Sex and coronavirus: Should you be intimate? With whom? 3 sexologists advise

Don’t touch each other! Stand a meter and a half apart!

The COVID-19 pandemic raises a lot of questions around safe sex in a time of social distancing and constant handwashing. And it’s challenging to have sex with someone in a mask or a hazmat suit.

So, as The New York Times says, ‘These are very unsexy times.’

What about couples who are in lockdown together? One healthy, one not? Both healthy? And what about casual sex – is this even a possibility for singles right now?

READ MORE: #MyTruth – ‘I’ve knowingly been the other woman several times. Here’s why’ – Plus, experts weigh in

Dr Elna Rudolph, a Joburg-based Clinical Head at My Sexual Health, says that as a single person, you are your safest sexual partner.

At a time like this, casual sex is extremely risky – even when taking all precautions. However, for couples, she advises each person to assess their level of risk when it comes to having sex with their partner.

“If your partner works daily with infected individuals, or is at high risk of contracting COVID-19, you and your partner have to decide if it’s worth it to have sex.”

READ MORE: ‘I’ve been celibate for 3 years, here are 5 things I’ve learned about love, sex and intimacy so far’

Do we even want to have sex right now? 

Sex can be a welcome distraction, a stress reliever, an immune booster and a way to curb anxiety in a time of uncertainty, and boredom. However, on the flip side, depression and anxiety have been proved to have an adverse effect on libido.

In times of crisis, people respond differently around sexuality. We go into survival mode – some lose sexual desire while others feel a greater need for sexual release.

“Historically, in times of grave crises and trauma, people seek out the comfort of close intimate sexual relationships while others seek the surge of novelty, like random sexual encounters. So, it varies from person to person. Lockdown tests relationships to the most extreme measure” says Dr. Marlene Wasserman, founder of the Dr. Eve brand.

READ MORE: Why sneaking out to go hook-up during lockdown is a bad idea 

What is safe sex right now?

Dr. Rudolph says that COVID-19 is not a sexually transmitted disease in terms of contracting the virus via sexual fluids. However, when you have sex, you are in proximity to someone’s mouth.

Because saliva is such a big player during sex – kissing/a lubricant – the likelihood of getting infected or of infecting someone during intercourse is very high. Again, if you’re in a couple and aren’t in close contact with infected individuals daily, then sex between you and your lockdown partner is low risk.

READ MORE: Having casual sex? Here’s what to do if you start ‘catching feelings’

What if one of you or both have COVID-19? 

“Although there are no set protocols on sexual health as yet, the message is that if one person in the household is symptomatic, or infected, they must be in quarantine in a separate room – that means separate bed linen, towels, eating utensils, etc.,” says Dr. Wasserman.

“And anyhow, they will feel too sick to feel sexual. However, many of us who are asymptomatic, will continue to be sexual and pass it on unknowingly.”

What about anal sex?

“Anal play and stimulation are big parts of many people’s sexual play; however, it is very inadvisable at this point as the virus has a presence in faeces,” says Jonti Searll, a Conscious Sexuality Practitioner at Eros Life.

Love yourself, with clean hands

Need a lockdown project – why not learn a few new self-pleasuring methods?

“If you’re on your own, then have sex with yourself,” says Jonti.

Masturbation is the primary, go-to sexual place for everybody right now.

“Just wash your hands, wash your sex toys in the same way as your hands, and you are good to go,” advises Dr Wasserman.

And for those keen to hook up with Tinder dates and other online matches, wait it out.

There is always erotic phone or online conversations that can act as foreplay for a future date or hookup. Just remember to be cyber safe.

How have you dealt with sex in the time of coronavirus? Tell us about it here.

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