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The State of New York is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, turning it into an epicenter for the virus. In response, the New York City Department of Health is covering all of its bases when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus, including your sex life.
In a very detailed two-page guide published last week, the health department laid out the do’s and don’ts of having sex during the coronavirus pandemic. The main takeaway? Masturbation is your best friend.
“You are your safest sex partner,” the guide says. “Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.”
The guide specifies that a lot is still unknown about COVID-19 and sex, but that officials do know the virus has not been found in vaginal fluid or semen — although, it has been found in feces. It also says that other strains of coronavirus in the same family as COVID-19 (MERs, SARs) do not efficiently transmit through sex. Even though the transmission is lower through sex, the guide does mention that the virus easily spreads through saliva and mucus, which means kissing is risky.
If you do decide to engage in sex, NYC Health says your next safest partner is someone you live with, and urges people to avoid sexual contact with someone outside of your home in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But what if your sexual partner doesn’t live with you? The guide has suggestions for that as well:
“Consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.”
Overall, the guide wants you to remember a few key points:
- Don’t have sex with anyone outside of your household.
- Remember that kissing can easily pass COVID-19.
- Condoms and dental dams can reduce risk of transmission.
- Wash up before and after sex (including masturbation).
NYC Health also says to avoid sexual contact and kissing altogether if you or your partner are not feeling well, and to be mindful if either of you has a condition that’s at risk, i.e., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system.
As the world grapples with how to contain the swift-moving virus, the guide also reminds readers to stay home and avoid contact with anyone outside of your direct household or “close circle.” If you do need to leave, try to stay 6 feet apart from other people. And remember, your safest sex partner is you.
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