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She Bop’s Education Coordinator Is Helping Readjust the Sex Lives of Both Singles and Couples During COVID-19

It’s an awkward time to make a living talking about sex when physical contact is practically against the law. But for that reason, Gretchen Leigh’s job could be considered essential.

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Gretchen Leigh is grateful to still have a job, though it's a hard one to reconcile with our current situation. After all, it's an awkward time to make a living talking about sex when physical contact is practically against the law.

"It's a tough pill to swallow for everybody," says Leigh, education coordinator at women-owned sex toy boutique She Bop in North Portland. "There are things out there saying if you don't have a germ-bonded partner or multiple partners right now, unfortunately, celibacy is your only option, which is tough."

Then again, this is also a time when everyone is being forced to reconfigure their sex lives—and not just singles. Seen from that perspective, Leigh, who's quarantining with her partner and an 11-year-old English bulldog, could be providing an essential service.

While the She Bop storefront is shut down, it's still taking orders online, and Leigh is still hosting and arranging seminars via Zoom covering everything from fellatio to erotic spanking.

We asked Leigh about the advice she's giving to both the suddenly celibate and the closely quartered, and how society might have to relearn intimacy once we're allowed to touch each other again.

Related: The Creators of Web Comic Oh Joy Sex Toy Talk About Their Favorite Introductory Sex Toys.