I don’t know about you, but I never expected my first experience living with my boyfriend to be during a global pandemic. I was excited for our future, but I never imagined it would involve holing up at his mother’s house in Houston during the hottest, swampiest time of the year. After two years of doing the long distance thing, being together 24/7 was quite the adjustment.
But somehow, we made it work. And I took comfort knowing that all couples struggle at times. I heard from couples who had been happily cohabitating for years who were suddenly struggling while sheltering in place. Then, from newly minted couples who gave up their individual apartments to be quarantined together — even though they’d only started dating a few months earlier!
How ever you and your partner cope with being together for unprecedented amounts of time, we all know one thing that makes it better: sex! So it’s reassuring to know that birth control options like Phexxi™(lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate) Vaginal Gel 1.8%, 1%, 0.4% are available for spontaneous romance. Phexxi is an FDA-approved, hormone-free prescription birth control gel that's easy to use and is 86% effective at preventing pregnancy with typical use and 93% effective at preventing pregnancy when used as directed by your doctor.
Phexxi encourages women to take charge of their sex lives but it’s not approved to enhance sexual satisfaction or protect against STIs. While Phexxi could be a great option for many women seeking hormone-free birth control, it won’t be right for everyone, like those with a history of repeated urinary tract infections. Phexxi is designed for use in the moment and it only works when used before sex. As with any new birth control, be sure to check for any ingredients in Phexxi you or your partner may be allergic to.
In partnership with Phexxi, we talked to seven couples about how they make quarantine work for their relationship so everyone can enjoy more in-the-moment romance. Perhaps you're in the same boat like one of our cohabitating couples, who can now enjoy the benefits of spontaneous day sex. Or maybe you're planning a responsible visit to your long-distance partner, and want to make sure that you're prepared for intimacy. What ever your situation, integrating a spontaneous birth control option like Phexxi into your toolkit can only benefit your sex and love life.
1. We Stopped Keeping Score
“Right when our 5-year-long relationship was starting to feel stale and boring, quarantine weirdly brought me and my boyfriend closer together. There's something weird about spending all. of. your. time. together that made us become super patient with each other. Small subjects like who takes the trash out more often or who runs more errands would turn into arguments, but these days we've stopped keeping score and there's a strong sense that we're on the same team. We by no means have a perfect relationship, but we've grown leaps and bounds since March!” —Allison & Ray, dating since 2015
2. We Adopted New Hobbies & Found Time For Spontaneity
“On our one-year anniversary in March, I went over [to my boyfriend’s apartment] planning to stay for a week and then rarely left. The beginning was a bit hard since both of us work in industries that were heavily affected by Covid, but luckily neither of our roles were impacted. We started cooking together a lot — nothing fancy, but before Covid, my boyfriend basically only knew how to use a slow cooker or ordered food — and started enjoying the benefits of spontaneous intimacy. Pre-Covid, we had date night on Wednesdays and then spent Saturday and Sundays together. There was always the expectation that sex would just happen, since that was our time together. There’s no longer this pressure to fit it in — and now, there’s the occasional day sex!” —Chelsea & Danny, dating since 2019
3. We Decided To Relocate
“My husband and I have lived together for four years, so we’d already figured out how to make that work. But quarantine definitely had its challenges. We were living in a small apartment, so we decided to flee to my parents’ house in upstate New York. I never thought I’d move back home, let alone with my spouse. We had to find a new groove living in someone else’s house — and that took some time and a few arguments. But we found some really fun things to do there together, like taking long drives around the nearby mountains and lakes, and enjoying having a backyard and a grill! We realized how much we valued things like this, and actually decided to move upstate for good. We got an apartment, and now we’re finding our groove in this new space.” —Cassie & Sam, married since 2019
4. We Got To Know Each Other
“It was a fluke — we happened to follow the same hashtag on Instagram. Richard saw one of my posts that piqued his interest, and reached out. This was on March 19, 2020, just as cities began to quarantine due to the pandemic. Since I live in New York and Richard lives in Austin, we found ourselves on late night video calls every night. It’s not the norm to have long telephone conversations when getting to know a potential new partner, but this proved to be an integral part of building our relationship. Our otherwise hectic lives just weeks prior would not have allowed for such frequent, in-depth interactions (oh, and the small fact that we were 1,742 miles away from each other!). I decided to take the plunge and travel to Austin. After self-isolating for 12 days, we were able to finally enjoy each other’s company in person (thankfully, the virtual sparks transformed into physical ones!). Meeting someone during a pandemic hasn’t been easy, but from our perspective it has helped to eliminate the social interactions that can sometimes distract from truly getting to know somebody.” —Richard and Jim, dating since March 2020
5. We Committed To Spending Quality Time Together
“We've definitely had to work harder to find more ways to spend quality time together since we can't actually go out and do something. We've maintained our weekly date nights with take out, and make sure we are still spending that time actually talking to each other rather than just watching TV or being on our phones. It's more mental energy than it was in the past for sure. But it’s been nice to realize that we have the communication skills to (so far!) get through something pretty major.” —Rachel & John*, married since 2015
6. We Created Boundaries So We Can Each Have Our Own Space
“We make sure to create separate spaces for ourselves, and have some distance. We're lucky that my husband is able to work outside of the apartment, so we aren't cooped up together for the majority of the day. It honestly has saved us. We get to look forward to seeing each other after work just like in the Before Times. —Lexi & Keith, married since 2017
7. We Discovered New Activities That Once Seemed Totally Foreign
“Because my boyfriend continued to work (he’s a chef at a school) at the beginning of quarantine, I wasn’t able to see him at first because I’m immune-compromised and we don't live together. From a distance, we started watching movies together over our phones, karaoke-ing on video chat, and DJ-ing for each other for the first month or so. Once the school year ended, I was able to see him without the outside pressures of the workplace. We spent more time together, cooked more, and got to know each other without the burden of daily stresses on our back. We ended up going picnic-ing weekly, making up our own cocktails at home, and bike riding for the first time. Both totally new activities for two people who had spent many years working inside dark clubs or kitchens!” —Sara & Gabe*, dating since 2018
*Name has been changed
This article is sponsored by Phexxi™. Please visit Phexxi.com for the full prescribing information. Please report side effects by contacting Evofem Biosciences® toll-free at 1-833-EVFMBIO or contact FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.