Diana Urman

While our world as we know it is changing in this time of pandemic, our distance to each other results in a natural human disconnectedness in our own bodies. We find ourselves losing not only social awareness, but self-awareness.

This leaves many questions unanswered. How is the world of pandemic going to change the ways we fulfill our intimacy and sexuality needs?

How can we commit to sustaining our erotic selves instead of shutting them down? How is a post pandemic world is going to change our willingness to connect intimately with others without underlying health-related fears? The truth is, the way we keep our expression of humanity through connection and intimacy is becoming more important than ever. During the social distancing due to pandemic, we understand that sensuality, sexuality and touch become precious gifts and privileges. The best way of staying connected from within is self touch. I often assign a body map exercise, which several of my clients have found very helpful in establishing a mindful awareness of erogenous zones or parts of their bodies where they feel most stimulated or experience heightened sensations. You can do this exercise solo with only a pen and a standard piece of paper. I find that it helps to draw yourself as a gingerbread man, outlining your body.

Start massaging yourself on different parts of your body and noticing different sensations in response to different touches. Try soft and heavy strokes as well as circular and linear ones. Experiment with the way your skin reacts to different kinds of touch. On your paper, mark any interesting sensations or responses. Continue along your body, noticing differences in these sensations and mapping them as you go.

This is an excellent exercise for creating self-awareness about where your body feels sensual. You can use this knowledge for yourself or communicate your findings to your partner. Nevertheless, establishing a map of your body’s erogenous zones is a great way to increase your connection to your intimate and sexual self while keeping social distance in this time of pandemic.

Diana Urman

Diana Urman, LCSW, PhD, is an accomplished sex and relationship therapist based in San Francisco. She views sexuality from the perspective of pleasure and quality of life, not from a dysfunction-based model. Diana's therapeutic process emphasizes self-healing and growth, helping clients realize their full potential through expressing their sexuality. Leveraging her advanced training in a variety of approaches, Diana has helped countless clients address sexual dysfunction, increase confidence, discover fantasies, explore alternative lifestyles, tap into orgasmic abilities, and reach new levels of intimacy with their partner. Diana has a PhD in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a graduate degree (MSW) in Clinical Social Work. She is a California State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW #26883), Certified Clinical Sexologist, Certified Sex Educator, and member of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists).