For those of us who haven’t experienced a long distance relationship, the prospect of keeping your relationship alive during what could potentially be months of self isolation seems daunting. Even if you are still choosing to see your significant other during this time, there aren’t a lot of fun date options right now. You can’t go to a movie, a restaurant, a bowling alley, don’t you dare try to go to a bar and an arcade is already unsanitary enough even without COVID-19 floating around. At the end of the day, remember that self isolation isn’t just about your own health, but the health of your community. When you’re in a relationship, staying at home instead of going out to see your partner can feel like the end of the world, but there are so many things that you can still do together without being together:
1. Play a drinking game
If you’re still hellbent on wilding out this break, you can play all sorts of drinking games with your partner over video chatting (you can even make beer pong work.) The added bonus is that the drunk conversations will be fun and you can even skip down to item #8 on this checklist and play 20 Questions.
2. Make mixtapes
This is a romantic classic that never fails to make someone’s day. You can make playlists to different themes, spelling out sentences in song titles or just compiling songs that you think they’d like. Personally, I love listening to new music recommendations, especially made by someone who knows you very well.
3. Watch movies simultaneously
There are plenty of websites that will allow you to do this and if your internet happens to be really good, screen sharing the movie will work just as well. Watching a movie alone is good, but reacting with your partner to the movie is much more fun.
4. Mail a letter
Ever heard of snail mail? While texting is always great, having something physical and handwritten to hold onto is much more memorable. You can even send them a gift or drawing! (Just don’t sneeze on anything.)
5. Set fitness goals for each other
Doing the same workouts or setting fitness goals for one another will help you both stay motivated, connected and positive during self isolation/social distancing.
6. Play video games together
Transport yourself from off your couch and into a virtual world to go on a quest (or just build a farm if those are your kind of games) with your partner. You can talk to each other while playing and there are so many different video games to choose from! If you need some inspiration, check out our article on some freshly released video games.
7. Write a story sentence by sentence
This can be a good way to pass the time and get creative with your significant other. You can expand upon an absurd plot going back and forth sentence by sentence, it’ll give you a lot of laughs and inside jokes.
8. Play 20 Questions
A time killer and a relationship builder, playing 20 questions will spur conversations (or confessions) that you’ve likely never had or shared before.
9. Get artsy
Video chat your partner while you both try to follow a DIY video, then compare finished products.
10. Share screens
Share screens on your device and go on a YouTube/Tiktok/meme binge together.
Let’s face it. When you came to college, you promised all of your besties that you would keep in touch with them no matter what. You made this promise despite the fact that you’re going to be 858.9 miles away, homework and exams and meetings are going to consume your day, and you’re going to want to spend as much time as possible with that new girl you just met on your hall.
It’s a lot harder to keep in touch with old friends than we initially think, and turns out we’re really good at forgetting to text people back (like really good). And that’s okay! It’s natural, maybe even expected, for friends to go through periods of limited communication. Even if y’all survived freshman year talking weekly, sophomore year presents a whole new set of unforeseen challenges.
But no need to fear! In the age of technology, there are so many ways to stay together even when you’re apart.
So without further ado, here are 5 creative ways to stay in touch with that long-distance friend.
1. Host a Houseparty
No, not an actual house party. Houseparty is an app that allows you to video-call multiple people at once. This idea is perfect for keeping up with your friend group that ended up scattered across the country. Trust me, I know how hard it is to coordinate a group Facetime with more than 3 people, but the app offers a loophole. You and your friends just need to download the app, add each other as friends, and you’re set! Whenever you have a spare moment, maybe while getting ready to go out, just open the app and it will notify your friends that you’re free to chat! If they get the notification that you’re “In the house”, they can just click on it and join you for an impromptu catch-up session.
