Reviewed by Mac Marshall, PhD
Echoing the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, Diana Wiley, PhD wrote Love in the Time of Corona during the early months of 2020 as a “guide to redeem, refresh, and renew your relationship while in quarantine.” She is a marriage and family therapist and sex therapist now in her 70s. Given the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wiley’s main message is that “enjoyable sexual activity between partners can distinctly benefit a couple’s mental and physical health.”
The information in Love in the Time of Corona is relevant for couples of any age, and especially helpful to seniors who are more likely than younger adults to have been in a year-long lockdown.
Wiley’s book is 144 pages of larger-than-usual type for easy reading. It is organized into ten chapters covering these topics:
- Communication. “While you are adapting to each other’s personal habits during quarantine, you could also use this unusual time as an opportunity to learn more useful information about your partner.”
- Planning for Sex Dates. Have and express clear intentions, and then “Take time to communicate and agree on what each of you wants from your date night at home. And then set the date.”
- Mindfulness About Sex. “Entering a mindful state during lovemaking can help you be more present in the moment so you can fully surrender to sexual ecstasy. It helps you get out of your head and into your body.”
- The Importance of Touch. “How you touch your partner (and how your partner touches you) can sometimes be tricky to navigate, even under the best of circumstances. But when you are’ locked down’ together, as during the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes can be higher because of the increased stress and anxiety inherent in the situation.”
- Suggestions for Sensory Revitalization. Limit screen viewing, get outdoors often, learn a new skill, and regulate your consumption of news. Enjoy food and music, pamper your body, and explore different kinds of kissing. “Having good sex is such a grand, multi sensory experience of intense pleasure” that no one “should be ashamed to claim this biological heritage.”
- The Need for Laughter and Playfulness. “Humor, and the playful spirit that often accompanies it, has detoxifying and defusing effects that go a long way toward keeping relationships intact.” Wiley observes that “couples who laugh together last together.”
- The Significance of Novelty. “Novelty offers a myriad of benefits in addition to increased sexual charge. Researchers have discovered that the desire to have new experiences…is positively associated with much of what helps us thrive in the world.”
- Learning More About Sex. “Did you know that people who have more sexual knowledge are more confident in their sexual conduct?” This chapter recommends a variety of books, instructional videos, podcasts, and interactive online courses.
- Expressing Gratitude to Each Other. Minimize criticism. Manage your frustrations. Express thankfulness more often: “It’s an easy, simple, and surprisingly effective survival strategy for your relationship during this time in quarantine.”
- Recommit to Your Relationship. “This pandemic can serve as an excellent opportunity to reexamine and clarify your values. Sit down with your partner and share your hopes and dreams.”
Wiley’s writing style is engaging and conversational. Her suggestions will help you engage more fully with your partner. You’ll come away convinced (or reminded) of the central importance of sexual pleasure for strong, happy human relationships.
Learn more about Diana Wiley:
Mac Marshall, PhD is a retired anthropology professor, researcher, and author who is delighted to explore sexuality studies at this time of his life.