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Safer Sex Tips in the Time of Coronavirus

April 3, 2020

Coronavirus has created a new landscape for sex and dating. With social distancing being the most effective tool we have to reduce exposure to the virus, the answer on how to limit exposure while being sexually active can be complicated. Here, you will find information on how COVID-19 spreads and what precautions to take during sex.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Scientists have determined that Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, spreads through tiny droplets of saliva and mucus. If an infected person sneezes or coughs, those droplets travel and can enter your system. That is why it is important to stand at least 6 feet apart from other people. Many people who have Coronavirus are asymptomatic, which means they don’t feel any different or know they are infected, but they can get you and others sick.

Can Coronavirus Be Spread Through Sex?

Coronavirus has been found in semen and feces of people who are or have been ill. Further research is needed to prove that Coronavirus could be sexually transmitted. However, we do know that having sex eliminates the distancing that keeps you at lower risk for catching Coronavirus. Social distancing is paramount in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

What Sex Can I Safely Have?

Sex with yourself is the absolute safest sex there is. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you clean your hands and any sex toys you use for at least twenty seconds with soap and water after play.

If you are quarantined with your partner(s) and neither you nor your partner(s) have exhibited symptoms, chances are you are safe to have sex. Remember that people can be asymptomatic so the chance of acquiring Coronavirus from a partner or housemate is never obsolete. Sharing a space already limits social distancing for many people, so even everyday activities like washing dishes and clothes can result in the spread of Coronavirus if someone is a carrier.

Taking Precautions During Sex

Because kissing involves direct contact with mucus membranes, it is a very easy way to transmit Coronavirus. Try to limit kissing to people you are quarantined with. Barriers like condoms and dental dams are helpful in reducing contact with saliva, semen or feces that can occur with anal or oral sex, including rimming. Be sure to clean yourself thoroughly after sex with soap and warm water, as well as anything you may have touched. This can include keyboards, phones and touchscreens while watching porn or video chatting.

Keep in mind that STIs, HIV and pregnancy can also occur without additional precautions. Condoms, PrEP and maintaining an undetectable viral load prevent HIV, while condoms are an excellent resource to prevent other types of STIs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. Birth control is also an essential step to take in preventing pregnancy. Evergreen Health’s STI testing and treatment services are open in Buffalo and Jamestown. Our specialty care services are also available for birth control and PrEP and our condom bar is self-serve and free to the public. For the PrEP hotline, call 716-574-0676 to learn more about HIV prevention and PrEP.

What If My Partner Isn’t Feeling Well?

If you or your partner are feeling ill, it’s best to skip sex. We know now that Coronavirus can be spread though sex and kissing. If someone in your household is experiencing symptoms associated with Coronavirus, contact should be limited and social distancing should be adhered to, along with other cleaning and sanitation recommended to limit contagion. If you or your partner have compromised immune systems or other conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer or heart disease, it might be best to skip sex.

I Don’t Have a Quarantine Buddy. Does This Mean I Can’t Have Sex with Others?

Many dating apps are suggesting virtual dates over platforms like Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime. Those are completely safe and if you both decide to have virtual sex via methods like mutual masturbation, it comes with the self-assuredness that you are keeping yourself and others safe by social distancing.

Having sex with another individual you are not quarantined with will put you at risk for Coronavirus. Some harm reduction tactics for this would be to use barriers to prevent contact with semen and feces. Use a condom when having anal or oral sex and a dental dam when rimming or performing vaginal oral sex. Kissing should be avoided and you and your sex partner should thoroughly clean yourselves and anything you touched with soap and water. This will limit, although not eliminate, your exposure to Coronavirus. Masturbation and virtual sex are by far, the safest options.