Look, I’ll say it. Right now is not a particularly sexy time to be alive. With everything happening in the world at the moment, you’d be forgiven for not having getting your rocks off top-of-mind.
That being said, as the restrictions surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) begin to ease up, the prospect of having sex might become more likely for some people, and in the interest of keeping yourself and others safe you need to be asking the right questions way before you take your clothes off.
So, what questions should we be asking about safe sex amidst a global pandemic, and what should we be keeping in mind to minimise our risk of contracting or transferring COVID-19?
(Before we try to tackle these questions, we should keep in mind that updates about what we know about COVID-19 are constantly evolving, and much research still needs to be done.
We’re also not medical experts, so please use this merely as a guide to get you thinking, and always research the latest health advice, which is subject to change as new studies come to light.)
Is COVID-19 Sexually Transmittable?
COVID-19 is a highly infectious, and potentially deadly respiratory disease that is transferred through the spreading of droplets. Anyone within 1.5 metres of someone infected is at risk of catching the disease through these droplets or through sharing something with an infected person's saliva on it. So, could you catch it by having sex? Yes. Does that make it an STI? Actually, no. It is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection or disease and isn’t spread through traditional sex, although there have been some studies showing traces in faecal matter.
There are a number of ways we can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 while still having sexually fulfilling experiences, but it’s important to note that if you make physical contact with another person, there is no guarantee.
What Precautions Should I Take With My Partner?
Now more than ever, hygiene routines are of serious importance. You should be thoroughly washing your hands with warm water or hand sanitiser for 20 seconds frequently - especially before and after any sexual activity.
The same goes for any toys or shared objects that are used which should also be washed for 20 seconds with warm water or a toy cleaner.
Wearing a mask during sex would also reduce risk (medical mask or gimp mask, whatever you’re into).
Can I have multiple sexual partners?
Limiting contact with all other people and keeping your bubble as tight as possible are absolutely paramount in staying safe during this time. Make sure you check with the government guidelines and restrictions in your area as required.
If you do choose to have sex with someone outside your bubble, it’s best to strictly limit the amount of sexual partners you have, have a quarantine period between partners, and to avoid group sex.
So is there any entirely safe way to have sex?
Absolutely. We live in an extremely advanced digital world - use that to your advantage!
There are now countless technologies you can harness with a partner that don’t require being in the same vicinity; from phone sex to video calling, sexting and everything in between.
You can even start a date with a short, outdoor encounter that follows social distancing guidelines, then agree to go digital when it’s time to get down and dirty.
Don’t forget, you are your own best sex partner! There’s never been a better time for masturbation and getting to know your own body. You’ve probably got more time too, so why not embrace the opportunity to pleasure yourself or try out a new solo sex toy.
Are Some Sex Acts Safer Than Others?
As the coronavirus can be spread through saliva and faeces, it’s best to stay away from those as best you can. Spitting, rimming and yes, even kissing all come under the ‘high risk’ category for this reason. Classified by the same logic, lower risk sex positions include those with less face to face contact, like doggy style or glory holes.
Of course, taking all regular precautions when it comes to STIs and unwanted pregnancies still apply, and it’s important to note that the only way to be 100% safe when having in-person sex outside of your bubble is to - well, not.
When Should I Avoid Sex Entirely?
If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (such as coughing, fever, or shortness of breath), you should absolutely not engage in any sexual activity. In fact, if this is the case, you should immediately quarantine and get tested before engaging in any close contact activities at all.