People should wear masks during sex and avoid kissing, says sexual health charity

11 August 2020, 06:17

A charity has issued advice for sex during the pandemic
A charity has issued advice for sex during the pandemic. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Wearing face masks, avoiding kissing during sex are crucial in preventing the further spread of coronavirus, a sexual health charity has said.

Worldwide social distancing and lockdown conditions have seen the number of people seeking new sexual partners plummet, research has found.

Now one charity has issued guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19 during intercourse after lockdown restrictions were imposed in March.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) found 84% of people had abstained from sex outside of their immediate household because of the restrictions.

However, after several months of the lockdown and its partial easing, THT said it was no longer realistic to ask people to completely refrain from sex.

Dating website Bumble found that 81% of single people are excited to meet up with someone for a socially distanced date now that lockdown is being eased.

However, there are many new rules around meeting in person, including new guidelines about when to wear a mask. Recently, Bumble launched a new feature which helps people to communicate in their profile if they will be wearing a mask on their date. 

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In the guidance, the THT advised the best sexual partner during the pandemic is yourself or someone you live with.

If having sex with someone outside of your household, THT advised having one regular partner or limiting the number of sexual partners as well as taking other precautions.

Potential sexual partners should discuss Covid-19 and ask if they or anyone in their household have had symptoms or tested positive.

The charity also recommends not having sex if you feel unwell and to isolate if you have symptoms.

Sexual partners are advised to wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after sex to help reduce the risk.

Due to the ways, Covid-19 is spread, the charity further recommends not kissing and wearing a face covering during intercourse.

The charity also advises picking positions where participants are not face to face.

Sexually active people are also advised to use condoms as well as dams, as the Covid-19 virus is thought to be found in some bodily fluids.

THT's medical director Dr Michael Brady said: "Sex is a very important part of life and asking people to avoid sex indefinitely is not realistic.

"That's why, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we all need to find ways to balance our need for sex and intimacy with the risks of the spread of Covid-19.

"We're clear that abstaining from sex is the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.

"But we hope by issuing this advice we will help people to manage the risks of Covid-19 while also being able to have and enjoy sex."

The charity has also stressed the importance of sexual health outside of the pandemic and also recommends getting an STI test before starting to have sex again.

THT previously said lockdown measures could have helped slow HIV transmission rates, creating an "incredible opportunity" to "break the chain" of HIV infection spread.

As it can take around a month after possible exposure to HIV for it to show up on a test, anyone who has not had sex since before lockdown will get an accurate result.

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