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Sex In The Age Of Coronavirus

Can we or can’t we have it? The answer may surprise you.

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Kiersten Essenpreis
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At best, the guidelines on social behavior in this time of the coronavirus are confusing and more than a little fluid. One day we are told to keep 6 feet apart and disinfect everything we touch, and the next day, pundits predict we will be seeing a baby boom in December. Somehow, those two images are incongruous, no?

Burning up the bedsheets at the moment may sound like a pretty damn great idea to relieve stress and boredom (I mean, how many 2,000-piece puzzles can you do?), but is it safe?

Here’s what little we know, with the reminder to use common sense because the term “safe sex” has taken on a whole new meaning.

Monogamy is the new best practice
If you are in a relationship, living together, already sharing the same bed and living space and neither of you have any symptoms, this is probably as safe a situation for sex as there is, said doctors interviewed on BBC. Couples in these situations already are sharing common areas. They are presumably also practicing safe coronavirus hygiene — handwashing frequently, disinfecting frequently touched areas like light switches and door handles, and maintaining safe social distancing by staying inside and avoiding other people except those in the household.

Go for it. That said, if you or your partner develop any of the COVID-19 symptoms, consider the honeymoon over. The symptomatic person needs to be isolated in one room of the house immediately and follow their doctor’s guidelines for treatment.

Having sex with someone you don’t live with is riskier. It means that you both have been exposed to different environments and different people, any one of which could be a virus carrier. And the more partners you have, the higher your risk for exposure gets. “Do you go to the grocery store without a mask and gloves?” may be the new “Have you been tested for HIV or herpes?” dating question.

Rethink kissing
Kissing mouth-to-mouth speaks to the heart of how the virus spreads. Put another way, we don’t want the virus droplet to spread through mucus or saliva — and that’s a cough, sneeze, breathing on someone or kissing them, Kin-on Kwok, a professor at the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the New York Times.
That means it’s time to stop kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts. Hopefully, during this time of physical distancing, you aren't seeing those people in person anyway.

Position matters
This is not the time for the Kamasutra. The German health department website has a graphic of how missionary positions that have you and your partner face-to-face raise your vulnerability to the virus. Again, the kissing comes into play, as well as heavily breathing on one another. Instead, try a different position, one that keeps your faces apart.

Anal sex may be off-limits
The novel coronaviruses have been found in the stool samples of infected patients. Whether it can be spread from anal intercourse has not been determined. Until that coast is clear, best to avoid. There has been no evidence of the coronavirus spread through semen or vaginal fluids.

You got you, babe
“You are your safest sex partner,” the New York City Health Department said. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”

To aid the masturbatory mission, can we all please raise a cup to those never-tiring vibrators and other sex toys.