The Only 3 Ways to Have Safe Sex Amid COVID, According to Experts
The pandemic has made it much harder to get intimate with someone, but there are still options.
The coronavirus pandemic has made even the most basic everyday activities more difficult. And at a time when even going to the grocery store for the essentials can present significant health risks, the act of dating and getting intimate with someone new feels like it might be entirely out of the question. But there's still hope for those looking for love. According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British charity that focuses on sexual health and HIV services, awareness, and education, there are a few simple steps you can take to have safe sex with someone you don't already live with during the pandemic. "As with returning to the workplace, going food shopping, or getting a long-awaited haircut, our 'new normal' involves following government advice, being aware of the COVID-19 risk to ourselves and others, and making decisions based on that—and the same applies to sex," they wrote.
So, what's the safest way to go? "Masturbation, using sex toys, and phone or cam sex are the safest options as they can be done without being in close proximity to anyone else," the experts explain. But if those don't work for you, read on to find out how you can still make love in the time of coronavirus.
And if you're still trying to feel him out, check out This One Thing Can Tell You If a Man Wants Love or Sex, Study Says.
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Limit your contact with other people.
You may be ready to get back out into the dating world, but right now might not be the very best time to play the field. "Your best sexual partner during the COVID-19 pandemic is yourself or someone within your household and you should follow the government guidelines about social distancing, hand washing, and face coverings," the experts at Terrence Higgins Trust advise.
Besides masturbating and using toys, "the next safest option is consensual sex with a sexual partner within your household," they point out. And for an easy way to get more action, know that Starting Your Day This Way Will Improve Your Sex Life, Research Says.
Have "the talk" before you start a new relationship.
While the Terrence Higgins Trust experts say that limiting the number of new partners to one or as few as possible is ideal, there's still an important discussion you should have before kicking off your new fling. "If you are having sex with someone new, it's important to talk to them about COVID-19 and manage the risk together," the experts recommend. "Ask them if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or had any in the previous two weeks and the same for anyone in their household."
Of course, common sense comes into play, too. "If you or your partner are feeling unwell, don't have sex," they say. "If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, it's important to isolate and get tested." And for more tips on staying happy and healthy in the bedroom, This Is Exactly How Often You Should Talk About Sex With Your Partner.
Avoid face-to-face situations.
Scientists now know that coronavirus is most likely to be spread from particles that are expelled from the mouth when you talk, breathe, cough, or sneeze. This presents a uniquely tricky situation when it comes to getting intimate, but the experts advise changing up the mechanics to lower your risk. "Not kissing, wearing a face mask during sex, and favoring positions where you're not face-to-face may also help, and using condoms … will further reduce the risk," they note.
And don't forget to take regular COVID precautions: "Washing your hands for more than 20 seconds (or using hand sanitizer) before and after sex will also reduce the risk." And for more helpful tips for navigating life during a pandemic, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Don't forget other safety issues.
Even though the novel coronavirus is a highly contagious disease, there are other health risks that come with getting intimate. Take this opportunity to get a clean bill of health before setting out into the dating world. "We would strongly recommend getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) before starting to have sex again—even if you don't have any symptoms," the experts suggest. "Lockdown has meant that most people have had fewer sexual partners, if any at all, and now is the perfect time to be sure you don't have an STI and to know what your HIV status is." And once you're in the clear, know that This Is the Best Time of Day to Have Sex, According to Science.