Image credit: Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

With social distancing being a key component of the coronavirus response, it is perfectly understandable that some of us looking to get intimate with someone might have some questions to ask about having sex during this pandemic.

The Guardian was thinking the same thing and asked three experts on how people can continue to be intimate while COVID-19 infections continue to rise around the world. Sharing their expertise are Dr. Jessica Justman of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Dr. Carlos E Rodriguez-Diaz of George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Dr. Julia Marcus from the Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute.

According to Rodriguez-Diaz, COVID-19 cannot be transmitted via anal intercourse. However, it can be transmitted via saliva so kissing will definitely be out of the question. He also points out that there has been evidence of oral-fecal transmission of COVID-19, so rimming is also out of the question.

Dr. Marcus says it is okay to have sex, but only if it is with someone you share a home with, has not displayed any symptoms, and has not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19. People with long-term monogamous partners will have fewer problems when it comes to having sex during this time.

However, sex with new people isn’t going to be so easy. As pointed out by Dr. Justman, the medical advice is to stay away from someone who has COVID-19 and is displaying its symptoms. That is very hard to ascertain when you’re meeting a stranger, especially since symptoms can take anywhere from two to 10 days before they start showing up.

Dr. Marcus also reached out to us with the following reminders: “For people outside of your household, virtual sex (i.e., video/text/chat) are good options for sexual contact right now. If you do have sex with people outside of your household, using condoms and washing hands and sex toys before and after sex may help reduce contact with saliva and feces.”

The Guardian also points out that this pandemic could last for months, and some people may not be able to hold out for that long before wanting to get intimate with someone. Rodriguez-Diaz says the best way to avoid months of social distancing is to rigorously practice it now.

“If you’re concerned about practicing social distancing for too long, make sure that you and the people you know practice social distancing now,” he says. “The sooner we do it, the sooner we’ll see a decline in new infections, and the sooner we will be able to change our practice of socializing. Rather than focusing on the future, we need to focus on the present.”

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