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(CMR) Safe and consensual sex can help one to feel relaxed, ease anxiety and tension in the body, act as a natural sleep aid, and cause the brain to release hormones, including endorphins and oxytocin; however, at a time when people are expected to exercise social distancing, acts of intimacy come with their own rules.
Although widespread vaccination is underway, guidelines regarding safe sex are unlikely to go away anytime soon because no one actually knows when the pandemic will come to an end.
Without a pandemic, sex can be risky with possible exposure to sexually transmitted infections. As you would protect yourself from STIs, Everyday Health suggests you also need to assess your circumstances in the pandemic and make informed decisions.
One expert states that an important part of having sex during the pandemic is making sure you and your partners are on the same page. It would help if you both were taking steps to keep yourself safe from the coronavirus.
You should also understand that if one person has the virus, it can be transferred to the other during intimate acts such as kissing. The main risk factor is that COVID-19 is highly contagious through the saliva and mucus of an infected person, and sex traditionally requires people to be within six feet of each other.
Being in the same room as an infected person significantly increases the likelihood that the virus will jump from one person to another, even without touching each other, especially if one person carries a mutated form of the virus.
Also, a study published in May 2020 in the journal Gastroenterology determined that the virus is detectable in fecal matter, in some cases even when respiratory tests were negative.
A more recent small study, published in January 2021 in the Journal of Medical Virology, found that in people who had severe cases of COVID-19, viral RNA could be detected in the fecal matter of some up to 46 days after they were exposed to the virus. Depending on your beneath-the-sheets habits, this could be an issue, Everyday Health warned.
Another study found that the coronavirus does not appear to be present in vaginal fluid, and several studies have found no presence of the virus in the semen of recovered people. However, a study published May 2020 in JAMA Network Open found that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19.
If you or your partner are worried that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, it’s a good idea to keep your distance as much as possible for the following two weeks until you can be sure you do not have the virus.
Also, continue to observe the rules of thoroughly washing hands during work and upon returning home, frequently disinfecting surfaces and objects like your phone and keys, closely monitoring symptoms, and isolating an infected person for as long as they are suspected of having COVID-19.
Also, if you’re using your computer or phone before or during sex, make sure you disinfect those as well.
The pandemic is also keeping people apart. Some persons have just started dating, while others in serious relationships live miles apart.
It is advised that people not living together not get intimate with others, especially if you have to cross borders. The CDC suggests that you shouldn’t be getting closer than six feet to anyone who is not in your household. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still build a relationship while being responsible.
“Relationships aren’t solely physical or sexual, and even in a new relationship, there is an opportunity to build on developing trust, intimacy, and authenticity using digital technology,” says Logan Levkoff, an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists–certified sexuality educator.
Distanced couples can do activities together, such as watching a movie, eating dinner, or even exercising together through video calls.
Your sex life can go virtual, too; make sure that you trust that it will stay between you and your partners.