Can You Get Covid-19 by Having Sex?

As the covid-19 pandemic continues abstinence becomes more difficult. Can you get covid-19 by having sex? Sex is a normal part of life and relationships and certainly can make it easier to endure the social distancing that keeps us away from our friends and associates. We break down our advice into two categories, sexual partners who are living and sleeping together and partners outside of our homes, especially multiple partners. Here we present both scientific and common sense advice on the subject.

Can You Get Covid-29 by Having Sex?

Covid-19 spreads when tiny drops of liquid are released with loud talking, sneezing, or coughing. Thus, we are all encouraged to isolate if we have such symptoms and to wear a mask or even a face shield in public. This route of transmission is most dangerous within about six feet but inside enclosed spaces (like the bedroom) droplets can hang in the air for longer periods and infect at greater distances. In regard to having sex, we are close together and it becomes easier to inhale droplets from the other person. Also, getting the virus on your hands or your partner’s and then touching each other’s faces can spread the virus. Kissing is obviously a risk factor for passing covid-19 but so is oral sex. Because the virus lives for a time on exposed surfaces like your clothing or skin, it can be transmitted even without a cough or sneeze. Although there is no evidence that the virus spreads through semen or vaginal fluids, it does spread through feces so anal sex can be more dangerous. However, covid-19 has been identified in the semen of recovering patients. What is not known is if these are live viruses or viral fragments. In either case, condoms are a good idea.

What if You Live Together and Have Been Isolating?

The safest situation for having sex in the covid-19 era is to limit sex to the partner you live with. If you have been living and sleeping together and no one has been sick, the odds are pretty good that sex will be safe, precautions or not. However, if one or both of you work outside the home and especially if either or both of you have lots of potential exposure to the germ, you need to take precautions. In general, that means stripping when you get home, washing your clothes with hot water, and heading for the show. If either of you get a fever or cough you need to assume that the disease is present in your home and take appropriate measures including avoiding sex. Unfortunately, anywhere from a third to a half of folks who contract covid-19 never have any symptoms. Thus, there is always the risk that your partner will infect you without knowing that there is any risk.

This Is the Time to Avoid Multiple Sexual Partners and Sex Outside of the Home

Every time a city or state starts to reduce their social distancing rules, the virus spreads. You need to assume that everyone that you do not know personally and live with is a carrier of the virus. This is especially true with partners who have an increased risk of getting the disease due to their work, social activities, or any pre-existing medical conditions. Kissing is off the table until this virus has burned out or there is an effective vaccine or an effective treatment. Anal sex and oral sex should be done only with condoms or dental dams. Sex toys need to be washed and disinfected both before and after sex. Although it may seem rather kinky, wearing a mask during sex is a good idea. And, good handwashing before and after is just as important when having sex as in the rest of life in the covid-19 era.

This article contains useful information obtained from the Mayo Clinic website.

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