COVID’s arrival prompted an onslaught of information regarding behaviours such as hand-washing, physical contact and travel. However, sex and sexual health during the pandemic have received relatively less attention. The official government advice is to stay at home, avoid crowds and maintain social distancing from others. However, if you find yourself hooking up during lockdown we have compiled some advice to ensure your experience can be as safe for you, your partner and the greater population as possible.
1.) Limit Your Sexual Partners
Under normal circumstances there would be nothing wrong with enjoying time with new sexual partners. Unfortunately, if there has ever been a time to have a hooking up hiatus – lockdown is it. While there is no evidence suggesting COVID-19 can be transmitted sexually, such physical intimacy certainly risks transmission.
Physical sexual activity should be avoided, especially if you or your sexual partner exhibit any of the symptoms of COVID-19. However, if you do find yourself having sex, try limiting your number of sexual partners to one, preferably from your household. The more people you sleep with the greater chance there is of spreading COVID-19.
2.) Use Protection
Winter may have just ended, but it is more important than ever that you wrap up – wear a condom. STI testing and centres such as the GMHS have been considerably scaled back with the pandemic. This has made regular testing more difficult. This also means access to PrEP for new clients has been curtailed. Using a condom is the best way to protect yourself from HIV and other STIs. There are limited services available so if you notice symptoms do not hesitate and get in touch with your local clinic and arrange an appointment.
PEP is still available if you think you have come in contact with HIV. Make sure to take immediate action and contact your nearest hospital Emergency Department where PEP is available, or your local sexual health clinic. A list of what’s open and what’s not is available at this link and is being updated as things change.
3.) Sexual Hygiene
In this case, it is not just “down there” that needs to be spick and span. Your hands need to be sanitised before and after any sexual activity. Try and avoid kissing where possible – this is no time for exchanging saliva. Maybe there are different positions you can experiment with that require less face to face contact? Better yet – wear a mask and take mouths entirely out of the equation!
Having sex in larger well-ventilated environments will also help reduce the risk of COVID transmission during sex. Most importantly, try and keep it quick – the longer you spend with another person the greater the chance you will contract or transmit COVID-19.
4.) Sex Alternatives
Limiting your sexual partners does not mean bidding saucy times adieu! There exists a whole host of opportunities for a raunchy rendezvous both with others and yourself! How about a little to and fro messaging online or on an app? Perhaps a phone chat with a hot caller? Of course, remember if you are going to share pictures or videos of yourself online – be careful and conscious of where they could end up.
If you’re feeling drawn to more solitary pleasure, how about reading some erotica or watching porn? Or masturbation? We are all our own best lovers!
It is not breaking news that we are living under exceptional circumstances. Normality is, unfortunately, currently suspended and we all have to pull together to keep each other safe. That means a little more restraint and consideration is needed in regards to hooking up during lockdown. That said, if you end up having sex consider the harm reduction tips outlined above and keep your hook-up safe as possible.
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