2. Snail Mail
While it can make you feel like you’re stuck in the 19th century, snail mail can actually be a great way to stay in-the-know without being updated in real-time. Writing an old-fashioned letter to a friend, telling them about the past couple of weeks and the boy you’ve been talking to, is not only effective but also therapeutic. Plus, think about all the cute letters you’ll get back from your bestie! Put them in a shoe-box for keepsakes and you can look back on them later (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before energy, amiright).
3. Forgetful? Set Reminders!
I am the most forgetful person I know. It’s honestly shocking that I’ve made it this far in life, so when it comes to remembering to check in on that one friend, I struggle hard. One of the simplest solutions is to set a reminder on your phone! Just go into the reminders app on your phone (this is assuming you have an iPhone… if you don’t, I’m sure there’s an app to download and also I’m judging you), set a reminder to “TEXT LINDSEY”, and tell it to repeat every two weeks!
4. Lists on lists on lists
If you’re anything like me, you love making to do lists and grocery lists and wishlists. But one of my favorite lists is the one where I write down all of the stories I want to tell my best friend on our next skype call. Although we don’t get to talk too frequently, when we do have an opportunity to Skype, I remember to tell her about that time when I lost my phone in the middle of campus at midnight riding home on a Lime scooter.
5. Slideshow Presentation
This is something I saw on twitter and honestly I am dying to try it. Basically the idea is, if you don’t have the chance to stay in touch during the semester, when you’re home for break you make a slideshow to recap the past few months away from each other! You can put all of the crazy snapchats you took during the semester on there and then host a sleepover where all of your besties show off their slides. It’s like a review session but for each other’s lives!
These are just a couple of my favorite ways to stay in touch with my closest friends from high school. If you’re reading this and realize you haven’t talked to your friend in months, just remember it’s never too late to shoot off a quick text and reach across the distance once again.
If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced a lot of moments in life that angered you. You say the word “vagina” and people cringe as if you said a bad word. Anytime you show “too much” emotion, some snarky male will ask you if you’re on your period. You say you’ve lost your virginity and suddenly you’re a “sl*t” to the world while, if you lost virginity to a male, the guy is high-fiving his bros.
Well I think it’s about damn time that women’s sexuality is a part of the mainstream conversation. We have healthcare needs just as much as the next person, if not more. Unfortunately, women’s health is not talked about NEARLY enough and there are many facts that women are in the dark about.
Yes, you are late but no, you’re probably not pregnant.
Contrary to what most health websites will tell you, sexual activity can throw off your hormones and affect your period. If you used protection (birth control, condoms, IUD, etc.), DON’T PANIC if your period is a day or two late. This is especially applicable after your first time having penetrative sex. Do not panic and do NOT Google it. You will go down a very dangerous rabbit hole. However, if the days keep coming and coming and you still don’t get your period, be sure to take a pregnancy test or visit your gynecologist.
YOU CAN GET PREGNANT WHILE YOU’RE ON YOUR PERIOD
I’m not entirely sure where the “can’t get pregnant on your period” rumor came from, but it is completely untrue. Yes, it is true that it is more difficult to become pregnant while menstruating but pregnancy is still possible. Sperm can live inside you for 2-5 days so, depending on your cycle, you can conceive 4-5 days later due to early ovulation. Again, it’s unlikely but use protection to be extra safe.
Queer women’s health is often left out of the conversation
The unfortunate truth about society is that queer women are often left out of the sexual health conversation. In fact, queer women are 5%-18% less likely to be screened for STIs because of a perceived “lack of risk.” This is, of course, ridiculous because STIs can be spread through contact of mucous membranes or affected skin. Women’s sexual health needs more attention and this is especially important for queer women.
For queer women- You can look for an LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare professional here. Planned Parenthood, the Kind Clinic, and Q Austin also offer LGBTQ services. Dental dams and finger cots are some cheap options for having safe sex.
Hopefully, you’ve heard this at least once in your life. I used to think it was an urban legend but there’s actually truth to it. Urinary tract infections are common when foreign objects, such as penises or sex toys, enter the vagina. Anything coming into the vagina can bring in bacteria so when in doubt, pee it out.
