With COVID Restrictions Lifted, We Should Be Getting Back to Normal—But How Does That Feel?

After 14 months, Brian Fitzgibbons was ready to reunite with his lover—but first he had to survive the panic attack.

Everything was planned. I was Moderna. He was J&J. It had been 14 months since we last touched each other. Fourteen months since we’d been able to stand in the same room, strip off our clothes, and just devour each other. I got a hotel room, two weeks out from my second shot, away from my housemate. I even brought toys, lubes, and a new jockstrap I’d never worn before. I was clean shaven, well groomed, and freshened up for what was to come. Everything was set for a perfect night.

So why was I so nervous?

My daddy and I have known each other for seven years. He’s 25 years older than me and the most important man in my life. In an open relationship, he’s married to another wonderful man that I adore. He’s smart, funny, handsome, and passionately connected to me in almost every way.

Sex was a huge part of our relationship pre-pandemic. For years, we’d shared flesh and fluids, forging our bond and trusting each other implicitly with our wants and needs. I’ve shared more with him than anyone else, and he’s helped me work through a lot of my insecurities and fears when it comes to some kinks. He wants nothing more than for me to feel special and loved. And for 14 months, my body ached to feel his next to mine.

But when the moment came, I could barely breathe. I missed him so much, but it was like I’d forgotten how to be physically receptive to another person. It’s not like I’d never been with someone before. I’ve had plenty of sex in my life, ranging from meaningless and forgetful to deeply impactful. I was not shy about getting into bed with someone, relishing a power in my body that made me feel invincible.

But after the months of separation and limited contact, I had trouble taking down the wall that was so dramatically and necessarily put up. I’d lived a repetitive existence that involved going nowhere that required any touch. Staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask and gloves, only going to public places like grocery stores.

I’ll be honest. I wanted to break the rules. I wanted to just go out and get laid. But I also knew that I wasn’t just making decisions for myself. I had my family to consider, my housemate, the friends in my small bubble, my daddy, and my daddy’s partner. With them in mind, I did my part. And now, with a second shot in my arm, I had my chance. And I felt like my chest was closing in.

It was a panic attack. A quick, sudden panic attack. I didn’t say anything and my daddy never knew, but I felt scared. My daddy worked his magic, though. Some playful spanks and the best rim job of my life took me out of my head, but it was like relearning how to trust. How to be vulnerable. How to be exposed to something you couldn’t control and sanitize.

Part of the COVID experience meant being overly guarded. Protected and secluded. Distanced. Not just from others, but from one’s own desires. Being traditionally single, I did not have a regular partner to feel close to. I love my daddy, but we were pushed apart in the most unnatural way. We were just miles from each other, but we might as well have been on the other side of the world.

The daddy/son relationship is eroticized in porn because, well, it’s incredibly hot. But many times, the relationship extends beyond the fantasy and the bedroom. Gay men have been choosing their own families for ages, and the daddy/son bond is one that has proven time and again to provide so much to so many.

For me, I get a mentor to look up to, a guiding hand to help me through new and difficult situations, a friend to laugh and cry with, and a teacher to build me up and help me grow. While they don’t make romantic comedies about this relationship and it doesn’t have any legal significance, it doesn’t make it any less powerful.

Making love with my daddy was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, primarily because of how much had to go into making it happen. The sacrificing and planning and waiting and waiting and waiting–all to have the moment where I’d discovered I’d changed more than I thought. 

Ultimately, we got close again. I worked through my anxiety and, I’m sure, he worked through his. And we were able to feel like we used to. For so many, the excitement around COVID’s declining impact on the US means getting the chance to slut it up at the sex parties, bath houses, gangbangs, and casual hookups. And don’t get me wrong, I hope to see you boys out there!

But for me, the thing I’m grateful for is to have my daddy back. To be able to kiss him, touch him, get his scent all over me and fuck like animals. And it may take some time before we are back to where we were, and may never actually go back to our 2019 selves. But for the time being, he can hold me and kiss me and tell me it’s going to be OK. And for that, I would do it all over again.

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