By: Fatima Mechtab
The global Coronavirus Pandemic has forever altered the course of humanity. How we have learned to cope with isolation, how we socialize, and our health and safety approaches have changed us on a personal, professional, and economic level. But how does this relate to sexuality? What will our new sexual normal look like? And particularly for those who have not had physical access to their partner(s), how does that impact sexual self-care when it comes to solo individuals?
These interviews will shine a spotlight on the views of those within our vast, sex-positive community. While we have all affected this universal phenomenon, it’s important to capture the particular experiences and opinions of how people are coping from day today. From educators to artists to performers, the COVID-19 has put a unique strain on our sexual freedoms and expressions. Let’s explore how these individuals are approaching sexual-self care during a time of isolation.
Q: Introduce yourself; who are you, and what do you do?
A: Mocha is my nickname, I’m a Queer Black Femme, a multidisciplinary artist from Toronto Canada I live with invisible and chronic illness, I volunteer a lot of my time in community involvement where my main focus is on marginalized folks, Body Positivity, Sex Positivity, Burlesque, Race Relations, and Social Justice.
Q: How have you been coping with the COVID-19 crises?
A: I was in a state of shock for the first few weeks. I was concerned about my family. Living with Generalized Anxiety certainly doesn’t help my situation. I took a lot of time to rest in between keeping up with the headlines as it was exhausting, but I’ve grown a lot in the past few months.
Q: What are some ways you have been staying upbeat and positive?
A: I have an upbeat disposition naturally, but it only went so far this, this was the first time I’ve experienced a global pandemic. My arts, burlesque, and Sex-positive Communities have been incredibly supportive; they came through in ways I could not have imagined. I learned that it was ok to be vulnerable and ask for help, that was a huge lesson for me. When I reached out, people offered to do grocery runs, offered emotional support, invited me to zoom meetings and parties. I picked up some healing modality courses which I can use well beyond COVID.
Q: What are some ways that people can practice self-love/self-sensuality while in self-isolation?
A: Times of crisis are often times of self-reflection and clearing away of old habits; it forced me to look at what was essential and prioritize. As for intimate relations and self-care, luckily, I had invested in some instruments of self-pleasure well before COVID. Yes, I said it! I don’t live with a partner, and I wasn’t going to risk going out to meet anyone either. I made my room Into my sanctuary, I made special baths for myself, and enjoyed my quiet times. I lit incense, used my oils. I romanced myself. I added meditation and Reiki to my practice. I spent more time in self-pleasure than usual. It was a good form of stress relief.
Q: Why do you feel that this is important to practice?
A: Self-care is necessary for my healing; it’s helped me to be aware of changes in my body, how I respond to touch, discover what feels right, and it lets me know if there is anything that needs special attention. I have no shame about self-pleasure, even though sexual shame was part of my upbringing. I encourage others to get in touch with themselves and be confident in their individuality.
Q: Will people continue down a path of self-reflection/self-love after the crises have ended? Or do you think people will go back to seeking outside validation?
A: I really hope people will continue to give themselves special care. I know the urge to connect physically with others is quite strong months into the pandemic; it is for me as well. Self-care and pleasure (speaking as someone who expresses herself sexually)is a vital part of my personal, spiritual, and emotional health and will continue even after people are reunited. I cannot connect to others to the full potential if I am not aligned with myself, and I want to have the best experiences I can. We shouldn’t solely rely on others to make us feel better; we should appreciate the gifts they bring to our lives and become better for it overall.
Q: What is the one thing found in your home that is bringing you joy during isolation?
A: I would say music because it’s been my companion for whatever mood I may be in. I used a lot of meditation music and sound baths to help me sleep and upbeat music to lighten my mood.
Q: Where can our readers find out more about you and your services?
A: I have so many forms of expression that have helped me to grow. On Instagram and Twitter Burlesque @xmochalovex If you’re into the holistic side of things, meditation, crystal healing, and finding inspiration in nature, you can find me @mindfulwithmocha on Instagram.
Fatima Mechtab is a professional freelance writer, event producer, content creator, and marketing maverick. She has been an active member of the sex-positive community for almost a decade and has worked as an organizer within the LGBTQ+ sector. Her articles have been published on such sites as SDC.com and High Canada Magazine, and she is currently a fiction ghostwriter for Foxon Publishing.