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Sex during the coronavirus outbreak : Here’s all you need to know

Is Covid-19 sexually transmissible?

Dr Jessica Justman:

We’re not seeing patterns that indicate sexual transmission. It’s primarily spread through respiratory droplets. And touching contaminated surfaces is thought to be the secondary mode of transmission.

Dr Carlos Rodríguez-Díaz:

There is no evidence that the Covid-19 can be transmitted via either vaginal or anal intercourse. However, kissing is a very common practice during sexual intercourse, and the virus can be transmitted via saliva. Therefore, the virus can be transmitted by kissing. There is also evidence of oral-fecal transmission of the Covid-19 and that implies that analingus may represent a risk for infection.

So is it OK to have sex?

Justman:

If you or your partner is a Covid-19 case, the advice is to steer clear of each other as much as possible. In fact, the New York City department of health has guidelines on this. If you’re a possible or confirmed case you should isolate yourself, ideally in a private residence until seven days after the illness began. You need to have had no fever for 72 hours, without using ibuprofen [see footnote] or anything that would mask your fever, and your respiratory symptoms should be improving.

Dr Julia Marcus:

But for people who don’t have symptoms and don’t have any recent likely exposure and have been staying close to home, I think that, if it’s within your own household, it’s a different story. If you live with a regular sexual partner and you don’t have any symptoms, or likely exposure, sex might actually be a really great way to have fun, stay connected and relieve anxiety during this potentially stressful time.

What about new partners?

Marcus:

The recommendation right now is that we try to stay home as much as we can and really only interact with people for things that are essential, like groceries. And even when we do that, try to keep some physical distance of about 6ft from other people. That would definitely make sex a challenge.

Rodríguez-Díaz:

Sexual intercourse may decrease during the next few weeks, but other forms of expressing eroticism, such as sexting, video-calls, reading erotica and masturbation will continue to be options.

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