Coronavirus and Sex: To Social Distance or Not
Let’s face it, for the greater part of the year, most of us having been “living in captivity”. With restricted movement and who we could visit or who could come over. The pandemic has raised a lot of issues around safe intimate physical contact, and what it may look like in the future.
But before we go full-on analysts, many patients have taken up the telemedicine options to get their contraceptives. The pandemic has most of the world practicing exceptional hand hygiene and social distancing. And while fresh information is coming with each new day – with vaccine accessibility inching closer – one medical recommendation that has remained constant, is the need for social distancing.
We’ve all had to learn to prioritize needs from wants. So where does sex fall on that spectrum?
Do we even want sex these days?
Well, it’s not a simple question to answer. The most notable psychological effects that come with extended periods of isolation are depression and anxiety. These may have a negative impact on a person’s libido. Some people are out of work, and this too can affect sexual desire. Job security, friends’ and family’s health, retirement and the ability to have access to medical care are the kinds of issues that worry people in this current climate.
These circumstances, however, can also lead to sexual risk taking, like unprotected sex or sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What is considered ‘safe sex’ right now?
As soon as someone gets within 1.5 metres of you, your risk for infection with the new coronavirus starts. And of course, your risk for pregnancy and S.T.I.s remains the same, if you do have sex.
We’ve all read the posters and warnings: Covid-19 is transmitted by droplet nuclei, tiny specks of infectious material far too small to see. They are expelled via the nose and mouth by breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing (hence the face mask requirements).
A person contracts the virus by sharing the same airspace — a 1.5 metre radius, although with coughing they may travel farther — and inhaling the infectious particles. Or the droplet nuclei land on a surface, rendering it infectious. Touch that surface and then your face and the chain of transmission is complete.
If, by some unfortunate chance, you have sex with someone who has the coronavirus, there is nothing we can wholly recommend – outside of testing beforehand – to reduce your risk of infection. There’s been no indication that coronavirus can be transmitted sexually but studies in China have indicated (from a small sample size) the presence of the virus from ejaculate, and has also been identified in stool.
Based on what we currently know about transmission of coronavirus, penetrative vaginal or anal sex or oral sex seem unlikely to pose a significant risk of transmission.
Who are the safest partners?
It’s always best to limit sex to your partner, who should also be following recommendations for hand hygiene and social distancing.
If that all sounds bleak, for now it is. The new coronavirus probably means less partner sex overall, whether that’s because of the lack of a household sex partner for some or a drop in desire for others.
There’s a wide range of different types of contraceptives for women. It’s beneficial to make an appointment with a medical professional to discuss the different options to find out which one will suit your needs.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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