Sex and COVID-19, here are helpful tips for seeking pleasure

Sex COVID-19

Condoms can play an important safety role for people having sex during COVID-19. Photo: iStock.

Let’s talk about sex, and COVID-19.

Physical distancing is an important tool in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory virus that has wreaked havoc throughout the nation, but is sexual intimacy possible?

How can someone have sex with a partner during the quarantine if they are supposed to remain 6 feet part from each other?

The virus can spread through direct contact with the saliva or mucus of someone who has COVID-19.

Earlier this month, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the novel coronavirus in semen, both in men who had active infections and those who had recovered, but it isn’t clear at this point if it can be sexually transmitted through semen.

Other coronaviruses do not efficiently transmit through sex.

Here are some tips from health experts on how to enjoy sex and to avoid spreading COVID-19 to a partner.


  • You are your safest sex partner. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands and any sex toys with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after sex.
  • The next safest partner is someone who lives with you.

Friends with benefits

  • Having close contact — including sex — with only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19.
  • You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household.
  • If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible.

Video dates, sexting

If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting, or chat rooms may be options for you.

Self-care during sex

  • Kissing can easily pass COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts.
  • Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread COVID-19. Virus in feces may enter your mouth.
  • Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva or feces, especially during oral or anal sex.
  • Disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others (for video chat, for watching pornography, or for anything else).

Skipping sex

  • Skip sex if you or your partner is not feeling well.
  • If you or a partner may have COVID-19, avoid sex and especially kissing.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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