Love in the Time of COVID-19: Is Holding Hands OK?


I matched online in April with a guy I went on a date with three years ago. Back then it was a total friend vibe but now there’s chemistry, flirting and very cute back and forth over the phone and FaceTime. I suggested that we meet in person — first six feet apart with masks and then maybe holding hands or kissing. He agreed. When I thought about it, though, I kind of think physical touch is a bad idea. What should I do? I’m not sure how to re-approach the physical touch conversation seeing as I am the one who proposed it in the first place.

Aleeza Ben Shalom: Masks and/or distance are good choices, but zero hand holding and zero kissing unless you wants to quarantine and be separate from family. And besides, the best way to create chemistry is to hold off touching. It’s the best for building intimacy and excitement.

Michal Naisteter: What is special about this time and you have this new layer of discovering ways that you can connect with people and how you feel on navigating this and consent is one of them. Think of it as an opportunity for you to state your wishes and discuss this together. I think a hand hold and hand sanitizer isn’t too out there either!

Danielle Selber: Consent is not a contract. There’s a handy term for this, “active consent,” which means that each and every act — from courting to kissing to sex — should come with a clear, communicated, conscious agreement to participate. Consent is also ongoing — you can change your mind at any time. Saying once that you are open to getting physical does not bind you to that decision. You can now say “I thought about it, and I am not comfortable doing what I proposed.” If he is worth keeping around, he’ll respect your wishes AND respect you for advocating for yourself.

About the experts:

Aleeza Ben Shalom is a professional dating coach and founder of Marriage Minded Mentor, which connects singles from around the world with hundreds of trained coaches and matchmakers. Aleeza is also the author of the personal growth book ‘Get Real, Get Married’ and an international speaker. She has appeared on BBC World News, NPR, The Huffington Post and writes a regular column on Contact: [email protected]

Michal Naisteter is a senior matchmaker for the national matchmaking firm Three Day Rule. Michal provides guidance, coaching and matchmaking services to her select roster of clients. She holds a graduate degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University. Her work has been profiled on Bustle, NPR, Elite Daily and a Philadelphia Inquirer feature. Contact: [email protected]

Danielle Selber is the founder of Tribe 12’s matchmaking initiative, a not-for-profit program for young professionals dating in Philly’s Jewish community. Danielle takes the best elements from the Jewish tradition of matchmaking and reinterprets them to fit modern dating. She received a graduate degree in Jewish Studies at Gratz College where she completed a thesis on trends in secular Jewish dating. Her work has been featured on Slate’s ‘Working’ podcast and in the short film ‘Make Me a Match’. Contact: [email protected]


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