A worthwhile piece by Shirley Gal at Haaretz on the stresses, effects and ramifications of Sex and the Locked-down City —
The coronavirus pandemic has brought life to a standstill, but online, records are being broken.
The leading pornography site Pornhub reported that since early March, as countries imposed quarantine measures in an effort to halt the spread of the virus, its traffic has surged, bringing 10, 20 or even 60 percent more visitors than their usual numbers.
And it’s not just pornography (although some of the huge jumps in traffic reflect Pornhub’s generous free upgrade to premium for all its users around the globe).
The CEO of Indiebook, a local publisher and online bookstore, says that since March 15, “we’ve seen a 30 percent increase a day in digital sales. The clear preference is for light reading, with the emphasis on romances with a happy ending.”
Escapism is at its height – but does this affect life itself?
‘The outbreak of the coronavirus heightens our awareness of being transient beings’
“Epidemics underscore the fragility of our everyday behavior and show how social our body is, and how regulated it is by the state and its institutions, which organize everyone’s social life,” says Dr. Dana Kaplan from the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at Tel Aviv’s Open University. “That control is clearly visible during an epidemic: The state doesn’t only track the sick digitally, but also decides who we can come into contact with and at what distance. In other words, epidemics change our contact regimes.”
She relates that after the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2003, studies noted the formation of “communities of fate,” which suggested different contact regimes in difficult times: “One point they make is how wearing face masks in the public space created a sense of shared destiny, social supervision and a feeling of ‘we’re all in the same boat.’”