Dutch authorities have decided that sex is a necessity, even in times of lockdown. Ever the pragmatists, they suggest that quarantined singletons “make arrangements” with a willing partner.
With more than 43,000 people infected with the coronavirus and a death toll of 5,600, the Netherlands has been on lockdown since late March. Citizens are allowed to have up to three visitors in their homes, provided they keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other. Naturally, this precludes most sexual activity.
However, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has admitted that two sex-free months is a grim proposition. For those who aren’t quarantined with a partner, the organization now recommends that lonely people find a reliable partner to break the distancing with.
“Discuss how best to do this together,” the RIVM wrote on its website this week. “For example, meet with the same person to have physical or sexual contact (for example, a cuddle buddy or ‘sex buddy’), provided you are free of illness.”
“Make good arrangements with this person about how many other people you both see. The more people you see, the greater the chance of the coronavirus.”
Should one partner suspect they’ve been infected, the RIVM advises they switch to “sex with yourself,” or “at a distance,” by telling erotic stories to each other and the like. The organization even suggests “a vibrator that you control remotely” as a stopgap replacement for intimacy.
The advice is typically Dutch in its directness, and in its straight-faced approach to all things sexual. Indeed, prostitution has been a legal and licensed profession in the Netherlands since 2000, and was tolerated since the middle ages. Its proponents have long argued that if prostitutes are going to ply the oldest profession in the world, the government may as well regulate and tax it.
At present, those unable to make an “arrangement” with a partner are out of luck. Brothels will remain closed until September, and sex clubs, bathhouses and gay saunas will stay shut until at least next week.
Still, the Dutch government’s sexual permissiveness stands in stark contrast with the dour regulations imposed upon Britain. When the UK entered lockdown two days after the Netherlands, couples were advised to abstain or move in with each other, with no wiggle-room. Couples looking for some nookie “should test the strength of their relationship and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries told reporters at the time.
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