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Coronavirus and sex: What you should know about sexuality during this fucking / fucked up pandemic

Two people with face masks on in bed

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If I have sex can I catch coronavirus? You would wonder about?it but have been too embarrassed to ask.

To separate the good advice from myths, we have put your questions to health specialists.

Dr Alex George is an A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant. Alix Fox is a sex journalist, presenter of BBC Radio 1’s Unexpected Fluids show, and co-host of The Modern Mann podcast.

Alix Fox and Dr Alex George

Picture PAUL COCHRANE/JESSIE WHEALEY


Alix Fox and Dr Alex George answered some of the questions around sex and coronavirus that are being searched for on-line

Is it ok to have sex in the course of the coronavirus outbreak?

Dr Alex George: For those who’re in a relationship… living with that person, and sharing the same environment, it should not change your situation. However if one of you is displaying signs of coronavirus then you need to keep your social-distancing and isolate, even inside your home. Theoretically,?everybody would keep two metres away from others – even in their own home, however we realise this is probably not practical.

Alix Fox: It is also actually essential to not assume that if you are experiencing mild signs of coronavirus it is going to be the same for your companion. So, in case you’re showing any signs in anyway do try to stay away from your lover.

What about sex with new individuals?

Dr Alex: I actually would not advise having new sexual partners during this time, because the risk is you could pass on the virus.

Alix Fox: Also remember, some people who are carriers of the virus will not have any signs. So even if you feel completely fine… you may still pass on the infection to somebody and they may pass it on to other individuals by way of intimate contact and kissing.

Coronavirus: What you need to know graphic featuring three key points: wash your hands for 20 seconds; use a tissue for coughs; avoid touching your face

I kissed somebody I met not too long ago, and they’ve gone on to develop signs. What should I do?

Dr Alex: If you happen to have kissed or been in contact with somebody who you think has gone on to develop coronavirus, be sure to self-isolate.

Keep an eye on your symptoms. If you’re developing symptoms, then be extra cautious. Visit the nhs.uk web site. Only call the 111 service if your signs are so bad that you need medical support from us.

Alix Fox: We should be responsible with each other, and for ourselves in {our relationships}. If you’re someone who has developed signs, and you know that you’ve kissed someone lately, you need to let them know. And even if you’ve kissed somebody and they’ve got signs and you have not, you must also self-isolate.

I wasn’t using condoms with my partner before coronavirus, should I start now?

Alix Fox: The reply depends on why you were not using condoms.

If you weren’t using condoms because you have each been tested for STIs, or you’re in a heterosexual relationship prior to menopause and are using another type of contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, then that is fine. However in the event you weren’t using condoms because you had been relying on one thing like the pull-out method – or you had been taking chances with STIs – then it is even more important that you simply use condoms now.

Can I get coronavirus by touching someone else’s vagina or penis?

Dr Alex: If you are going to touch each other’s genitals it is likely that you’ll potentially be kissing at the same time – and we know the virus is passed through saliva. Basically, any chance of transfer of coronavirus – from your mouth to your hands, to genitals, to someone else’s nose or mouth – will increase the chance of passing on coronavirus. We need to reduce this back to the absolute minimum. So, no contact between a partner that you’re not living with is really important.

How can I keep a relationship at a time like this? I don’t want to be single now.

Alix Fox: This whole pandemic is prompting lots of people to rethink what sex life is and what constitutes as an enjoyable, pleasurable exchange. I’ve heard of individuals writing erotic stories to one another, and people who are dating but quarantined in different places making the most of the time and the distance. Lots of people have been getting actually creative. If you use your imagination just a little bit there are many ways you may have a sexy time without being face-to-face with someone.

It is also vital to keep in mind that right now… some people might be discovering that they or their companions have different libidos. You may end up in a situation where you had been only going on a date once every week, and suddenly you are living under the same roof. You may find that you really want sex when your associate does not, or vice versa. It is important to communicate this in a respectful, compassionate manner. Living together doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to sex whenever you want. And for anyone who’s in a situation where they’re with a partner and they’re not having time, because they feel like they’re being forced into sex, there are helplines available for that.

Am I more at risk of catching coronavirus if I have HIV?

Alix Fox: Dr Michael Brady at the Terrence Higgins Trust has offered some really great advice on this. If you’re already on regular medication to manage HIV, and you have CD4 count (number of white blood cells to fight an infection) and an undetectable viral load (the amount of HIV in the blood) then you’re not considered to have a weakened immune system. This means you run no additional risk of contracting coronavirus. So, if you’re HIV positive, continue taking your meds as you would do. Just be sure you observe the same guidelines as everybody else with regards to things like isolation.

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