As millions of people around the world hunker down in their homes amid the current global pandemic, it’s reasonable to question what health and safety now looks like while there with our partners. A meme on Twitter suggested that all the energy spent inside the next few months would spark a baby boom of little Sagittariuses come December and that future generations would refer to them as the QuaranTEENS. All jokes aside, all this social distancing definitely lends itself to some quality bedroom action, so ESSENCE spoke to Joia Crear-Perry, M.D., founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, about how to be responsible with all that extra pleasure time.
Many forms of intimacy involve some exchange of bodily fluids. COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and can be transferred through contact with contaminated surfaces or through droplets (a sneeze or cough) in the air. So what does that mean for kissing and having sex? “When I get in, I immediately shower. I don’t know if that’s overkill, but that’s what I do. I wash myself off, brush my teeth and then I feel like I can interact with my family,” Crear-Perry says. “Make sure you clean as much as you can of the areas that were exposed when you were with others before you kiss and touch and hug on people who are in your home.”
Once clean inside your bubble, you can handle physical intimacy with your partner like you normally do. Everyone has varied levels of nervousness and comfort, so if mouth-to-mouth kissing still seems a little too risky, feel free to explore kisses and touches that don’t come near your orifices (mouth, eyes, nose, anus). COVID-19 can also survive on hard surfaces and that includes your favorite sex toys. If you plan to use them during sexual activity, make sure you don’t share toys, and disinfect with soap and water after use.
“You can use it for yourself it’s your germs, but when you start sharing things, the virus is still on the toy and you can expose that person to COVID-19,” Crear-Perry explains.
Science has not confirmed if COVID-19 is passed through seminal or vaginal fluids, but it does exist in fecal matter. So if you’re looking to engage in butt play, you must be extra cautious about cleaning your hands, mouth and anus.
Use condoms to protect from STIs, but also you’re taking on that person’s exposure to COVID-19.
For single folks, this isn’t a good time to introduce new partners or people you don’t cohabitate with into your dwelling area. Crear-Perry says: “Reproductive health people make remarks like, ‘When you have sex with someone, you’re also having sex with people’s past partners.’ Well, this is another exponential version of that, because it’s not STIs alone that we would be worried about. So use condoms to protect from STIs, but also you’re taking on that person’s exposure to COVID-19.”
To keep contaminants out of your space as much as possible, it’s best to establish a closed circle early on with the folks you cohabitate with or are in physical contact with.
“I just told my family this—we’re a little team,” Crear-Perry says. “The three of us—me, my husband and my 9-year-old—are in this little house, and every time we leave, we break our little bubble; we break our seal.”
While this isn’t an ideal time for unpartnered people to be physically close to a potential bae, it is an opportunity to get to know someone virtually. And if all else fails, a little solo love session is one of the safest and healthiest ways to get your physical needs met.