Bea Arthur's online platform The Difference offers tools to make therapy accessible to those who are historically denied emotional support: Black women.
As the world reels from the devastation and subsequent isolation of the COVID-19 global pandemic, there is a big, glaring question mark on what intimacy looks like for Black women in the absence of sisterhood or companionship. Loneliness is a big topic for all of us right now, and touch deprivation is a real and agonizing phenomenon that many are experiencing for the first time.
I got a taste of our current socially distanced reality a few years back during an extended—and purposeful—dance with abstinence. As a transplant to New York City with few friends and no family nearby, cutting off physical romance had another drawback; I soon realized that healthy, positive, platonic touch was rare and its absence painful. Denying oneself of sex is one thing, but not having access to any type of nourishing physical contact for long periods of time can be hard on the body and mind.
I found myself holding my breath for something. Anything that would make me feel alive, like the electric energy of a friendly embrace. First, I turned to public spaces, where the communal gathering of humans made me feel less alone. And then, I turned on the computer.