Is it safe to have sex after the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted?
The best thing to do is to come up with some ground rules about how to have safe sex during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
All forms of physical contact and intimacy indeed seem utterly suspicious during the COVID-19 pandemic. You’re supposed to practice social distancing and maintain all safe hygiene practices to prevent this highly contagious viral infection, even when you’re at home during a lockdown. For some, such a lockdown scenario means time and inclination to engage in sex with a partner or spouse. For others, who don't live with their partner, the lifting of said lockdown means they get to engage in sexual activity again.
Disease anxiety and sex
Then there are those for whom the anxiety of the disease takes over and sex is put off the table until the pandemic is over, with or without a lockdown in place. After all, if droplet transmission is how COVID-19 spreads, then even sharing a kiss with a loved one should be avoided. The COVID-19 virus can spread through faecal matter as well, so oral sex is out too. Add to this the findings of a recent study published in the JAMA Network Open about SARS-CoV-2 being found in the semen of six out of 38 male, lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in Shangqiu Municipal Hospital in China, and it’s quite natural to assume that this disease can be sexually transmitted too - even though this has not been confirmed by any study or health institution yet.
But disease anxiety apart — and going by what we know about COVID-19 currently — the novel coronavirus will take quite a while to be eliminated, even if a vaccine is discovered. Which means that even if you are not living under a lockdown, you are likely to continue having anxieties about exposure to and contracting the COVID-19 infection. So, the best thing to do is to come up with some ground rules about how to have safe sex during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safe sex tips during (and after) COVID-19
Several organisations, including Harvard Medical School and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), have come up with some safe sex guidelines which can help you cope with disease anxiety, stay safe and still enjoy the pleasure of sex once the restrictions are eased in your area. The following are some of the tips you can use to have safe sex.
- You are your safest sex partner, as the ASHA puts it. Masturbation is not likely to spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands with soap and water or disinfect your hands and all sex toys before and after use.
- The next safest sex partner is your spouse or partner who you live with. This is not the time to be going out or experimenting with a stranger.
- Make sure both sex partners are completely healthy. If you or your partner shows any signs of COVID-19 or any health issue after sex, call a doctor immediately and pause sexual activity.
- Avoid rimming and other any other sexual activity that involves contact of the mouth and anus.
- Use condoms and/or contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- When it comes to having sex with someone you don't live with, it's best to avoid it for the time being. Social distancing is still essential to breaking the chain of COVID-19, lockdown or not.
For more information, read our article on Everything you wanted to know about sex during COVID-19.
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