New York City health officials say 'you are your safest sex partner' during the coronavirus pandemic
- On March 21, the New York City Department of Health released safe-sex guidelines for during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Guidelines included to only have sex with people close to you and to avoid rimming, a mouth-to-anus sex act, since there's evidence the coronavirus can spread through feces.
- Twitter users praised the guide for its helpfulness.
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With coronavirus cases continuing to mount, people are wondering which of their daily activities are still safe to do, sex included.
To help New York City residents understand what sex acts are OK and who it's safe to still have sex with during the coronavirus, city health officials compiled a detailed list.
The NYC Health Department published the sexual health guidance to its website on March 21, and it quickly circulated on social media, with New Yorkers and Twitter users alike were enjoying the informative yet uncharacteristically explicit health advice.
"All New Yorkers should stay home and minimize contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19," the guidance reads. "But can you have sex? Here are some tips for how to enjoy sex and to avoid spreading COVID-19."
The guidance also included information about having sex with someone you live with, which sex acts are off-limits because of COVID-19 transmission risk, and when to skip sex altogether.
Masturbation is the safest sex act during the coronavirus pandemic
Although no evidence exists that the coronavirus can spread through vaginal secretions or semen, health officials said masturbation is the safest way to get off during the coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus spreads through small droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and the droplets are spread to another human or left on surfaces. There's also evidence that the virus can spread through human feces.
For that reason, masturbation is a safe bet, according to health officials.
"You are your safest sex partner," the guidance noted. "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."
If you're self-isolating with a partner, they're your second-safest option
Health officials also advised people on partnered sex, saying that "the next safest partner is someone you live with," and that people should avoid sex, and kissing, with anyone who currently lives in another household.
They doubled down on this advice, adding that people who typically have busy dating lives should put in-person meet-ups on hold and instead have virtual dates and, if the occasion calls for it, phone sex. The advice also seemed to be geared towards sex workers.
"If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you," it read.
And if you or your partner has lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, health officials recommended avoiding partnered sex right now to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.
Certain sex acts are off-limits, and you must wash sex toys
Since there's evidence the coronavirus can spread through feces, the NYC Health Department said people should abstain from rimming, a sex act that involves mouth-to-anus contact.
It's also recommended that sexually active people use condoms, dental dams, and PrEP medication if they're HIV-positive during the coronavirus, and be vigilant about washing their hands before and after sex. Sex toys and computers or phones that are used for virtual sex should also be thoroughly sanitized afterwards.
You should skip sex completely if you or your partner feel unwell
Lastly, health officials said anyone who feels sick should avoid partnered sex completely because it could lead to the spread of the coronavirus.
"If you start to feel unwell, you may be about to develop symptoms of COVID-19," officials wrote, adding that common symptoms include a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
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