Couple being intimate during time of coronavirus

With all the advisories about social distancing to prevent you from getting COVID-19, our sexual health expert answers your questions and advises on how you can maintain sexual intimacy with your partner during this time. While the coronavirus is not a sexually transmitted infection, there are a few things you should know about COVID-19 and sex.

How is coronavirus transmitted?

The coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets. When someone who is infected with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, these droplets can be breathed in by someone else. The infected droplets can also land directly on another person or stay on surfaces that others touch. By washing your hands frequently and applying social distancing, you can decrease your chance of getting the virus.

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Can the coronavirus be transmitted during sex?

Coronavirus is not known to be sexually transmitted but it is possible to “indirectly” transmit the virus during sexual activity. Up to this point, the virus has not been found in vaginal fluid or semen. It is, however, found in urine and faeces, so please take this into consideration with the type of sex you have.

What is seen as risky sexual contact?

We should all be practising social isolation and with the current lockdown in South Africa, it means that you should not be having sex with someone that is not living with you. But here are some sexual activities to be avoided according to the International Society of Sexual Medicine (ISSM):

  1. Kissing: Since the coronavirus is found in saliva, kissing is a definite no if your partner shows any signs of being infected.
  2. Sex with someone outside your household: As mentioned before, practising social isolation means only having sex with household partners. It is advisable to abstain from sex with someone outside the household until the pandemic has passed.
  3. Sex with someone that is sick: A person can contract the virus sharing the same airspace of an infected person. Being intimate means that you are up close and personal, so obviously there is shared airspace. If you or your partner are sick, you should self isolate for two weeks.
  4. Rimming (analingus): The coronavirus has been found in the stools of an infected person. Because of this, it is advisable to not stimulate a person’s anus with your tongue.

Happy couple being intimate during coronavirus lockdown

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How can I remain intimate with my partner during the coronavirus pandemic?

It is perfectly normal for your libido to change during this time. Some might turn to sex for comfort but for others, the anxiety and fear of what the future holds might lead to a total sexual shutdown. Being intimate is not just about the actual deed of having sex. Use this time to focus on communication and other forms of sexual stimulation. Be creative but be safe.

Dr Jireh Serfontein babyyumyum expert
I’m passionate about all aspects of sexual health and offer a wide range of sexual health-related services. HIV management, STI management, contraception, painful sex, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are some of my special interests.