Researchers Add A New Meaning To “Safe Sex” While Quarantined

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When I learned about safe sex in health class I don’t remember it involving a face mask. However, a new study from researchers at Harvard University says that being intimate carries the same risk for transmitting COVID-19 from one partner to another as other common STDs.

According to the research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there are varying levels of risky situations based on how likely it is to catch coronavirus while in the act. Professionals recommend wearing a mask for the riskiest of sexual scenario, that is sex with people other than those whom one is quarantined.

If you find yourself in such a situation the study says that besides keeping your mask on the entire time, you should avoid kissing, as well as any other oral-to-orifice act and anything involving bodily fluids. Shower thoroughly before and after and be sure to clean the space with alcohol wipes or soap.

While having intimate relations with one person, quarantine or not, is safer, there is still a risk. For instance, if one partner goes outside to run errands or go to work and is unknowingly exposed to the virus, they can transmit it to their partner. Even if that person shows no signs of the virus, they can still infect the other.

The safest approach to sexual activity, according to the researchers, is to have none at all. Abstinence, they say, is “low risk for infection, though not feasible for many,” meaning this might be the safest way to avoid infection, but some people are willing to take their chances.

There are other recommendations out there, some of them providing graphics to enhance the lessons. In April a sex guide released by the Oregon Health Authority went viral, no pun intended. Several weeks later the NYC Department of Health released their own guide.

There are many reasons why it is and has always been important to practice safe sex, this is just one more way to protects yourself and the ones you love from the many risks of the virus.

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