Earlier this year, I got out of a three year relationship. After taking the time to process my heartbreak, I felt reared and ready to get back into dating: to meet new people, explore my sexuality and make new romantic and sexy connections. I was excited to get back in touch with my sensual side and float some new hot things in the bedroom.
It was then that a global pandemic hit, and Melbourne was forced into lockdown.
It was almost comedic: just as I was ready to get back out there and bang whoever I wanted, I was pushed into a period of sexlessness and the confines of my four walls.
The queer dating apps were going wild – people thirstily looking for lockdown buddies, sexting pals or hotties to exchange nudes with. The thought of connecting with new people online was pretty tiring, and even though I chatted to a couple of people, I realised I was probably staring down the barrel of having a sexy solo time until restrictions were lifted.
One afternoon, I pulled out my rickety sex toy box from under my bed and saw a very misc collection of broken bullet vibrators, cheap dildos I won at a magazine launch and tattered rope that I had no idea how to use. I decided it was time to dramatically improve my collection.
While many industries were hit hard by COVID-19, a select few had absolutely flourished. We all became banana bread bakers, home decorators and apparently, horny bitches. The sex toy industry saw a boom in sexy sales all around the world. When lockdown orders were announced in New Zealand, sales of sex toys reportedly tripled. Similar spikes were seen in Australia, according to a press release from Adult Toy Mega Store.
The company's owner, Nicola Relph, stated sex toy sales hit unprecedented highs during the pandemic. "I've never seen anything like it," she said. Sales actually doubled on the site in a single day in March: the day that Scott Morrison announced bars would close across the country. Trust.
I am absolutely part of that statistic. I vowed to stimulate myself and the economy with endless packages of saucy goodies arriving at my house. I frequented queer-friendly sex shop Nikki Darling, happily throwing a portion of my JobKeeper funds on flash new vibrators, glass dildos and my absolute favourite: my first magic wand.
During isolation, I embarked on a journey of rediscovering my sexuality. For the first time in a while, I was putting my energy into giving myself pleasure; re-learning the nooks and crannies of my body and having hot romantic times alone (well, with the wand) in my bed. With my new toys, one mazz at a time, I was achieving all the things (and more) that I was hoping to achieve with new sexual partners. I was showing myself some serious love, embracing pleasure and having daily, earth-shattering orgasms. Plus, I would always make myself a white wine spritzer right after, and never had to worry about an Uber home.
My sharehouse had become a self-pleasure palace. My housemate fell in love with their wand as much as I did, and the soundtrack to our echoey house would often be the kettle softly boiling as electric buzzes from each room bounced off the walls.
Chatting to my housemate, they told me how self-pleasure has been so crucial for the dumpster fire that has been 2020. "At no point would I have found it possible to forget about the world's suffering," they told me. "At no point did I feel it was appropriate or responsible of me to let go and douse the fire of social justice inside of me. But when I first clicked on the wand, the entire world and all its problems melted away beneath me, and in all of seven seconds I was in complete ecstasy."
"The catharsis of being touched by that machine, the only erotic touch I had felt for so long, was made so much sweeter by the emotional and mental release that came with it. The wand allowed me to feel pleasure in a time where I only felt pain," they told me over a cup of tea. (We often talk about masturbation over breakfast.)
In between the two Melbourne lockdowns I managed to find a hot new partner; entering a relationship with a whole new understanding of my body, my sexuality and my pleasure. After months of being locked in my room masturbating, I've emerged with new perspectives of how and where I like to be touched. Growing my understanding around my favourite toys, I've had open conversations about incorporating them into this new relationship, and I'm having some of the best sex I've ever had.
Strategies to pass the time during lockdown have looked different for everyone. Hosting PowerPoint parties, learning new languages, video chatting with friends or finally getting around to watching Breaking Bad. For me, it's meant mazzing. A lot. It's meant pouring the money I would have spent at restaurants into exponentially growing my sex toy collection.
The rickety old box under my bed has been filled to the brim with an assortment of goodies. I've learned a wild amount about sex and pleasure, purely by focusing on myself. It's been a sexy and intimate adventure, and if we ever go into lockdown again, at least I know how I'll be passing the time.
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