These New Coronavirus Sex Guidelines From NYC Are Super Explicit

If you're having sex amid the pandemic, the New York City health department has some suggestions.

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The past few months have pushed many single people toward celibacy, given the risks involved with getting close to new people amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the more time passes, the more likely it is to start bending the rules, and New York City wants to make sure that if people are having sex, they're doing it in the safest way possible—that is, with the lowest chance of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. In March, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a set of guidelines for having safe sex during the pandemic, but in early June, they updated them based on the most up-to-date information we have about the virus—and these new coronavirus sex guidelines are more explicit than ever.

Can you have sex during coronavirus? According to the NYC health department, "Yes!" Their guidelines, written in a straightforward and approachable way to reach the widest audience possible, are designed to reduce risk, while acknowledging that "during this extended public health emergency, people will and should have sex."

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Many of NYC's coronavirus sex guidelines might seem like common sense when you know how COVID-19 spreads. The city continues to recommend having sex with people within your household (or just with yourself). And if you do have sex with someone who doesn't live with you, the guidelines advise that you "talk about COVID-19 risk factors, just as you would discuss PrEP, condoms, and other safer sex topics."

But where the new coronavirus sex guidelines get really spicy is in talking about less vanilla sexual activity. Group sex is more risky than having sex with just one other partner, the heath department notes, but if you are going that route, the guidelines have several suggestions, including avoiding kissing, bringing hand sanitizer, choosing a big well-ventilated space, and wearing a face covering.

close up of surgical face masks next to hands clasped in bed
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Actually, face coverings during sex gets a cheeky aside: "Maybe it's your thing, maybe it's not," the guidelines say. (Of course, they're referring to face masks that cover your mouth and nose, not the Eyes Wide Shut-style masks that do the exact opposite.) The guidelines go on to explain the specific importance of wearing a mask while having sex, noting that "heavy breathing and panting can spread the virus further, and if you or your partner have COVID-19 and don't know it, a mask can help stop that spread."

But the most shocking part of New York's new coronavirus sex guidelines is this advice: "Make it a little kinky." Specifically, the guidelines recommend that you "be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact." Engaging in sexual acts through a hole in the wall is not a new practice, but seeing a city health department encourage it is certainly eyebrow-raising.

While these guidelines are explicit—and perhaps a little TMI for some—they're actually a very useful attempt at figuring out how to reduce risk in the context of relationships and sex. As states continue to reopen, more and more of us will have to weigh our personal decisions against health risks to ourselves and to the public, which is precisely what the NYC health department is recommending you do with your sex life. And for more ways to stay healthy, here are 5 Things the CDC Says You Still Shouldn't Be Doing.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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