Sexual health is an important aspect of the overall health and well-being of individuals, couples and families.
It’s been more than 6 months since the global pandemic started. Ever since then, each of us has faced different challenges. It is necessary to keep following the guidelines and their due restrictions. The pandemic has also raised lots of issues around safe intimate physical contact.
With many of us coping with lockdown effects and being made to stay at home, it is not surprising that many of us are wondering how this will affect our sex lives. Here is a handy guide of questionnaires to feed your curiosity.
Can you get infected with COVID-19 by having sex?
There is currently no evidence to indicate that infection with COVID-19 may occur through semen or vaginal fluid, though the virus has been detected in the semen of people who have recovered or are recovering from the virus. Further research is needed in this regard. However, as long as there is physical touch involved, nothing is “safe”. The risk for infection with COVID-19 is likely to increase as soon as someone gets within six feet.
What are the risks associated with sex?
COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), but people who have COVID-19 could spread respiratory droplets onto their skin and personal belongings. A sexual partner could get the virus by touching these surfaces and then touching his or her mouth, nose or eyes. Intimate activities that involve being physically close to someone or coming into close contact like during kissing can easily spread COVID-19.
Ideally, the best way to avoid any transmission is to avoid getting in close contact and follow social distancing with sick people.
I am sexually active with someone outside of my household. What precautions should I follow?
Avoid being intimate with a stranger: Limit close contact with anyone outside your household due to the uncertainty of their personal social distancing. But, if you do have sex with someone other then your known, limit yourself and pick partners you trust. Ask them how well aware they are about the present health situation. Do they have symptoms or have they had symptoms in the last 14 days?
Avoid multiple partners for now: It would be best to enjoy the company of someone you are already staying with. Make sure that your partner is also taking steps to reduce their potential exposure to COVID-19 (like social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask in public spaces).
What about physical intimacy if one partner is ill?
During this time, the person who is sick should limit his/her movement and abstain from all intimate contact. Self-quarantine is the best option and limits the use of common spaces as much as possible. It’s important to wipe down all common surfaces with disinfectants and wash all beddings with detergent and water. This will help to prevent the spread of germs or infection.
Precautions to avoid the spread
– Get started with washing: Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to get clear of all the dirt and germs. Wash the area of contact with precision. If using sex toys, then use soap and warm water. Disinfect any suspected, frequently used items.
– Avoid kissing: Coming into contact with a person’s sputum through kissing or other sexual activities could expose you to the virus.
– Condoms, more important than ever: Condoms can act as a great barrier to avoid any contact with semen during oral sex. Also, do take care to avoid coming in contact with feces if you indulge in oral sex.
– Solo sex (also known as masturbation) can be a safe sex option: You can also give it a nice kinky touch by involving your partner. Masturbate together, provided following physical distance and face coverings to reduce the risk. Be creative.
What will be the effect of COVID-19 on relationships?
Living together, but not able to feel the intimate touch? Yes, it can be frustrating or lonely, but try to remember that it won’t last forever. Keeping yourself safe during these times means making some changes to sex and relationships. Talk with your partner and explore new ways of enjoying one another or even yourself!
How to captivate the slipping interest?
Sex means different things to different people. It does not always involve intercourse or touching.
– Communication is the ultimate key. Talk with your partner, bond well and develop trust. Mend all that is lacking, get to know each other. Enjoy a different level of intimacy with words.
– Explore yourself. Embrace the beauty within. Put on your favorite outfit, glam yourself up. Utilize this time to fix up the cracked or lacking bond with your partner.
– If you’re away from your partner, connect by doing things like making playlists of your favorite songs, reading the same romantic story (or writing your own).
– With mutual consent, you can be sexually active with each other virtually through text, photos or videos over encrypted platforms.
– If you’re dating, you can go on a virtual date, video chat over coffee or a meal, play a video game or virtual board game.
The only thing we know for sure to prevent any spread is: “social distancing”. The more people practice social distancing now, the sooner everyone can get back to normal.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Mayoclinic. Sex and coronavirus: Can you get COVID-19 from sexual activity?https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/expert-answers/sex-and-coronavirus/faq-20486572
2. NYC Health. Safer Sex and COVID-19. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/covid-sex-guidance.pdf
3. IPPF. What you need to know about sex and COVID-19. https://www.ippf.org/blogs/what-you-need-know-about-sex-and-covid-19