

If you’ve been stepping things up a level over text, you might well have shared some fantasies with your partner in advance. We all tend to be more confident when we can’t see the other person’s face. This means we’re often more upfront about what we want, or more descriptive about certain scenarios than we might be face-to-face. After all, we only have our words when we’re sexting, so we can let our imaginations run wild.

Remember that there’s no pressure on either you or your partner to live up to these fantasies in person. Just because you’ve said something over text, doesn’t mean you or they will necessarily want to act that out in real life. A great way to test the waters on this before meeting in person is to switch up your language: “When we meet up, I can’t wait to…”, or “It will be so fun to…”. This gives you the opportunity to redefine what you want to do physically and perhaps change the expectations of what an in-person date will be like. You can also be explicit! “I’ve loved explored X over text, but I think for our first meet I’d be more interested in Y”.

Establish desire in person

Don’t be worried if the desire fizzles slightly in person. Attraction depends so much on what the other person is like when you meet. After months of hot texts, being sat opposite someone on a date has a very different atmosphere. It’s totally normal if your attraction for them either slows down or picks up. Remember that you’re beginning a new way of interacting with your date, so it’s only to be expected that your desire might be playing catch-up.

Test it out with little instances of physical contact, if that feels appropriate: touching their arm, brushing up against them while walking, and so on. Get both you and your partner used to the pleasure of being in person, not just talking, and see what feelings are stirred up. Some people are more open to physical contact than others, especially as we’re still very much in the middle of a pandemic, so try to ascertain what both of you are comfortable with.

Bridge the confidence gap

If you’re in the mood to take it to the bedroom, be ready to offer some encouragement. You might feel confident and ready to go, but your partner might not be. Nerves are normal when meeting someone in person at the best of times, and if you’ve been sexting for a while, that tension might have built up for them a lot.

The same goes for you too; you might be the most confident sexter out there, only to find yourself feeling anxious on a real-life date. Remember that it’s just a date, you’re just meeting up with someone, and the pressure is off. This one night is not the Big Moment for the entire relationship you might be seeing it as. Just treat it like what it is: an opportunity to meet someone you like face-to-face and see where it goes. If it feels right, you can always acknowledge your nerves out loud – it can help to break the ice and dispel anxiety to say “wow, I’m feeling really nervous”.

Keep up the dirty talk

Communication has been the cornerstone for all of your interactions up until this point, whether that’s on the phone, over text, or however else you’ve been chatting. That shouldn’t stop now. If and when you move things to the bedroom, try and keep up the dirty talk from before. Not only will it make sure you’re both on the same page with what’s happening right now, but it also reminds you both of the raunchy conversations from lockdown that formed the basis of your connection. 

Once again, this is also a great way to establish boundaries and affirm consent in person. Your sexts might have mentioned certain acts that you don’t want to do now; this is the time to reiterate what you want to do at the moment and make it clear to your partner. Remember that dirty talk doesn’t need to be super explicit. If you’re not a big talker, just try out quick and easy phrases like “I like that” during certain positions or movements, or using body language to guide your partner’s body.

Ultimately, moving sex from virtual to physical is rooted in strong communication. If you’ve been chatting with someone for a while, you’ve already laid a solid groundwork. Think of it like any first date, but you’ve got a head start because you already know each other pretty well. It might feel like there’s a lot riding on this one meeting, but keeping these tips in mind will help get you hit the ground running.

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