Sexy Zoom parties, creative positions and face masks: NYC's Covid-19 safe sex guidelines recommend getting kinky

The health department advises New Yorkers to be creative with physical barriers that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact


                            Sexy Zoom parties, creative positions and face masks: NYC's Covid-19 safe sex guidelines recommend getting kinky
(Getty Images)

The New York City Department of Health is encouraging people to get creative in its latest advisory on how to have safe sex during the Covid-19 pandemic. The three-page document asks people to "make it a little kinky" and "be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact".

Stating that kissing can easily pass the virus, it asks people to avoid kissing anyone who is not part of their small circle of close contacts. The department also advises New Yorkers to wear a face mask or face covering during sex to stop transmission. "Maybe it’s your thing, maybe it’s not, but during Covid-19, wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth is a good way to add a layer of protection during sex. Heavy breathing and panting can spread the virus further, and if you or your partner have Covid-19 and don’t know it, a mask can help stop that spread," the guidelines say.

While the advisory urges all New Yorkers to stay home as much as possible and minimize contact with others to reduce the spread of Covid-19, it says that "people will and should have sex" and they must consider using harm reduction strategies to reduce transmission risk. "Sex is a normal part of life and should always be with the consent of all parties. This document offers strategies to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 during sex," it says. The department reminds people that "you are your safest sex partner" and the next safest partner is someone a person lives with. "Having close contact — including sex — with only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading Covid-19. You should limit close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household. If you do have sex with others outside of your household, have as few partners as possible and pick partners you trust. Talk about Covid-19 risk factors, just as you would discuss condoms, and other safer sex topics," says the advisory.

The guidance stresses that if two is company then three (or more) is "definitely" a crowd. "Large gatherings of any type are not safe during Covid-19. Close contact with multiple people should be avoided. But, if you decide to find a crowd, limit the size of your guest list, keep it intimate, go with a consistent sex partner, and pick larger, more open, and well-ventilated spaces. Wear a face covering, avoid kissing, and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer," it advises. 

The department reminds people that 'you are your safest sex partner' and the next safest partner is someone a person lives with (Getty Images)

The document says that if a person usually meets his/her sex partners online or makes a living by having sex, they should consider taking a break from in-person dates. It encourages people to opt for video dates, sexting, subscription-based fan platforms, "sexy Zoom parties" or chat rooms as options. "If you decide to have sex outside of your circle of contacts or a hookup, closely monitor yourself for symptoms," the guidelines state.

The department cautions that having antibodies against the virus that causes Covid-19 or a prior positive diagnostic test does not mean definite immunity. It asks people to use test results with caution while making decisions about sex. "A positive antibody test for the virus that causes Covid-19 may indicate prior exposure, but it does not mean you are immune from reinfection. A prior positive diagnostic test (nose swab or saliva) means you have had Covid-19 and may be less likely to be re-infected. We don't know how strong that protection is or for how long it lasts. Be cautious in using these tests to make decisions about who you have sex with and what kind of sex you have since antibody test results are not definite proof of immunity," the guidelines say.

The sexual transmission of Covid-19 has not been studied in detail, and the health department acknowledges this. "We still have a lot to learn about Covid-19 and sex. The virus has been found in the semen and feces (poop) of people with Covid-19. We do not know if Covid-19 can be spread through vaginal or anal sex. We know that other coronaviruses do not easily spread through sex. This means sex is not likely a common way that Covid-19 spreads," it says. In a recent study, researchers had cautioned that sex may also spread the new coronavirus and couples should take preventative measures, which includes wearing a face mask and avoiding kissing. The scientists from Harvard Medicine School, Boston, ranked different sexual practices based on how likely it is that a person would catch coronavirus while doing them, from least to most risky. They said that sexual abstinence offers the lowest risk during the coronavirus pandemic, but it may not be a feasible option for many. Masturbation followed by sexual activity on digital platforms were in the second and third positions respectively.

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