Love in time of Corona*


Giovanni Boccaccio had written “The Decameron” in the aftermath of the Black Death pandemic of 1348, which carried away somewhere around one third of the European population. The book is set in a monastery, where seven young women and three young men, the Millennials of the day, self-quarantine themselves for ten days to avoid the plague and while away their days (there was no internet in those days, you see) telling each other stories, ten each day, all based around a chosen theme, such as love that ends happily or the tricks that women play on men. Many of the stories are a bit dirty, which is why “The Decameron” was put on the Catholic Church’s index of prohibited books; more interestingly, it was also banned in Australia until 1973, on pretty similar grounds.

What tales will come out of the Great Plague of 2020?

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Anecdotally, you can see fewer new dating profiles on Tinder. After all, who wants to go out on dates when you’re told to minimise human contact?

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Or maybe not:

On Monday, OkCupid asked its daters if they’re still willing to go out on dates, and 92% in the US said yes. (That compares with 45% in Italy — where it might be harder to do now that the country has closed up bars, restaurants and the like— and 71% in South Korea, where around a quarter of a million people have been tested since late January.) Overall, there’s been a 7% increase in new conversations in the last week or so.

But it’s certainly playing on people’s minds: “It can be hard to talk about anything else but the pandemic these days — OkCupid found a 188% increase in coronavirus mentions on profiles between January and February alone.” Should the situation in the US and Australia keep getting worse, with a mandated shuttering up of entertainment and hospitality venues and even restrictions on movement, expect a lot more talk and a lot less action, like the Italians (who are now playing more online games like Fortnite, despite being offered free premium membership by Pornhub).

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But the world’s oldest profession is definitely hard hit. Complains Australia’s most famous escort, Samantha X:

It’s quiet out there. I own an escort agency for mature women and the phone has been unusually slow (except for women wanting to work for me).

I still escort occasionally and apart from my dear clients who have offered to help out during this tough time, I’m certainly seeing a difference.

Ditto sex parties:

Sex parties — where body fluids are exchanged semi-freely — are the antithesis of social distancing. So, operations in New York City, Beverly Hills, and Europe are closing down as a safety precaution as the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe.

Killing Kittens, a global members-only sex club that has catered to the elite since 2005, hosts some of the swankiest sex parties in Europe, the UK, and the US at rented private venues.

Its founder Emma Sayle, a feminist “sex-entrepreneur” and close friend of Kate Middleton, told Insider on Thursday that the company has made the call to cancel most adult-parties planned for March and April due to coronavirus concerns.

“We just had Venice three weeks ago, so we dodged the bullet there, really,” Sayle said.

Not so – predictably – internet-based businesses:

Business is booming for sexy solo performers as millions of holed-up horndogs look to relieve their outbreak anxiety, XXX workers say.

“If you’re trying to sell porn, having the entire country cooped up at home with nothing to do is kind of a dream scenario,” said Los Angeles-based porn star Kate Kennedy.

Kennedy, 25, opened an account a week ago on the site OnlyFans, where users pay $10 a month to watch her perform sex acts, fold laundry nude and brush her teeth.

She said she’s up to 100 subscribers and has made four figures in tips and fees — about what she typically made in a month.

“Cam girls and content creators are doing business like crazy,” Kennedy said.

Miami-based Joslyn Jane — who hawks sexy solo videos and partner performances on OnlyFans and sells others for $5.99 to $32 on the site ManyVids — said she has raked in about $1,700 a week in tips and sales, up from an average of $1,050.

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The mayor of Italian city of Bugliano bans orgies and sex parties – and even threesomes – only two people can have sex together in the interest of not spreading the contagion:

The penalty for breach is 875 Euro per head (no pun intended).

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“If coronavirus doesn’t take you out, can I?” is apparently becoming a popular online pick-up line.

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* with apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his “Love in time of cholera”