Plan B is less effective if you’re over a certain weight
If you’ve seen Aidy Bryant’s show on Hulu, “Shrill,” you’ve seen her freak out when her taking of the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill doesn’t work and she ends up pregnant. Research shows that there is truth to this scene. Several studies have shown that Plan B is less effective for women that weigh over 165-175 pounds. The results from the studies suggest that the more you weigh, the less effective the pill is. However, even though there is evidence of this finding, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a large warning label about this risk nor is there anything regarding it on Plan B’s website. The research is ongoing but if you’re worried that Plan B won’t be as effective for you, take it anyway and have a talk with your doctor.
Female condoms: they sound interesting but are actually not as effective as they sound when it comes to preventing pregnancy.
Female condoms, also known as “internal condoms,” are inserted inside the vagina before sexual activity. They are often used when people are allergic to latex (they’re made out of polyurethane or nitrile) or when couples don’t want to interrupt their foreplay for putting on a male condom. Although this nifty little birth control is nice for pre-sex, they can actually be very finicky when it comes time to actually have sex. When used correctly, 5 out of every 100 women will get pregnant as opposed to the 2 out of 100 women that get pregnant from using male condoms. I’ve also heard from several friends that these condoms are prone to slipping or breaking. Unless you have a good reason, it’s probably better to just stick with male condoms.
Be cautious of birth control deliveries
Having birth control delivered straight to your house sounds much better than having to go through the hassle of picking it up. However, if your birth control is delivered to your front door in the middle of a hot Texas day, it can alter the effectiveness of your pills. Birth control is the same as any medication: exposing it to the elements can affect how well they work. If you’re getting birth control delivered to you, be sure to you’re home to pick it up and bring it inside to more stable temperatures. Avoid exposing your pills to extreme heat and direct sunlight.
PCOS & Endometriosis are more common than you think
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects more than 200,000 women in the U.S. Endometriosis affects the same amount of women. Since there are over 400,000 combined cases, why haven’t we heard more about them? (*Cough cough* The patriarchy.)
On a serious note, if you think you are experiencing the symptoms of either of these conditions, speak to a healthcare professional immediately and seek treatment. You deserve to be helped, girl.
Common symptoms for PCOS:
Irregular/lack of periods, difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth (especially on the face, chest, back or buttocks), weight gain, hair thinning/loss, consistent oily skin/acne
Common symptoms for endometriosis:
Extremely painful periods, pain with intercourse, pain with bowel movements or urination, infertility, excessive bleeding, constant diarrhea/constipation while on your period
Always warm-up before penetrative sex
Foreplay is nice. We know this. However, foreplay is important for other reasons besides simply feeling good. “Warming up” before sex creates lubrication in the vagina that will help make intercourse smoother and more comfortable. Foreplay also gets your vagina in the mood along with you. The more into it you are, the more open your vagina gets. Once you’re ready, your vagina will be in a more relaxed state and ready for…a meet-up, for lack of a better term.
Vaginas are meant to smell like vaginas
Don’t be self-conscious if your flower doesn’t smell like a flower. Vaginas are meant to smell natural. Several studies have shown that pH balancing washes, such as Summer’s Eve, can be damaging to your vagina’s health. The healthy pH level of your vagina should be 3.5-4.5 so that she can prevent bad bacteria from thriving. Using washes inside your vagina can throw off this balance. However, your vulva does need to be cleaned. The best way to take care of your vagina is to use warm water to clean the vulva or sensitive skin washes/cleansing cloths if you want to moisturize/freshen up down there. Here are a few washes that are OB-GYN-approved.
Offers multiple STI testings (cost dependent on what tests you get done and whether or not you have insurance), lots of women’s health including but not limited to routine annual wellness exams (breast exams, pap smears, STI testing, etc.) and contraceptive advice, prescriptions and admins