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    Our guide to cosying up with someone new this Christmas

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      Couple in front of log fire

      Updated 17th May 2021 - for the most up to date coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and information, please visit the NHS or government’s dedicated pages. This advice may differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

      It’s been a long hard year for a lot of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we’ve all had to change the way we live, social lives included. So, with the nights drawing in and weather getting colder, the idea of snuggling up on the sofa (local lockdown allowing) might be a lot more appealing than battling the elements outside. 

      But if you haven’t got that special someone just yet, the thought of dating during COVID might be pretty daunting. So we’re here to bring you some top tips for dating right now, staying safe and making sure you’re prepared for all eventualities…

      Dating during a pandemic

      A recent LloydsPharmacy survey found that up to half of the people questioned who were dating were worried about catching COVID-19. Local restrictions might also mean that you’re limited on what you can do with people who aren’t in your household. All this makes for a difficult time to meet new people. 

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      Winter date ideas

      Romantic picnics in the park and day trips to the seaside might be out of the window in winter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a date outside (socially distanced or not).

      Here’s some of our ideas:

      • Christmas markets
      • Go and see your local Christmas lights 
      • Pretty pub garden for a glass of mulled wine
      • Toasting s’mores on a bonfire in the garden
      • A spot of practice at the driving range 
      • Catch a film a the outdoor cinema or theatre
      • Take a wintry hike in the countryside
      • Whizz around an ice rink
      • Take a trip to the zoo
      • Visit country houses and National Trust gardens
      • Sledge down snowy hills (if you’re lucky enough to get some snow this winter)

      Be prepared

      With social distancing and reduced household mixing, COVID-19 might mean spending the night is out of the question. But for those of you in relationships it’s always good to be prepared for what might happen. And contraception is an important part of any date prep… 

      Thinking about contraception before it’s needed is a great way to avoid awkward conversations, stopping the fun and worries about you or your partner getting pregnant. You can access a variety of types of contraception through your GP surgery, sexual health clinic or get contraception online with us. We offer a large range of pills, as well as the Evra patch and NuvaRing, all of which can be requested through a simple online consultation.

      Contraception isn’t just about avoiding a Christmas miracle of your own. It’s also about being protected from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Make sure to always stay protected, particularly with new partners. Using condoms is the only way to protect yourself from most STIs. Plus they’re 98% effective in protecting against pregnancy, so it’s win win. 

      Have a plan B

      Accidents do happen, even in relationships, and sometimes we all need a back up plan. Luckily enough in the UK the morning after pill is accessible for most people. You can request the morning after pill online with us. Simply go through a short consultation and our clinicians will decide if the treatment is right for you. You can also buy it over the counter in most high street pharmacies, including LloydsPharmacy.

      Emergency contraception is free through your GP surgery, sexual health clinics, Brook centres and walk-in clinics. Find out more about where to get the morning after pill

      Get checked

      It’s always good to make sure you get yourself checked. We advise getting tested for STIs at least every 6 months even if you’re in a relationship, or every time you have a new partner. 

      Lots of STIs are symptomless, so even if you think you’re okay it’s important to double check. Putting your mind at ease will make you more comfortable starting a sexual relationship with someone new. 

      Our discreet STI testing service gives you an answer within a matter of days. If approved, your test will be sent out with everything you need to collect your samples and send it back to the lab for analysis. You can also access free STI tests through sexual health clinics and online NHS services. 

      Christmas gifts for a new boyfriend, girlfriend, partner

      So if after all that you’re happily snuggled up with someone this winter you might start to panic about what to get that special someone for Christmas. But don’t worry, LloydsPharmacy has a great range of gifts for him and her. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to spoil the ones you love!

      References

      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/male-condoms/

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