There have been a lot of different directives about sex during COVID-19, from “no, no, and no” to “sure, go for it”.
This can be very confusing – and what are we supposed to do now that restrictions are being lifted but we are still meant to be practising distancing?
So, let me break it down: think about it like you are in a bubble and you are not meant to have contact with those outside of your bubble (1.5–2 metres).
If you have been isolating with a partner or lover, then continue as you are, but if you have not had any sexual contact, then the previous restrictions still apply.
Remember that COVID-19 is passed through droplets that you breathe, so any activity where you are breathing on each other is a risk.
No sex at all (with those inside or outside your bubble) if you are:
- in isolation due to possible exposure to COVID-19
- waiting on the results of your COVID-19 test
No physical sex, but virtual sex is OK (with those outside your bubble) if you are:
- not living with your sexual partner
- having casual sex.
Physical sex is OK (with those inside your bubble) if you are:
- living with your sexual partner and neither of you are in the above exclusion groups
- visiting your sexual or romantic partner (if they are not an exposure risk or immunocompromised), in some states – check the laws in your state, as they are changing rapidly.
There are some things to consider if you do live with your sexual partner:
- Be safe and communicate.
- Create a private space – it’s good to have time and space apart.
- Embrace fun and novelty, and be silly and playful.
- Try new things, perfect dirty talk, make a home movie, go on a naked date, do naked yoga or housework, practise a sex skill, explore fantasy, and let your imagination run wild.
- Check out sex and love quizzes like Love Languages and Erotic Blueprint.
What is not OK:
- in-person casual sex (this contravenes physical distancing and the person is an unknown risk)
- kissing and rimming (COVID-19 is present in saliva and faeces; the virus has been found in seminal fluid and blood, but more research is needed to know if it’s sexually transmitted).
What is OK:
- mutual masturbation (2 metres apart)
- virtual sex (cybersex, phone, and sexting)
There are some things to consider when engaging in virtual sex:
- What are your wants and needs? Be clear about what you are after.
- Is the experience going to be private? What is the privacy of the space and the platform?
- How good is the connection? You don’t want to be cut off at a crucial moment.
- Consent and negotiation of boundaries. What are you both into? What are hard and soft limits?
- Privacy of images. You could share images without your face or using dim lighting.
Above all: be safe, communicate, negotiate, and stay connected with yourself, your own body, and others.
If you have a question about sex or relationships for Richelle, send it anonymously via email or our contact form to be answered in the new Ask a Sexologist column.